Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that he "doesn't expect" principal owner Fred Wilpon to lose control of the Mets and maintained that he will have the payroll flexibility to spend more in the future to improve the team. Even so, Alderson described the Mets as holding their breath in waiting to see how the Madoff mess shakes out.
"I think it depends on what happens with the lawsuit," Alderson said during a two-hour speaking engagement to benefit Fans for the Cure, a foundation set up for prostate cancer awareness. "I think it depends on what happens with the sale to a minority participant.
"There are a lot of things that can have some impact, positive or negative, going forward. But I honestly don't think it's going to affect us in a substantial way. I don't want to speculate. When it does, I think it'll be apparent."
Alderson repeated his assertion that the Mets' financial issues have not been a factor during his first offseason as general manager. He also believes that people misunderstood comments he made during Monday's conference call, when he suggested the payroll would be lowered in subsequent years. Alderson insisted that his plan is to make the Mets a more efficient team payroll-wise, and consistently in the hunt for big-name free agents, as long as they fit from a baseball perspective.
"The unfortunate thing is that regardless of what we do, there will be a perception that has to be taken into account," Alderson said. "All I can do is move forward based on my judgment about the baseball wisdom of this decision or that decision.
"It's like the fact that we've spent so little this offseason. Does that have to do with the financial situation? No, it has to do with the fact of what we've already got. You look at what we have committed, and the escalating contracts from last year to this year. That's the reality."
As for his low-budget activity this winter, Alderson did not see it as a failure. Just smart shopping.
"There's something to be said for Filene's Basement," Alderson said. "What I hope in the future we can shop at all levels of Filene's, but there's stuff to be found in the basement. What we have to do is every year be able to shop at all levels."
Alderson is close with commissioner Bud Selig, who met Tuesday with the Wilpons to discuss the team's financial issues. But when asked if he has been kept in the loop about those problems - or even needed to be - Alderson shrugged.
"I think that to the degree that [the Wilpons] can talk about it, I think they have," Alderson said. "As I said, it hasn't been a constraining, limiting factor to this point. So there really hasn't been any reason to talk about it."
When asked if the past few days have been more than he bargained for as GM, Alderson laughed, bringing up his early days as Selig's reformer.
"You never know," he said. "When I went to the Dominican Republic, a thousand people demonstrated outside the hotel the first week."