There’s a story in the New York Post today about the Mets search for a general manager to permanently replace Sandy Alderson. A potential candidate is named — Gary LaRocque of the Cardinals — and some explanation is given for why someone like him, who is 65, and not one of the now familiar 30-something sabermetric, Ivy League whiz kids is being considered:
Multiple individuals connected to the team have indicated Mets patriarch Fred Wilpon, 81, is unlikely to hand the organization’s reins to a young, purely analytics-driven GM with whom he would perhaps have difficulty connecting. The growing belief is Wilpon will look toward a more traditional baseball person . . . There is thought among team officials that perhaps the Mets became too analytics driven in recent seasons under Sandy Alderson’s watch, and a veteran leader with a pure baseball background would help shift the organization toward the center.
Know what? I think it’d be a totally defensible position for a team which experienced poor results under an analytics-heavy GM to want to go in a different direction. Indeed, I think that, in many respects, we’ve gone too far in considering only those now familiar 30-something sabermetric, Ivy League whiz kids for top baseball operations jobs.
The Mets, however, are not most teams and it seems pretty dang clear that there are a LOT of things other than analytically-based decisions which have caused them to suck.
Those things, for the most part, are Fred and Jeff Wilpon and their treatment of the Mets as a 1990s-era small market team in which most moves they authorize are aimed at salary relief and bargain basement savings. Most moves the Mets make — almost all of which are likely approved and/or micromanaged by Jeff Wilpon — are seemingly made to answer the question, “how will this improve the Mets immediate cash flow” as opposed to “how will this help the Mets win baseball games?” or “how will this better position the Mets to win baseball games in the future?”
Sandy Alderson may very well be a sabermetrically-oriented guy, but it is not an excess amount of analytics that have put the Mets in this place (quick: what’s the sabermetric justification for keeping Jose Reyes on the roster?). “Baseball men” may, actually, be undervalued in today’s game, but any baseball man hired by the Wilpons will no doubt be forced to operate under their top priority — optimizing cash flow — rather than be given a mission to win games, first and foremost, same as Alderson was.
The problem with the Mets is not the general manager. The problem is Fred and Jeff Wilpon.