Sandy Alderson's conference call yesterday to announce R.A. Dickey's new contract was about a lot more than R.A. Dickey, as you can probably imagine. And so here's the GM's take on the Mets' current reality, which involves a lawsuit brought against the team by the trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme and the possible sale of a piece of the franchise: None of that will affect how he does his job.
As he tells it, at least, the Mets payroll is already too high to begin with, Madoff or no Madoff. Via the Daily News:
"I want to emphasize the plan we've pursued over the last couple of months, was limited by only one fact - and that was the level of existing payroll. Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between 140 and 150 (million) and I think that's probably higher than we'd like to be on an annual basis, but a product of adding some additional players we felt the roster needed.
"The plan and the course I've taken the last few months hasn't been affected at all by any other outside factors. From my standpoint, when I interviewed and took this position I was of course aware of the preexisting involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn't privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point, and I would not expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I've done over the last two months and I don't expect it will have any impact on what I do over the next several, including into the 2012 offseason."
Of course, it's possible that — even if we take Alderson at his word — he's being naïve about the situation and how much the Mets and their finances might be affected. He even admitted as much, at least when discussing whether all of this will impact how the Mets will proceed with Jose Reyes, whose contract ends after this season. From the Post:
"Again, perhaps naively, I don't expect that this situation will be a hindrance in that regard," Alderson said.
Of course, the degree to which the Wilpons — and by extension, the thinking goes, the Mets — will be affected isn't publicly known yet. And Alderson has said even he wasn't privy to all the details of the situation. But we could all know more soon. A hearing on unsealing the trustee's lawsuit is scheduled for February 9. (The Mets filed a motion yesterday to keep that lawsuit under seal.) But we could soon know exactly what kind of money the trustee is seeking, among other things. (For example, according to WFAN's Steve Kalas, we could learn whether the team borrowed against money they turned out not to have, causing cash flow problems.) Andrew Marchand calls February 9 D-Day for this story. Perhaps it's wise to check in with Alderson again after that day passes.