Is Sandy Alderson the right man for the Mets' GM job?

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Now that it appears as though Sandy Alderson is the front runner for the Mets’ GM job, Andy Martino of the Daily News has some questions for the guy.  He couches them in “hey, Alderson may be the best man for the job, I’m just askin'” language, but you can tell that he’s a bit concerned about these things. Let’s take them one at a time:

Question: After noting that Alderson’s Oakland Athletics teams were at the vanguard of steroidly goodness, he wants Alderson to talk about the degree to which he thinks owners and GMs were responsible for PEDs in baseball.

Answer: I think anyone in baseball over the past 20 years, including other candidates like John Hart, should have an opinion on that, as they were all a part of the problem in one way or another.  If that’s as far as Martino wants to take it, fine, but if the question is aimed specifically at Alderson for his connection to the A’s it seems a bit unfair. Really, it’s a question he probably could have and should have asked of any Mets GM or GM candidate for the past decade.

Question: Is Alderson, at age 62, too old to be a GM?

Answer: I think chronological age is a bit narrow here. In terms of energy for the job and how in-touch he is with the latest developments in the game. Alderson has long been ahead of his contemporaries.  At the same time, Omar Minaya and many others younger than Alderson have shown a distinct lack of energy and open mindedness for the job, wouldn’t you agree?

Question: Given that Alderson would be leaving his job overseeing operations in the Dominican Republic — a job which he said he’d “see through to the end,” — might Alderson leave the Mets before seeing the job through?

Answer: While the DR job may be important in many respects, let’s not fool ourselves here: that’s a time-biding job for most people who would fill it. If Alderson passed up the Mets job to stick with his duties in the Dominican, he’d probably forever be considered a non-candidate for other GM positions.  And commentators would likely label him not ready for prime time.  Beyond all that, there aren’t many general managers who leave their job of their own volition.  When Alderson leaves the Mets, it will be because he got fired or because there are no more worlds left to conquer. That’s usually just how it goes.

Question: Given that Alderson does not have a scouting background, he’d need to bring more talent evaluators with him. Would the Mets spring for such talent?

Answer: This is either not a question for Alderson, or else it’s a backhanded way of saying that Alderson is not qualified for this particular job based on his lack of a scouting background.  Ultimately, however, I think his track record speaks for itself. He has done the job on teams where resources were nowhere near abundant.  There is no reason to think that he couldn’t do it with the Mets. At least, assuming he’s allowed to do it without interfercene from above.

In some ways maybe I’m an Alderson fanboy. But really, if these are the worst criticisms/questions that anyone can raise about his candidacy, I think he’s pretty well suited for the job, don’t you?

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.