SANDY ALDERSON TALKS WITH NY METS BLOGGERS

Last night I had the privilege to be invited to be part of the Mets bloggers Q & A conference call with Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Eric Simon and the staff at Amazin’ Avenue have done another outstanding job of putting together a transcript of the conference call (click the link and read the whole transcript it will be the most informative information you’ll get about the Mets anywhere) and I thank them very much for undertaking the chore of transcribing and crediting each blogger with a link to our sites along with our questions, Thanks again Eric.

A few observations I took from the call:

Alderson is playing his hand in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes like a top poker player. In years past, the Mets were always duped into not just setting the market price on free agents but bidding against themselves. His answer to the question on whether he thought of Reyes as a franchise player was 100 % spot on:

Do I consider him a franchise player? Yes. But a franchise player is only valuable as such if he is contributing to a winning franchise as opposed to simply acting as eye wash for a team that is not very good.

Again, everybody loves Reyes and wants him to be a Met For Life, yet less than 5,000 fans showed up on the final day of the season and what may have been Reyes last game as a Met. That’s why Alderson doesn’t play to the lunatic fringe of Metsfandom and for that I am so grateful.

Alderson got into the business end of running the Mets as Howard Megdal, who should be your go to read with the anything Mets related but most certainly on learning the financial end of what the Skill Sets and the organization are up against in these trying money times with the Mets. It may a bit simplistic on my part but it seems Alderson is saying that he has x-amount of dollars in his budget given to him by ownership and he has to do the best he and his staff can to fill the roster with players good enough to compete and not hurt the bedrock of foundation of the organization, the farm system. There are some (I’d say a minority) of Mets fans who don’t get the fact that finances of this franchise are in a total state of flux but no matter the outcome, it would take either a discovery of oil or gold during the renovation of the Citi Field outfield for the Skill Sets to own this team for the long term.  

I really believe Alderson enjoys doing these Q & A’s with the Mets bloggers more than dealing with the MSM. The first one we did last year lasted about half an hour, then when we met with Alderson face to face at the Mets Holiday Party he joined us in our own little group for more questions and didn‘t seem to be in a hurry to get away from us. Last night he spoke to us for an hour and seemed to enjoy the questions and giving us insight into what he and his staff are doing to making the Mets into a top flight franchise.

His answer to my question was about that, he is hell-bent in turning around the perception of the NY Mets franchise, as much as Alderson feels there has been progress in that direction he knows the only way to advance it is for him to put together a winning team:

{Steve Keane (The Eddie Kranepool Society): Your first year as a Mets general manager, how would you assess your progress that you and your staff have made in the first year with the Mets? What has been the most challenging situation or thing that’s happened with you as the GM of the Mets, and what’s been the biggest surprise on the positive side and on the negative side?

 

Alderson: I look at things in three areas. The organization as a whole, the infrastructure, what’s happening in player development and scouting, and what’s happening at the major league level.

 

Organizationally, I’m very pleased with where we are. We’re not fully where we want to be. In the areas of structure and process and personnel, we’re making a lot of progress. We made some personnel changes last year, we’ve made a few this year. The more important changes organizationally have come in the area of process as we blend the pre-existing staff with newly added staff. From an organizational standpoint, we’ve made some progress.

 

Player-development-wise, we’ve made significant progress, I think our approach to the draft last year was a departure from previous years, and I think at least early returns are that it was a positive change. If you look at our top prospects, we were able to add to that list not only from not only the further development of existing players, but also from the draft as well as the trade, most prominently the trade for Zack Wheeler. I think player-development-wise, the continued development of Matt Harvey and some others, and remember at this time last year, Matt Harvey had never thrown a professional pitch. I think some very positive things are happening at the player development and scouting level.

 

At the major league level, I’m very pleased with Terry Collins last year and I think our major league staff will be even stronger this year than it was. Dave Hudgens did a great job in refocusing our offensive philosophy. I think we’ve made a lot of progress philosophically at least in how we are approaching the game, not just in respect to hitting, but a more aggressive approach, a more accountable approach that Terry has demanded.

 

If you tie those three things together, what I’d hoped to achieve in the first year primarily was to change the perception of the organization. Despite the fact that we didn’t finish over .500, I think overall, the way the team played, some of the other things that happened over the course of the year, did help to change the perception of the organization and its direction and its chances of success in the future.

 

My biggest disappointment going back to last year was just the way we finished the season. We finished poorly, we started poorly. Part of that was attributable to injury, but some of it was a result of weakening the team later for long-term benefit. I think for example, if we’d kept Frankie Rodriguez, we would have finished well over .500. I think that the lack of a closer cost us a number of games.

 

But, the overall perception did change. I think that there is some greater confidence in the future for the Mets and that was an important thing to accomplish. I think the way we finished detracted from that somewhat, I think we were able to move people’s thinking in that direction.}

I’d like to thank Danielle Parillo and Shannon Forde for putting this and all the Mets bloggers event together and of course a big thank you to Sandy Alderson for his time and insight    

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METS BLOGGERS Q & A WITH METS VP OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT/AMATEUR SCOUTING, PAUL DE PODESTA

Last night I had the privilege to be invited to a Mets bloggers conference call with New York Mets V.P. of Player Development and Amateur Scouting, Paul DePodesta. The conference call was to start at 6:30PM and the problem I had was I had a game at that time with my Babe Ruth League team. Thankfully I have a great bench coach to run the dugout and make moves and one of the parents who is a coach as well helped out while I headed to the car to call in on the conference call, by the way, we won 5-4 to keep our first place lead at two games.  

When I do one of these calls I always like to write down about 5 or 6 questions just in case someone asks a similar question. For this call I had 8 questions for DePodesta, but when it came to my turn I decided to go with this:

“Looking at the recent draft, the breakdown of picks was nearly even between pitchers and position players. Was that the plan going into the draft? Looking at the complete draft, it seemed like there were clusters of picks that went especially towards pitching. Was this done because they were the best pick available at that time, or was this something that was planned ahead — targeting pitching especially towards the middle and late rounds of the draft?”

DePo’s response was:

“To answer the first question about the 50/50 split — to be honest I didn’t even know that, so that wasn’t necessarily our plan going in. I think that’s generally how it falls, even with our rosters. Most of our minor league clubs are going to be about 50/50 between pitchers and position players. In terms of clustering some of the picks around a certain position or around pitching, that certainly was planned. We felt there was a particular depth – an unusual depth – of pitching in this year’s draft. There were some moments where we wanted to take position players, where we felt like if we were going to get the position player we wanted we needed to take them now. And after that we felt there was going to be a pool of pitching to choose from. We attacked that pool aggressively and when that pool was exhausted we re-evaluated where we were and went back to some position players. One of the things you’ll probably see is that rounds two through five were all college pitching. Once we got to round ten it was mainly high school pitching. That was certainly a calculated decision made before the draft.”

The one thing you read about this past entry draft was it that it was deep in pitching and the Mets took advantage of that depth.

I was going to ask about how the negotiations were going with Brandon Nimmo and if we will see Michael Fulmer, Cory Mazzoni or Jack Leathersich on the MCU Park mound this summer. I really wanted to ask if the team has thought about hiring Rick Peterson as a system wide pitching czar using Peterson’s expertise in the physics of pitching and his working relationship with Dr. Glenn Fleisig of American Sports Medicine Institute. To me this is a perfect match since Peterson, Sandy Alderson and DePodesta all have a working relationship going back to their Oakland days.

I’m pretty sure I can speak for all the Mets bloggers who have been invited to these conference calls and to the events at Citi Field that we have gotten more insight into how this organization operates and are thank full for the opportunities the Mets have given us. The new front office has a great deal of respect for us and for the Mets fans and they seem to enjoy these conference calls as much as we do.

A big thank you to Shannon Forde and Danielle Parillo of the Mets for arranging the calls and events at Citi Field.

Thanks also to Michael Baron of Mets Blog and James Kannengieser and Alex Nelson of Amazin’ Avenue for putting together transcripts of the conference call.

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VETERANS DAY 2010

I had the privilege to march in the Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan today with a contingent from the Greater NYC Boy Scouts of America. We carried 75 flags up 5th Avenue from 28 st to 53 st. I had the honor of carrying the flag of the Purple Heart honorees.

We got to meet some great men and women who served this country in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and in the Gulf. A very uplifting day.

Back to baseball tomorrow.

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JETS OWNER GIVES SOME FANS A WODDY

Woody Johnson is right there with Mother Teresa and Gandhi when it comes to humanitarianism as he has proclaimed that those Jets season ticket holders in the upper deck will not have to pay a Personal Seat License. That privilege will go to the folks who sit in the Lower Bowl (named after the squat toilets of Beijing) who get to shell out between $4K-$25K to watch one of the worst run franchises in the history of NYC sports. “The Noble Peace Prize committee on line 1 MR. Johnson”.

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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