Since the Madoff Scandal, we have seen the Mets cut payroll significantly with the Wilpons shying away from having a top five payroll like they once did. Given their debt and possibly due to some fear, the Mets have not been spending the way they once did when Steve Phillips or Omar Minaya was the General Manager.
In 2010, Minaya’s final season as General Manager, the Mets had the $132.7 payroll, which ranked fifth in baseball. As a point of reference, the fifth ranked payroll this season belongs to the Washington Nationals, who have a $181.6 million payroll.
While many cite the poor Jason Bay signing, Minaya did spend wisely during his time as the Mets General Manager. He acquired Carlos Beltran and Billy Wagner in free agency. He traded for Carlos Delgado. He extended both David Wright and Jose Reyes to keep a strong team nucleus together and to provide the team with some cost certainty.
Long story short, even with his misses (Luis Castillo) and debatable signings (Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana), Omar brought good players to the Mets, who were not only over .500 from 2005 – 2008, but they were also pieces that were traded for good assets in the future.
That has not been Sandy Alderson’s track record with the Mets.
With the Mets, Sandy Alderson didn’t extend a player of the caliber of Wright or Reyes. Instead, he opted to extend Jon Niese.
Whereas Omar signed players like Pedro, Beltran, and Wagner, Alderson’s ledger of good free agent signings basically amount to Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera, and maybe Bartolo Colon. Fine players for sure, but not Hall of Famers.
When Alderson has opened the coffers, it has been to sign players like Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce. At this point in time, you’d be hard-pressed to say those were good signings. With the way Bruce’s three year contract has begun, that deal begins to make the Bay deal look reasonable.
In the end, while many are almost assured the Mets spending issues are directly attributable to the Wilpons, eventually the question is going to have to be asked about Alderson’s role in the budget he is given. After all, it’s not like he’s inspiring confidence with the players he does opt to sign or extend on the free agent market.