In this post I will attempt to explain why I think Sandy Alderson has been and always will be a failure as Mets general manager. And that includes the possibility, becoming more remote every day, that the Mets will emerge as contenders over the next couple of years or even win a World Series in this decade. The reason is simple — the past three years, and possibly this year and next year, did not have to be so bad.
It is undeniable that Alderson took over a franchise in severe distress. The farm system was barren, the major league roster was saddled with huge contracts and underperforming players and the owners were broke.
That last factor is likely the sole reason Sandy Alderson was hired in the first place. The Wilpons had very little money to spend, and Alderson had the alleged reputation of being able to find undervalued players at discount prices. It was a perfect marriage.
Except Alderson did not perform his marital duties. Time and time again, Alderson picked the wrong players. We all know the names; no need to list the dozens of them here. But let’s list Scott Hairston, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen, LaTroy Hawkins and Marlon Byrd. That is the very short list of Alderson scrap-heap finds that actually worked out. And even then, none of them was spectacular. It is a poor track record.
The fact is that Sandy Alderson is a poor judge of talent. It is a classic example of a man who does not know his limitations. Alderson is a bright man and a fine baseball executive, but he should not be making player personnel decisions. He had Billy Beane in Oakland to do that, and Beane is why those teams succeeded, not because of Sandy Alderson.
If Alderson had picked the right players, these past few seasons would not have been so awful. And that falls directly onto his shoulders. Do not blame the Wilpons for not spending money, although obviously things would be different if Fred Wilpon never met Bernie Madoff. Blame Alderson for unwisely spending the little money that was available.
Alderson does deserve credit for restocking the farm system. He also made a few shrewd trades which are still to early to evaluate, but two or three good trades over three years is not enough to make a person an effective GM.
The media have always given Alderson the benefit of the doubt. But that is slowly coming to an end. Everybody is starting to realize that there is one person to blame for the Mets mess, and his name is Sandy Alderson.