Results tagged ‘ Sandy Alderson ’

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.”

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—–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.

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