Saturday, October 30, 2010

What is Sandy's plan for fixing the Mets?

I guess I have to pay attention to the Mets with the New York Yankees out of the playoffs.

There's a lot of work to be done in Flushing by new general manager Sandy Alderson and it starts with picking a manager. If you listen to all the media speculation, it seems like former Met player and minor-league manager Wally Backman is a top candidate. But Alderson gave no hints about who is on his short list for the job. He did firmly dispute speculation that he wanted a yes-man, which would have taken the feisty Backman out of the mix, and said the need for star quality will be a factor in picking the guy who will be largely responsible for turning around the disappointing Mets.

But Sandy is going to take his time finding the right guy to lead the team and I think that's the right move, especially since he admitted the Mets probably won’t be aggressive in the free-agent market. While Alderson said he won't make any hasty decisions on players, he made it clear that his hands are pretty much tied with $110 million in committed contracts for 2011. That means no Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford for the Metsies. But that may be a blessing in disguise. I think the Mets problems are so deep that even one star player wouldn't be enough to turn things around.

So how will Alderson fix the Mets with no payroll flexibility? He didn't give any real clues yesterday. The only thing he said about his plan is that there are no untouchables although the homegrown guys are less likely to be traded. But one positive Mets fans should take away from the Alderson hiring is that he seems to genuinely believe that the Mets should be a top franchise, not just in baseball, but in all of sports. And he also seems confident that the Mets can be competitive next year, even with the noose of the bad contracts for Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo hanging around their necks, the uncertain health of Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana, and the legal problems of Santana and Francisco Rodriguez.

"I by no mean am looking past 2011," he said. "I'm very optimistic about 2011."

If he gets the right guy to be his manager, Mets fans will be optimistic too. They just need a reason to believe.

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