Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Alderson: Should have sent chocolate
By Adam Rubin
Here is Sandy Alderson's deconstruction of Jose Reyes' departure:
How much of pursuing a free agent is love, for lack of a better word? And could you have shown more of that?
“If you’re asking whether I should have sent him a box of chocolates, perhaps I should have done that. On the other hand, the box of chocolates wouldn’t have cost $106 million either.”
Jose was clearly upset with the way it went down. I understand your strategy. But was there any thought to having more conversation/courtship?
“It was pretty clear, I think, from Terry (Collins) as well as others in the organization, including me, that we would like to have him back. Most of my conversations were public. I tried to convey that publicly. And those conversations I did have from time to time with (agent) Peter Greenberg, I expressed that personally. So, from that standpoint, I certainly don’t feel as if that was the difference between him coming back and not coming back. I think our conduct over the course of last season, when we had an opportunity to trade him, we had other opportunities to do things, when Terry and the organization went out their way to protect him physically to make sure he was not only able to perform, but was healthy at the end of the season, which obviously would have an impact on his contract status, I think given all of those things we acted in his best interest and with a view toward maintaining a positive relationship with him.”
When Jose says the Mets didn’t want him, do you think about the attempt during season to approach him about extension? Does his criticism seem off-base in light of that?
“I won’t get into what’s fair or unfair. All I can say is he had a great career with us. I wish him well with the Marlins and understand why he made the decision he did. I think it was less about style than about substance when it comes right down to his new situation.”
Can you say when you knew definitively, or strongest hunch, when you believed he was not coming back?
“Well, on Sunday I knew it wasn’t happening. I more or less had a confirmation it wasn’t happening on Sunday morning. On Saturday night I had a very strong feeling that it was not going to happen -- very strong if not certain sense that it was not going to happen. But as late as Saturday morning and through the course of Friday I thought it might be a possibility. In fact, I actually got excited about the possibility during that 18 hours or so. So working that chronology back, I would say at the beginning of that week I had some sense maybe there was a possibility. But that was all a function of what the market might have been. Our approach the whole way was to say, ‘Look, we kind of know what we can do here. We know it’s important to Jose.’ And try to match what we can do with what’s important to him. And see if that’s consistent with his other options -- not looking for a discount, but hoping that the market would line up with us.”
What you heard Saturday night was your maximum parameters for a deal already had been completed?
“Friday there was an interest in having dialogue based on some of the conceptual ideas that I had floated. There was still interest in doing that Saturday morning. By Saturday evening things had gone way beyond what I had floated apparently. At least that was the sense that I got.”
Peter Greenberg indicated to media that Sunday morning you said you were going to go to ownership and see if there was more available. Correct?
“No. I knew what I had to work with.”
Is it fair to say at $17 million times six years Jose just wasn’t worth it for the Mets for where they are now?
“Well, what went into this decision I think went beyond Jose himself. One had to take into account franchise history, baseball history, our approach over the last several years, which I would call “high risk,” and a desire to get back off the trapeze a little. However, this was a little bit different situation. This was not a free agent for Boston or Pittsburgh or Timbuktu. This was a homegrown player. And so from that standpoint, we looked at it somewhat differently. But against history of the franchise and baseball generally, we had to weigh the risk, again, taking into account this is a homegrown player, this is a player that has a connection with our fans. I’ve acknowledged that on many occasions. And so from that standpoint it caused us to take another look at it and try to extend ourselves in a way that still kept the risk in mind at least. But we knew what he was looking for.
“And, again, we never made an offer. Make that clear again. But conceptually they understood where we might be. And I knew where they were and what they wanted. And so trying to reach that, we had some ideas that I thought would be appealing. And I think as of Friday, early Saturday, they were appealing.”
Is most of the risk the length of the deal, that as he ages and loses speed the production will decline?
“Without getting into Jose’s situation specifically, most of the risk in these long-term deals is in the length of the contract. You will find people I think more willing to give a higher average annual value over a shorter period of time, because in the aggregate the numbers are lower. And the risk increases, maybe exponentially, as time goes on. That’s without getting into Jose’s situation, because I don’t think it’s really fair to talk about Jose specifically.”