Results tagged ‘ Sandy Alderson ’

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/24

Though Terry Collins admitted Saturday that Opening Day does not look good for Andres Torres, the center field situation actually grew somewhat clearer thanks to comments from Sandy Alderson. Basically, it comes down to this:

  • If Torres and backup Scott Hairston are both healthy in time for Opening Day, the Mets will fill their final bench spot with either Mike Baxter or Adam Loewen.
  • If one of Torres or Hairston is healthy, the Mets will still proceed with Baxter or Loewen on their bench, plus likely either Jordany Valdespin or Vinny Rottino.
  • If neither Torres or Hairston is healthy, the Mets will take a natural center fielder north: Kirk Nieuwenhuis if healthy, otherwise Matt den Dekker.

One other note from Saturday’s game: Mike Pelfrey tweaked his mechanics and came away pleased with the results in a 6-6 tie. Do with that information what you will.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Alderson gets down to business

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson appeared on FOX Business’s “After the Bell” this afternoon, answering questions on a variety of financial topics [Video here]. Here’s the full transcript, courtesy FOX Business:

LIZ CLAMAN, ANCHOR, AFTER THE BELL:  The owners of the cash-strapped New York Mets getting a $40 million loan to help finance the team while they try to raise cash by selling minority stakes in the franchise.

And with the wounds of losing star player Jose Reyes to the Marlins earlier this month still somewhat fresh, we have the man who can tell us what this latest round of financing means for the future of the team.  We’re proud to involve here New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, joining us now in a FOX Business exclusive.

Half this building are Mets fans.  “How did you get Alderson?”  And you’re here, but you’re here at a time where the word has come out that the team has taken a $40 million loan.  First, I just want to clarify when was that loan taken out?

SANDY ALDERSON: I’m not sure exactly.  I think it was sometime last month, about the time that the Major League baseball loan was extended.  But as I said earlier, maybe a week or 10 days ago, the Mets lost a lot of money last year.

CLAMAN: $70 million.

ALDERSON: Yes, it’s not surprising to make up for those losses, either you put money in equity or you take out some additional loans.  I think, in this case, a bridge (ph) loan was probably the right idea.

CLAMAN: And there was a $25 million loan last year.  So the appropriate question really is to ask are the Mets financially sound, Sandy?

ALDERSON: Yes, I think with this infusion of cash, together with the possibility, I think the likelihood — strong likelihood in the next two or three months, that there will be additional investors in Mets’ ownership, that, you know, we should be good to go over the next couple of years.

CLAMAN: Well, you’re talking about minority stakes being parceled out.  Are you close to announcing any kind of those deals?

ALDERSON: Well, I’m the general manager, which means that I focus all of my attention on the field, and I spend my time with the players and the team.  So from that standpoint, I’m probably not the best spokesman, but as far as I understand, I think things are moving forward and expect a successful investment closure.

CLAMAN: Well, one of the big stories was that lost Jose Reyes, the very big player, to the Marlins, $106 million multiyear deal for him.  First of all, did that surprise you, that amount of money being thrown around for a ball player at this point (ph)?

ALDERSON: No, not really.  You know, what ends up happening is that different owners have different motivations, and in this particular case, they’re opening a new ballpark.  And they expect or hope that their revenues will increase so they put a quality team on the field.  So I’m not surprised they went after Jose.

CLAMAN: Well, you say you’re in charge of looking at everything that’s on the field. David Wright’s on the field. Will you fight to keep him, at least?

ALDERSON: Yes, I think David’s going to be with us for a while, so I wouldn’t worry about losing David and Jose in the same year.

CLAMAN: So, David Wright, probably staying?

ALDERSON: I think so.

CLAMAN: OK.  And I know it’s inside baseball, so to speak, when you talk about the players.  But this all leads to big questions that come out in that movie, “Moneyball,” for example, that you can build a winning team with less expensive players.  I don’t want to say cheaper, but less expensive players.

Is that going to be what the Mets have to do?

ALDERSON: Well, I think, first of all, that “Moneyball” was about finding value.  And whether that was finding value at lower prices, or finding value in players that command higher salaries, the same point is made.  You know, we need to make good decisions with respect to players that don’t make a lot of money, but we need to make good decisions with respect to players who do.

And if we invest lots of money in high-salary players, we need to be right most of the time, just as we need to be right when we spend fewer dollars.

CLAMAN: Well, all of this money that’s thrown around tends to sometimes destabilize a team, because they don’t have enough money to actually run the operations, and people look at these loans that the Mets have taken out.  And I think that there’s a fair question being thrown around, and that is are the Mets in peril of not meeting payroll?

ALDERSON: Oh, no.  That’s not an issue.

CLAMAN: That is not an issue?

ALDERSON: No, absolutely…

CLAMAN: 100 percent?

ALDERSON:  No.

CLAMAN:  So you wouldn’t fall to the same fate of the L.A. Dodgers, where MLB had to come in and seize the team?

ALDERSON: No. I think that had to do with a completely different set of circumstances, where some of the money was being moved out of the franchise, and being used for other personal reasons.  I think this is an entirely different situation.

But as I said, I think with the successful infusion of capital from new investors, you know, we’ll be in good shape.

CLAMAN: Is this the World Series team in 2012?  Or is this a rebuilding year, as (inaudible)?

ALDERSON:  Well, 2012, we won’t be favored in the National League East.  The National League East is pretty stacked, and probably the toughest division in baseball at this point.

But we’re going to be fun to watch, and you know, the nice thing about baseball is that anything can happen.  It’s not necessarily the highest payroll that wins.  It’s very often somebody who’s put together a team, based on not just resources but also quality decisions.  Teams like Tampa Bay are a good example of that, and certainly it can happen here, too.

CLAMAN:  Well, FOX knows all about underdogs winning.  So it can happen.

ALDERSON:  All right.

CLAMAN:  Sandy Alderson, the Mets general manager.  Have a great season.

ALDERSON:  All right.  Thanks very much.

CLAMAN:  Thank you very much.  Oh, and by the way, David — spring training February 16th?

ALDERSON:  15th, 16th, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CLAMAN:  February 15th…

DAVID ASMAN, ANCHOR, AFTER THE BELL:  … birthday, OK.  And it has happened, by the way.  I remember well the amazing Mets.  They can do pretty much anything if they set their mind to it.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Alderson responds to Madoff situation

The perception around baseball, fairly or not, is that Fred Wilpon’s involvement with Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme has affected the team’s bottom line — and with it, its baseball operations budget. Though admitting he is “not privy” to the crux of that information, general manager Sandy Alderson responded Monday with his take on the situation. The complete transcript, courtesy MLB.com’s Bailey Stephens:

wilpons.jpgHas the Madoff situation affected your baseball operations?
“First of all, I want to emphasize that the plan that we have pursued the last couple of months was limited by only one fact, and that was the level of the existing payroll. Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. I think that is significantly higher than we’d like to be on an annual basis — a product of adding some additional players that we felt the roster needed as well as some existing [obligations]. The plan and the approach that I’ve taken over the last two months has been affected at all by any other outside factors.”

Did you know when you interviewed about the Mets’ financial situation?
“From my standpoint, when I took this position, when I interviewed and took this position, I was of course aware of the pre-existing involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point privy to all that detail. And I wouldn’t expect to be.

At the same time, none of that has affected what I have done over the last two months. I don’t expect that it will have any impact on what I do over the next several months, including into the 2012 offseason.”

What are your financial limitations?
“When I came in, I looked at where the payroll had been, what we had committed for 2011, and then took a look at the roster with others involved in management here and determined where we thought we needed to add players, add depth — starting pitching, what have you. And we proceeded accordingly. There hasn’t been any discussion about limitations other than the overall magnitude of the payroll. It’s going to be in the top four, five or six.

None of what I’ve done has been predicated on any issues related to Bernie Madoff or the overall financial strength of the Mets.”

Is there a level of concern about the future?
“No. I mean, obviously there’s a certain level of ambiguity surrounding this news. But from my standpoint, the facts are as they currently exist. And to some extent the decision to find a minority partner or some other source of recapitalizing the franchise is positive news from my standpoint. If there was an initial problem before, that can only be positive from my standpoint.”

Added pressure?
“I don’t really feel added pressure. I do believe that the best tonic for all of this is a winning team. So from that standpoint, it would be really terrific for us to have a good spring and start off the season well and perform beyond the public’s expectations.”

Worried about a negative effect on the clubhouse?
“No. I think that whatever potential distraction it might be we can manage. I think it was important that if a development of this sort were going to arise, that it come now — whatever dark cloud some have described — hopefully will be dissipated at least in part between now and the beginning of spring training and we can focus on baseball.”

How will this affect the Jose Reyes negotiations?
“Again, perhaps naively, I don’t expect that this situation will be a hindrance in that regard. I fully expect that decision will be made as it would have been, in the best interest of the team on the field, and the best interest of the overall sort of financial health as well as baseball future of the Mets — as it would be with any other team. I just again I go back to the notion that if a potential financial issue exists, ownership is proactively addressing it. At this point, I don’t expect that any financial situation will inhibit negotiations with Jose.”

Did you know selling the team was a possibility before you took the job?
“The short answer is, it wasn’t really discussed. I didn’t raise it and again from my standpoint, I’m not surprised by this development just because the Madoff situation was a backdrop to the Mets and a well known backdrop. My enthusiasm and energy for this position and my confidence in the future of the Mets is undiminished.”

Do you have a payroll target?
“At this point, is there a specific number? No. My sense is that, you may know recent Mets history better than I. I don’t know that we’ve gotten this high in the past. One never wants to rest at one extreme or the other. My sense is that our payroll is a little higher than I would have liked it to have been, but we are where we are. We will continue to spend money at very high levels.”

Would your decision to sign on with the Mets have changed if you knew circumstances would change?
“You are right to say that some circumstances have changed … Would it have changed my position? I don’t think so.”

How can you explain the difference in payrolls between the Yankees and Mets?
“The only way that I can explain it is No. 1, we have consist had one of the highest payrolls in baseball. We’ve never before or after my arrival stated that our goal was to achieve payroll parity with the Yankees. We certainly don’t have that goal now. I don’t know that I have to justify the difference … Once our attendance goes back to a more traditional levels, that gives us that much more flexibility.”

***

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Quotable: Phillies sign Cliff Lee

In case you missed it (or are trying to ignore it), the Phillies swooped in last night and signed free-agent lefty Cliff Lee to a five-year deal, giving Philadelphia four legitimate aces in Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki has all the details on Phillies.com and his MLBLog, The Zo Zone. But the Mets also had plenty to say at today’s holiday party for area children. A sampling:

  • clifflee.jpgManager Terry Collins: “I was taken by surprise, I can honestly tell you. I really felt that New York and Texas were the two places and certainly I was shocked, but I know better than to be shocked in our business … They’ve got our attention. Not like they didn’t have it before, for sure. We’ve got some preparation ahead.”
  • Third baseman David Wright: “On paper, they look great. They’ve made all the right moves, they’ve put together that pitching staff and that’s what wins baseball games. But there are a lot of variables that go into playing a season and that’s why we’re going to go out there, and it’s going to be a challenge. But I think we’re up to it and we’re going to prepare, go out there and win.”
  • Outfielder Carlos Beltran: “I don’t like to be negative. I never like to be negative. I always like to be positive. So I always say that in baseball, there’s nothing guaranteed. You can go to Philly and probably on paper look great, but we don’t know how it’s going to work out. We’re all speculating that it’s going to work out great. If you ask Philly fans, they’ll say it’s going to be great. If you ask me, I say I don’t know.”
  • Outfielder Jason Bay: “They were already, rotation-wise, pretty good without him. Now,  obviously, they’re really, really good.”
  • First baseman Ike Davis: “Their whole staff, especially the starters, are pretty amazing. It’s just going to make one more game that much tougher and really [there's] no letdown. The whole team’s got to come ready to go.”
  • General manager Sandy Alderson: “I don’t think it affects how we plan long-term. In the short-term, really, the only impact is that now there are two other clubs that are out there looking for starting pitching today that weren’t there yesterday. So that has some impact. Otherwise we have our own plan, our own approach and this doesn’t really change things too much for us.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Beltran decision should (and will) wait until spring

Don’t expect a resolution anytime soon regarding Carlos Beltran and a potential move to right field. Though Angel Pagan proved to be a significantly better fielder last season than the 33-year-old Beltran, the Mets owe it to their three-time Gold Glover — and to themselves — to make the center field job an open competition this spring.

beltranfielding.jpgSo that’s what they intend to do.

New general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday in Orlando that he doesn’t anticipate making any rash decisions regarding Beltran, whom he met last weekend at a charity event in Puerto Rico. The two spoke, but not about center field. There is a time and a place for that. November in Puerto Rico was not it.

“The purpose of my trip to Puerto Rico was not to accomplish a position change,” Alderson said. “My goal was simply to meet Carlos and several other players, which I was able to do — Angel Pagan was there, Jose Reyes — and establish a relationship. It was a great event. I met everyone, had a chance to talk to Carlos — not at length, because I didn’t want to get in the way of what was clearly an important event for him. But I was pleased with the fact that I was able to be there and was able to make contact and shake hands.”

Despite Beltran’s struggles in the field last season — he had a -3.4 Ultimate Zone Rating according to Fangraphs.com, compared to 15.1 for Pagan — he remains one of the premier center fielders of his generation. The Mets owe it to themselves to see if his knee, now supposedly 100-percent healthy, will allow him to rediscover his old excellence.

They can do that this spring in Port St. Lucie, Fla. They can’t do it now, in a conference room in Orlando.

“I think that’s really the only fair thing,” Alderson said. It’s not necessarily that that subject is only broached after spring training begins, but I think it’s only fair to think about that and deal with it in the context of real information as opposed to opinion. So we’ll see.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Ollie makes Mexican League debut

Oliver Perez made his winter league debut today for Los Tomateros of the Mexican League, striking out two batters in a perfect inning of relief.

Perez, of course, is famously owed $12 million next year on the final third of his three-year, $36 million contract. It’s unlikely he’ll ever throw another pitch in a Mets uniform — but it’s not impossible, either. A strong winter and spring could afford him one last shot with the Mets, who lack depth both in the rotation and their bullpen.

Then again, the Mets could just as easily cut Perez loose, an action that former general manager Omar Minaya never urged ownership to consider. Certainly, new GM Sandy Alderson will explore every option — orthodox or original — before taking any action regarding Perez.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers