When the Mets hired Sandy Alderson last fall, and when Alderson reassembled part of his old Oakland front office by bringing in J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta (all supposedly with huge salaries), there was a lot of talk about "Moneyball with money."
DePodesta even referenced it when he joined the Mets in November.
"We have a lot of work to do to get to that level, but the opportunity to be able to do that is really exciting, no question," he said that day, according to MLB.com.
Now, more and more, it looks like the idea was Moneyball . . . without money.
In the latest stop on his awkward media blitz, Mets owner Fred Wilpon admitted to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci that the Mets will not spend most of the $64 million coming off the payroll after this year. Verducci suggested that the Mets will reduce the payroll by 30 percent, a cut of more than $40 million that would likely drop them into the bottom half of big-league payrolls.
Not only that, but as Wilpon talked to Verducci about the payroll, he said, "That's one of the reasons that I needed someone like Sandy Alderson."
The assumption all along has been that Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez won't be Mets next season, and that it was almost certain that Jose Reyes would leave as well, either as a free agent or through a midseason trade.
But the more Wilpon talks, the more it seems that he hired Alderson in hopes he would shop at the same bargain bins he was forced to frequent with the A's.
As one Mets person said Tuesday, "We're out beating the bushes [the minor leagues] for players. That's all we can afford."
Wilpon also told Verducci that he believes he'll be able to hold onto his team, assuming he doesn't lose all the money that Madoff trustee Irving Picard is trying to recover from him.
That means more Wilpon ownership, and maybe more Moneyball . . . without money.