Palladino: Mets' President Of Baseball Operations Must Convince Wilpons To Spend

Ernie Palladino
June 29, 2018 - 1:36 pm
Fred Wilpon, left, and Jeff Wilpon

USA TODAY Images

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By now, we all know how tough Sandy Alderson is.

Real tough. Like a well-worn Marine boot. And that might be just tough enough for him to give cancer a knockout blow for a second time.

Unfortunately for him and the Mets, however, all that “advance, advance, advance” mentality, so vital to his military makeup, never translated into a truly convincing argument that the Wilpons simply must spend more money on attracting quality players.

The reason is quite simple, really. Like any good Marine, Alderson followed orders. He’d make a case, but once the generals in charge rendered their decision, he stepped back and did his job to the best of his ability. All the cowboy stuff we see in the Clint Eastwood films -- the defiance of authority and the tactical freelancing of a Heartbreak Ridge -- those are fun to watch. But at the heart of a true Marine comes the ability to take orders.

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Alderson did that, both to the benefit and detriment of the organization.

Now Alderson, a very good Marine and even better man, has stepped away from his general manager’s position, probably for good. At season’s end, the Wilpon ownership will choose a president of baseball operations to oversee the front office.

It will be up to the Wilpons to choose a person whose counsel they trust, and that means ponying up the dough for top-flight talent.

The sheer effusion of money won’t completely fix the Mets. We all know that by now. Dollars alone won’t solve the barren minor league system. But that’s not really the point here. Start at the top, at the major league level, and find the quality people who can remedy the past mistakes that include Anthony Swarzak (two years, $14 million), and AJ Ramos ($9.22 million this year) and Jerry Blevins ($7 million this year).

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They could also use another corner outfielder, considering Michael Conforto’s struggles and the fact that Yoenis Cespedes will probably never turn back into the game-breaker that warranted that $130 million payday two years before his legs went south.

It would be nice if the Mets could unload Cespedes on an American League team, and perhaps the new president could convince the Wilpons to eat a good chunk of that salary to sweeten the deal. That’s probably just a dream, though.

Adding some pieces, along with unloading a no-longer effective closer Jeurys Familia, would be a good start, however. Even if it means overpaying.

Then, and only then, should they go to work on the rest of the organization.

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Trades can bring in a few quality prospects. And those targets should not be procured through analytics. Enough with the fancy numbers. The new guy must revamp the scouting bureaus. Get them to use their eyes, downplay the computers. If a kid looks like a player, he probably is.

Then train them. Coach 'em up, hard! Push them to the limit. Harden them to the rigors of a long season -- the heat, the cold. Extended coaching sessions that stress fundamentals like bunting, smart base running, hitting the cutoff man.

There’s a whole laundry list of things that need fixing below the major league level. First things first, though. The Wilpons need to find the right guy and open the money flow when the new president says “Now!”

This isn’t a five-year plan we’re talking about. It’s a next -year plan, probably led by a civilian free from the restrictions of a military life.

Someone who can convince the Wilpons to do something they’ve been loathe to do.

Spend first.

Then get to the other problems.
    
Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino