It is not often that I praise Sandy Alderson; after all, up until this point, there was not much to praise. But that praise can only go so far.
Alderson should be commending for finally spending big money to bring in quality players. You could argue whether committing two years and $20 million to a soon-to-be 41-year-old pitcher with a PED suspension under his rather large belt is a good idea (and I do not think it is), but at least Alderson saw a need and filled it with someone with a track record of success. In the past, Alderson would go bottom feeding, and that rarely worked.
So Sandy Alderson made good on his promise to spend all of his available money, and that is a good thing. Many people think this will finally end the talk of the Mets alleged “cheapness.” It will not and should not, and this is where the praise ends.
As much as the new players cost the Mets, the team will still have a payroll next season of less than $90 million, their lowest payroll in 14 years. That is Seattle Mariners territory, the same Mariners team that somehow came up with the money to sign Robinson Cano for $240 million.
The end result is that the Mets are still operating as a small market club, and that is simply unacceptable for a franchise based in the most important city in the world. Most of that falls on the Wilpons, but Alderson has to take some of the blame for that as well.
The Wilpons continue to say that they are giving Sandy Alderson the money he says he needs to field a quality team. Perhaps that is just for public consumption, or perhaps Alderson has convinced the Wilpons that the Mets can indeed compete at a smaller budget. If you are an owner and you are told by someone you are supposed to trust that you do not have to spend big money to win, why would you?
This is not to diminish Sandy Alderson’s work this week. But until the Mets start acting like a major market baseball team and raise the payroll to at least the $120 million range, the “cheap” talk and probably the losing will not end.