Will there ever be a new culture?

We heard a lot about the Mets’ culture changing when Sandy Alderson was hired as GM and Terry Collins as manager. The atmosphere changed t0 a degree, but the Mets’ talent level remained roughly the same with once again, the pitching faltered and took the team down with it.

Looking back on the season there were three significant story lines outside of the newness of the front office and manager. The first half when the Mets found themselves over .500, the swirling question was whether, or when, they would deal Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez.

When the pitching went south it was about the thinness of the rotation and weak bullpen, highlighted by not having a closer, who was in Milwaukee because the team feared Rodriguez’s option.

The season was played against the backdrop of the Mets not being able to re-sign Jose Reyes because they wouldn’t want to – or don’t have – the resources to retain the All-Star shortstop.

All three were about money and the Wilpon’s legal and financial troubles because of the Madoff Ponzi scandal. The Wilpons received positive news in the courts that would reduce the damages, but those damages would still be significant. And, it doesn’t help that the team has a $25 million debt to Major League Baseball.

You can change the manager, general manager and upper management and that could change the culture somewhat, but real change begins with ownership and that hasn’t changed. With the budget always an overriding issue, we can never expect things to really change and Mets being an elite franchise.

19 thoughts on “Will there ever be a new culture?

  1. so your complaint of the mets not spending enough as the biggest issue and its all based around the owners.

    even though the team is planning on spending about 110 million next year (which would have been the 9th highest in baseball last year, and only 2 teams had a higher payroll then that, that made the playoffs… both of which were knocked out in the first round).

    You are completely ignoring the fact that the trade of Beltran went about as great for the mets as it possibly could have and that if the trade of KRod did not go down, there would be 0 chance of resigning Jose right now because the mets would be paying what would be the most absurd contract in baseball. maybe ever.

    But I get it. Its easier to just bash the mets for trying to run a responsible team instead of running the franchise like WFAN call in approval was the top priority.

    “The atmosphere changed t0 a degree, but the Mets’ talent level remained roughly the same with once again, the pitching faltered and took the team down with it.”

    So you wanted a compl3te re-haul of ML talent in 1 year? How do you think that can 4appen. Go0d things take planning and t1me and we finally have a front office that realizes that. May6e you should study how to build a real baseball team, instead of worrying so much about the team only being in the top 10 in payroll.

  2. If budget=culture then does it follow that there are only 3 types of culture in mlb big, mid and small? I don’t think so.

    Was the culture different in the mid-80′s when the club last won a championship? FYI it was owned by Wilpon-Doubleday back then. I’d argue it sure was. It had a strong GM who knew what he was doing and built a core of young talent. Gee that kinda sounds like Sandy Alderson.

    The culture of one GM ago would have called for mid-season acquisitions to try to grab that 2% chance that this .500 ish club could make a run. There’d be no Zack Wheeler, no K-Rod payroll relief and probably another bloated veteran contract on the books.

    The culture HAS already changed. Whether ownership continues to allow Alderson to pursue a plan is an open question but so far so good.

  3. Delcos wants the mets to be like the yankees. See his recent CC Sabathia article. Wilpons gave Minaya carte blache to spend and where did that lead? Delcos blasted the Mets for that and now he complains the culture hasnt changed now that a plan to build from within and spend wisely has been implemented. Its nice to see a Mets blog being run by a Skankee fan.

  4. The Mets have always spent money. They need to spend their money wisely. Minaya would always have to have a big free agent signing in the offseason to make a splash. Usually he would give in and add an extra year on the contract so that person would sign. The free agents would be Type A free agents so the Mets would lose their number one pick. Adding contract years and losing their number one pick each year was a recipe for disaster. Older players who are injured taking up payroll while at the same time not having a number one pick would make a farm system consistently weak and not generate any talent that could move to the big leagues.

    I go back to 2006 when the Mets signed Alou. Minaya did not even wait to see if the Giants offered him arbitration and signed a 40 year old outfielder who was injured the year before for $8.5 million. I’m not critical of the signing but the process in that the Mets could not wait to see if the Giants would offer Alou arbitration first. Just waiting a few more days to may have saved the Mets number one pick.

    The Mets have a process of how they are going to do things now that was not in place previously. What is interesting is that you don’t hear anything about Jeff Wilpon being the de facto GM anymore that you did when Minaya was there.

  5. Thats right, Glen. Minayas regime was a disaster. It set the organization back years. He was here because Someone had the bright idea that the mets should become los mets and Omar was going to get all the Dominican players to sign with los Mets because they Signed Pedro Martinez to the first of many stupid contracts. If you think I am making this up read Rubins book, “Omar, Pedro and Carlos” I believe it was called.

  6. Selig finally got tired of the Mets being a joke. The New York market is too good to lose all that revenue. Alderson was installed to bring them back to respectability. Jeff will be firmly told where to get off if he wants to give “advice” now.

  7. The recipe for championships: Build a core with home grown players. Continue to build a good farm system. When a minor league player looks ready and shows he is an upgrade, trade the incumbent for additional prospects. You fill in with a free agent only when it is a significant upgrade AND puts you over the top. This has been the formula from Branch Rickey to Frank Cashin to Brian Cashman. Note the Yankees were floundering until they created the core of Jeter, Pasada, Rivera etc.

  8. I read something regarding the Atlanta Braves and their philosophy regarding player contracts and article said they would rather get rid of a player one year too early rather than one year too late.

    There was an interesting post by Mets Maniac which is scrolled on the side of this page talking about payrolls and when Alderson was GM in Oakland he had top 5 payrolls. Very interesting fact though that I did not know.

    I don’t think that Alderson has ever said he is against high payrolls but would like to have more payroll flexibility instead of so much money tied up with only a few players which does not allow him the flexibility.

  9. But they were an ‘elite’ franchise in 2006 when they were winning no? No other baseball teams owners are this famous (not named Steinbrenner) it is so finster un glitshk or obtuse that these Alter Kockerz get this much attention. I would love to serve them some brooklyn hardball that they never got since they were born with a silver spoon in their behinds. I yield back the bounds of my time.

  10. gbaked (2): I appreciate you reading the blog and adding your comments. I wasn’t bashing the Mets, and I understand they are trying to start over with a responsible front office. I have endorsed patience and building from within for years. However, the point I was attempting to make was that money was the issue for this team this year, last year and the year before that. I understand the need to shed Beltran and K-Rod.

    But when every year the storylines are money related, then it is a problem. The Mets have spent and they have spent foolishly, but slashing $30 million off the payroll isn’t going to turn things around. Both Beltran and K-Rod were lousy contracts, as is Jason Bay. Of course you can blame Omar and deservedly so, but he isn’t writing the checks. Owenership endorsed those contracts and that’s where the problem originated.

    Because the team hasn’t been built properly it has become reliant on quick fixes like Bay and overpaid for guys like Rodriguez, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.

    Sure, it is good to get a stable front office with Sandy Alderson, but even with him what does it matter if every major decision is predicated on the Wilpon’s financial status. The point isn’t a personal attack on the Wilpon’s, but that as long as their financial stability is in question, so will their ability to build this team.-JD

  11. cspins (3): The culture WAS different in the 1980s, as was the chemistry of the Mets. The salary structure was significantly different 25 years ago. Those Mets were built primarily on pitching and home grown talent. Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were products of the farm system, and the team was augmented with the acquisitions of Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez. The current Mets not only don’t have that kind of talent, but have had precious little production from their farm system.

    You wrote: “Whether ownership continues to allow Alderson to pursue a plan is an open question but so far so good.” True enough. But, with the financial pressures on the team, will Alderson be allowed to properly build this team? So far, Alderson has done what he could, but will he get the financial go-ahead to do what he needs to do? So far, not so good.-JD

  12. Glen (5): You don’t hear much about Jeff Wilpon being the de facto GM, but you do hear about whether he’ll have the financial resources to make the moves the team needs to make. You also hear about how they are hamstrung in making moves because of their payroll obligations.-JD

  13. Glen (5): You are correct in what you said about Alou, and it has been posted numerous times about similar decisions with guys like Guillermo Mota, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez and Luis Castillo. All that is on Minaya. But, he did get the approval of ownership._JD

  14. Ray (4, 6 and 7): NIce to hear from you again. Not a Yankees fan. Never have been. After all these years, please get that right. … When I wrote about Sabathia, I wrote in the context that they have objectives and quickly addressed them and re-signed Sabathia and GM Brian Cashman. They didn’t let the issue fester. Personally, I wouldn’t have re-signed Sabathia. But that was their goal and went after it. Meanwhile, the Mets say they want Jose Reyes back, but didn’t even have dinner with him.

    You are right 100 percent on Minaya and Los Mets. There was such a divide in that clubhouse between the Latin and American players. The chemistry on the 2006 team wasn’t good, but it was masked when the team was winning.

    No question about why Alderson was endorsed by Selig and the importance of a good team in the NY market. But, what about Los Angeles. Both the Mets and Dodgers are a mess, but Selig forced the Dodgers to be sold even though the team was working on a network deal with FOX that would have eased some of their problems. Selig made the Dodgers personal.-JD

  15. John (8): You are 100 percent correct. The core is with a strong farm system, something the Mets don’t have. The Yankees were built from a strong farm system that produced Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter. The Mets do not have such a core.-JD

  16. Glen (9): The Braves have done what you said, which is why they let Tom Glavine get away to the Mets. … Alderson does want payroll flexibility, which he doesn’t have now and won’t ever get with what is going on with the restrictions the Wilpons have because of their financial issues.-JD

  17. I think it is possible that the culture is changing. We have a coach who does not call his players out in the media. A couch who does not play favorites. A coach who gets angry when he feels the team is not performing. A coach who is not hamming it up with reporters while his team is self destructing. A coach who does not try and destroy his players so he can win one or two more games.

    We have a GM who seems to have a plan. A GM who does not make an offseason signing so the fans can be fooled that he is doing something to improve the team when in reality he is not.

    We also have the same lame ownership that we have had for years. An ownership that is willing to spend money, but has no idea how to. An ownership that wants to inject itself into the baseball side of things where the results have been less than good.

    As for 2006. It was a lot of fun. but really we got lucky. We had 2 closers that year where the setup man was the best of the bunch. A guy who got in a car accident that drastically changed the dynamics of the team. We had an Ace pitcher who could not last the season so he could not be an effective pitcher for us when we needed him. We lost a very good role playing RF because we felt we needed to shore up the pen for the stretch run.

    We lost of course, but it is not like that team was as good as 1986 or the 2000 team even.