High Noon for Sandy Alderson.

Updated: November 13, 2013
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The MLB General Manager meetings have begun in Florida and Mets GM Sandy Alderson kicked off hot stove season by dumping a big bucket of cold water on the hopes of the fans in Flushing.

In a hotel lobby in Orlando, Alderson entertained the assembled media by joking that he’d been upstairs in his room stacking the team’s cash-presumably to be spent on free agents-but that the pile of greenbacks was not as high as some might hope and that it is made up of fives.  He also suggested that the Mets would not be considering free agents seeking contracts in excess of $100 million.  So long Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Curtis Granderson.

The comments have Mets fans either scratching their heads or spitting fire. It is most likely the latter.

Alderson and Mets owner Fred Wilpon, throughout the recently concluded 2013 season, steadily built the expectations of their fans by indicating that the Mets would be adding significant, i.e., expensive, pieces to their team and that they would be committing considerable resources to fielding a winning squad.

Courtesy of cbssports.com

Add to this the not inconsequential opportunity for the Mets to take the town back from the Yankees. The Bombers have consistently indicated that the club would come into 2014 with a payroll under $189 million (and this with a great deal of retooling to be done).  Seems like the perfect time for the Mets to make a splash with free agents, grab the back pages of the city tabloids and shift the epicenter of New York baseball from the Bronx to Queens. 

At a minimum, the Metropolitans need at least one corner outfielder (but probably two), a shortstop, and a front-of-the- rotation starter who can deliver 200+ innings.

But do the Mets have champagne tastes on a beer budget?  Alderson’s comments would have the Mets shopping in the bargain basement instead of Scott Boras’s Player Emporium. 

Patience with ownership and the front office is at perhaps an all-time ebb. Ratings for SNY, the Mets in-house network, are down, season ticket sales have been falling for years, and, as even casual fans can attest, Citi Field is a ghost town. These factors would seem to push the Mets to open the vault. 

But are coupons being clipped instead?

A great deal of Alderson’s tenure has been spent cleaning up the mess left by his predecessors. Several bad contracts, most notably those of Johan Santana, Jason Bay, and Oliver Perez, drained precious dollars from the club. And the Mets were further hamstrung by the Bernie Madoff scandal.

The contract mess has been cleaned up and the Madoff matter is behind them. But is the team poised to expend mid-market dollars in a big-market venue?

Perhaps Alderson is playing the under-promise-over-deliver game.  Or is he preparing the faithful for yet another off-season of low spending and mid-level talent?

Whichever game he is playing, it may be his last in Flushing. 2014 has been advertised as a winning year. All of his jokes aside, this can’t fill Mets fans with much hope.

There is no clock in baseball. But there is surely a clock hanging on a wall somewhere in the back offices at Citi Field. And it may be winding down on the Alderson Era.

Courtesy of metsmerizedonline.com

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