Before there was Billy Beane, before there was “Moneyball”, there was Sandy Alderson. Alderson, now the general manager of the Mets, served in that same position with the Oakland Athletics from 1983-1997. When the team’s owner Walter Haas died in 1995, Alderson was ordered to slash payroll. As a result, he adopted the use of sabermetric principles in constructing a team, which have since become synonymous with his protégé and successor.
In 2010, Alderson was hired to implement that same philosophy for the cash strapped Wilpon family. Despite the massive New York market, Alderson was given the unenviable task of tearing down and redeveloping an entire organization from the ground up. Since being hired, there are only 7 players on the major league payroll that have survived Alderson’s rebuilding process (Wright, Niese, Duda, Tejada, Parnell, Gee, Mejia).
Now just four years later, the Mets look up to the Athletics as their model of success. The A’s (47-30),entered last night’s game with a league best run differential of +135 despite a payroll of just $81.5M (25th smallest in the MLB). The Mets (36-41) have cut their own payroll considerably since Alderson came aboard, down to $89M (22nd in the MLB), much to the chagrin of the team’s faithful. (MLB Payroll)
Yet Mets fans could find little fault with their team’s performance against the best club in the MLB on Tuesday. On a night when the potential of Scott Kazmir’s (9-3, 2.66 ERA) career with the Mets threatened to haunt Citi Field, it was the former Oakland Athletics who tormented their previous team.
Bartolo Colon (8-5, 3.67 ERA), arguably the greatest bargain in all of baseball last year for the A’s (18-6, 3.22 ERA), was passed over in favor of Scott Kazmir by Billy Beane last offseason. Against his former employer, Colon tossed 8 dazzling innings while striking out just as many. After A’s manager Bob Melivin joked about Colon’s hitting prowess pregame, the rotund hurler even delivered his second hit of the season. (NBCSports)
With his back against the wall, fellow Oakland reject Chris Young provided all the offense that the Mets would need. Despite swirling rumors that Young is going to be cut from the team as a result of his poor performance, the former all-star smashed two home runs and just narrowly missed a third.
When it was all said and done, the Mets had walloped the AL West leading A’s, 10-1. Curtis Granderson hit his 10th home run of the year, and Travis d’Arnaud returned to the majors with a 3-run blast of his own. In doing so the Mets scored 10 or more runs in back to back games for the first time since June 28th and 29th of 2011 in Detroit.
On the strength of strong pitching and power, the Mets fed Billy Beane and his A’s a taste of their own sabermetric medicine. Against their own model of success, Alderson’s squad offered some merit to his method of madness.
The Mets look to follow up their strong performance tonight when Zack Wheeler (3-7, 3.93 ERA), takes on Brad Mills (0-0, 4.50 ERA). First pitch is scheduled at Citi Field for 7:10 PM ET.