Joe Maddon surprised a lot of people yesterday by exercising his option to get out of the last year of his contract to manage the Tampa Bay Rays. By doing so, he instantly became baseball’s most talked-about free agent.
Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon immediately shot down the idea that his team would be pursuing Maddon.
New York Post sports columnist Mike Vaccaro to echo the thoughts of many Mets fans when he wrote:
As of right now, immediately, it really doesn’t matter what promises Sandy Alderson made to Terry Collins. Because as of right now, immediately, Alderson has it within his grasp to make a move that would be the first legitimate game-changer on his watch as general manager of the Mets.
Cormac Gordon of the Staten Island Advance argues the opposite point of view, that Wilpon is right and the Mets don’t need Maddon.
Let the Cubs and Angels battle it out for Maddon, first team to a $15 million offer wins the jackpot.
But the Mets don’t need him.
And that’s from a Maddon fan.
David Roth of SB Nation offers an opinion that more closely mirrors my own. Maddon should have enough opportunities open to him to choose a better fit than the Mets.
And while Maddon is unquestionably a superior manager, the Mets — and not just the Mets — are exactly the sort of team that ought not to hire Maddon, and which Maddon will likely be savvy enough to avoid. The Mets simply have too many other problems, and too little available money to spend on them, to divert any percentage of that into paying for the things that Maddon does. The Mets need a shortstop and a leftfielder more than they need Joe Maddon, and absent a change in ownership it’s by no means clear that they have the necessary money for even one of those, let alone all three.
Maddon is unquestionably one of the best managers in baseball, but he’s not going to be enough to get the Mets to the playoffs on his own. However many millions it would take to sign him – and I’m seeing estimates of multi-year deals paying at least $5 million per season – that’s money that won’t be available to spend on players who actually hit, pitch and field. I want to see the Mets use their limited resources in a way that has a direct, measurable impact on their record.
Terry Collins is by no means a perfect manager, but he’s a good fit for the role as Sandy Alderson sees it. And for better or worse, the Mets’ leadership believes in Alderson’s vision. Let’s see if he can bring the Mets to the next level in 2015.