As we all know last October was a very tumultuous time for both the Mets organization – as well as their fans. The team had just completed it second straight season of fourth place ball, and Citi Field was looking more like a monument to apathy. I don’t know if the Commissioner’s office had to do some arm twisting but a regime change had to be made – and it was !
Omar Minaya- the once highly respected Mets G.M , now maligned by scandal and bad contracts was gone along with his happy go lucky manager, Jerry Manuel. They were replaced with one of the most analytical minds in baseball history – enter Sandy Alderson. Alderson’s resume is quite substantial, and even though he was all but retired from running the day to day operations of a Major League baseball team, he jumped at the chance to right the ship of this franchise that has seen it’s share of highs and lows ( mostly lows) in it’s almost 50 years of existence.
His first order of business was to hire his manager. He didn’t settle for the vanilla ( Bob Melvin) nor did he try to appease the fans with the pick of destiny ( Wally Backman). Instead he took a chance on Terry Collins, a man with the reputation as a motivator with a short temper. Sandy augmented his own circle of advisers with the smartest guys in baseball, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Riccardi, co architects of those winning teams in San Diego and Oakland.
Faced with limited budget flexibility, Alderson tried his best to sign to cheap free agent talent. Some have worked out well ( Capuano, Issringhausen) while others either got injured or fizzled out ( Young, Boyer). He cut ties with pariah and malcontents Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.
When the time came mid season Sandy was able to shed payroll. The first player out the door was closer Francisco Rodriguez and his 17.5 million dollar option for the ’12 season. He was traded to the Brewers for 2 players to be named later which more than likely will be two mid level minor league prospects. Next up was the re-vitalized Carlos Beltran. As much as we all were sad to see him go, there was no chance Carlos would re-sign with the Mets next season, and we would have received no draft pick compensation if he had bolted for free agency once the off season came. It return we got one of the best pitching prospects in the game today – Zack Wheeler – a hard throwing pitcher who should be in a Mets uniform by the ’13 season.
But the icing on the cake was the fact that the Mets signed the bulk of this seasons draft picks – including number one selection, Brandon Nimmo. Negotiations went down to the last minute but by 12:01 he was under contract for the Mets , as well as pitchers Mark Fulmer and Logan Verrett. This organization that of late has had the reputation of being cheap when it comes to signing their draft picks have gone well over-slot in their pursuit of getting them into the Mets fold. This is a testament to the intestinal fortitude of Sandy, and it also speaks volumes of the faith and trust that the Wilpon’s have in him.
Alderson is rebuilding this team, it might not take one or two seasons but he will get the Mets a World Series Trophy !
Now if he can re-sign Jose Reyes this off-season everything will be perfect !
And with that said….. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!
Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:
Outfielder from the ’62 season, Gene Woodling would have been 89 today (1922) .
Outfielder/first baseman for the Mets from ’68-’71 and again from ’80-’83, Mike Jorgensen is 63 (1948) .
Mets pitcher from ’97-’01, Rick Reed is 47 (1964).I still maintain that he is one of the most overlooked pitchers in Mets history.
Mets outfielder from 1999, and again from 2002-2003, Roger Cedeño is 37 (1974). Roger in his first go around with the Mets was a exercise in clutch playing. He set a Mets record with 67 stolen bases and had a batting average of .313 in 453 at bats. He was the key piece in the deal with the Houston Astros that brought Mike Hampton to the Mets. By the time the Mets reacquired him in ’02 he had morphed into a slow weak hitting outfielder with a bloated contract.
The New York Mets sold the contract of pitcher, Gerry Arrigo to the Cincinnati Reds on August 16, 1966.
Today marks a very important day in Mets history ! The New York Mets signed free agent José Reyes on August 16, 1999. Lets just hope that the Mets have the stomach, foresight and financial flexibility to re-sign him !
The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder, Mark Little to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Australian born minor league pitcher, P.J. Bevis on August 16, 2002.
Mo Vaughn is in San Diego to follow the Mets. He got into an altercation with members of Sea World Security Staff when he fell in love with Shamu the Killer Whale. Needless to say he tried to liberate the mammal from its confines, and while he was being restrained he was overheard saying ” I was just trying to FREE WILLY !!!!”