alderson at podium

The Mets may not even pretend to contend next year


While all teams are constantly making changes and are trying to build a winner, the Mets haven’t declared a full-fledged rebuild — the kind where everyone of value is sold off and the process begins anew — for many, many years.  But according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that’s on the table this winter.

After commenting on Sandy Alderson’s comments regarding a potential $100-110 million payroll for 2012, Sherman says that at least some on the organization believe that even more drastic measures are needed:

And actually for the first time this week, a top Mets official said to me what none had been willing to before, either for the record or for background: That one serious discussion being had at the upper reaches of the franchise is whether it would be wise to cut back greatly next year and make 2012 a rebuilding season in which club officials do not go through the annual game of trying to convince fans, if everything breaks right, they can be a playoff team.

Given where Alderson is on the record, that implies that this scenario would mean less than that $100-110 million idea.  Although even with that said, it doesn’t sound like a scorched earth rebuild, as Sherman mentions the possibility of the Mets jumping back into the free agent pool following the 2012 season. Maybe it’s just semantics: we’re not going to give lip service to the idea of contending, even if we don’t cut things back to, say, $80 million.

Whatever they do, I think they have the right general manager to handle a rebuild, be it major or moderate, so this kind of talk shouldn’t be nearly as worrisome as it might have been a couple of years ago.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
Leave a comment

According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.