NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Mets have had to do more with less since Sandy Alderson took over as general manager in October 2010.
And now Jeff Wilpon, co-owner and chief operating officer of the team, is ready to see results.
“I think we’re in a better state than we’ve been, and we’re ready to move forward with the plan that Sandy put in place three years ago,” Wilpon said in a recent Q&A with MLB.com. “This is going into the fourth season of his plan, and we’re primed to take advantage of that.”
Alderson was tasked with slashing payroll, trading away stars Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran in 2011. The Mets let homegrown shortstop Jose Reyes sign elsewhere in free agency and plugged holes with Triple-A players. And following the 2012 season, Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey was shipped to Toronto.
The trades helped replenish the farm system with players like Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.
And with the Bernie Madoff mess behind them, the Mets have been spending again, starting with a big-money extension for third baseman David Wright in late 2012. Pitcher Bartolo Colon and outfielders Chris Young and Curtis Granderson were brought in this offseason.
“We try to be competitive each of the years we go out on the field,” said Wilpon, whose team will be without ace Matt Harvey this season following Tommy John surgery. “I don’t think any player would ever tell you they don’t try to be competitive. But because of some of the expiring contracts and some of that freedom, just by virtue of this being the year all that was going to happen, you hoped this would also be the year some of our young talent would come into its own.”
But there are question marks. The Mets were unable to find a taker for embattled first baseman Ike Davis, and some fans have been calling for free agent Stephen Drew to replace Ruben Tejada at shortstop.
“Just to get a guy because the fans think that’s the right thing to do, that’s not part of the plan,” Wilpon said. “Sandy’s not going to overspend for something he doesn’t see value in. The value that we see in those guys versus what their agents were asking for does not meet.”
Wilpon, who insists a large payroll isn’t a necessity in today’s game, would like to see the team play .500 ball at minimum over the first 100 games of 2014. The Mets have finished 74-88 two seasons in a row.
“We’ve all hoped to do better, but as I think I’ve explained in the past, hope isn’t a good business plan,” Wilpon said. “Hope hasn’t gone as far as we’ve liked, but I think we have more certainties this year than we’ve had in the past, so there are fewer things to hope on. But any team that goes out there hopes for a good season, hopes to stay healthy and hopes some of the young kids can contribute. We’re in the same position.”
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