Sandy Alderson was hired as general manager of the New York Mets, who are seeking to rebuild a franchise beset by losing seasons, dwindling attendance and personnel problems on and off the field.
Alderson, 62, was introduced at a news conference today at Citi Field after signing a four-year contract. He said he would likely begin interviews next week for a manager to succeed Jerry Manuel, who was fired along with General Manager Omar Minaya on Oct. 4 after a 79-83 season.
Alderson, an Ivy League-educated ex-Marine, produced championship teams with the Oakland Athletics, laid the groundwork for the San Diego Padres to contend for the playoffs this season and worked as a top executive for Major League Baseball. He brings his experience to a team that has missed the playoffs for four straight seasons with one of the sport’s top payrolls, which hit $134 million this year.
“I am thrilled with this opportunity and am eager to work with ownership and the entire organization to achieve a successful and sustainable future for the Mets and our fans,” Alderson said in a news release.
Possible candidates for the manager’s job include Wally Backman, a former Mets player and now manager of their Class A farm club; Chip Hale, the major league team’s third-base coach; and Bob Melvin, who managed the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Times reported.
Alderson built an Athletics team that won three American League pennants and the 1989 World Series. He later became a pioneer in the practice of using statistics to identify undervalued players, as Oakland’s new owners instructed Alderson to cut payroll following the death of former owner Walter Haas Jr. in 1995.
Alderson left the A’s to become MLB’s vice president of baseball operations, a position he held from 1998 to 2005. He then spent almost four years as the Padres’ chief executive officer before stepping down in 2009.
The Padres, with the second-lowest payroll in the major leagues at $38 million, finished second behind the San Francisco Giants this year in the National League West after leading the division for most of the season. The Giants lead the Texas Rangers 2-0 in the World Series after last night’s 9-0 win in San Francisco.
An alumnus of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, Alderson worked most recently to head Major League Baseball’s efforts to eradicate corruption of the sport’s feeder programs in the Dominican Republic.
Alderson, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam, was picked by Mets ownership over Josh Byrnes, the former general manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Mets are coming off a season that was marked by injuries to key players such as Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana, legal problems for All-Star relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and a sea of empty seats at the Mets’ two-year-old, $850 million Citi Field. Attendance this season was 2.6 million, down 600,000 from 2009.
The Mets have failed to reach the postseason in nine of the past 10 years, while the crosstown-rival New York Yankees have made the playoffs 15 times in 16 seasons and won five World Series titles in that span. Minaya said he agreed a change was needed when his firing was announced.