Wilpons think that Mets stink because they’re too analytics-heavy

Getty Images
44 Comments

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.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

philadelphia phillies
Al Bello/Getty Images
0 Comments

SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.