After being an at bat away from a World Series appearance in 2006, two years of missing the playoffs by a single game and two years of inconsistency and ineptitude, the New York Mets have decided to take their ball club in a different direction.
On October 29, the Mets introduced their 12th general manager in franchise history in Sandy Alderson, a decorated baseball veteran who has six division titles, three American League pennants and one World Championship with the 1989 Oakland Athletics under his belt.
“This is truly a great place to be,” said Alderson during his first press conference at Citi Field. “We are going to work hard. We are going to work smart, I think. We’re going to try to exploit all of the ways that players can be acquired, developed, retained.”
Part of Alderson’s plan for the Mets future success is to not rush into long-term contracts with aging ball players a la Luis Castillo and to be inside the market for free-agents on a year-in year-out basis, a task that may become increasingly difficult in the coming year.
“I think what we are looking at for 2011 is a little less flexibility than we would like to have,” said Alderson. “There are a number of players in the last year of their contract. A couple players coming off injury. We had some under-performance . . . The positive I take out of that is that it’s not inconceivable – that given what we have – we can do very well this season.”
Alderson, 62, was Oakland’s general manager from 1983-97 and served as the club’s president from 93-95 and 96-97. After leaving to join the Office of the Commissioner, Alderson returned to the front office and became the CEO of the San Diego Padres in 2005, leading them to back to back playoff appearances. Most recently, Alderson served as a special consultant to the Commissioner for Latin America leading the sport’s efforts to combat identity fraud and performance-enhancing drug use by baseball prospects. Now, he steps into the high-profile shoes in “a city that inspires us all to dream big.”
“We are going to strive for consistency and above all, excellence. We want our fans to be proud of what the Mets accomplish,” said Alderson.