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Alderson might later be candidate for Commish

Sandy Alderson answers questions during a press conference

Sandy Alderson answers questions during a press conference after being introduced as the Mets' general manager. (Oct. 29, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets have a clearer plan of succession than Major League Baseball does, and that could work to Sandy Alderson’s advantage on both ends.

By signing Alderson, 62, to a four-year

contract as their general manager, the Mets sent a strong, effective message to their fans that they felt their pain and realized their past mistakes. They also sent a softer message to their assistant GM John Ricco: Work well under Alderson — the two men used to work together at Major League Baseball’s head quarters — and you could take his seat in a few years.

 

And if Alderson reorganizes the Mets to where they’re maximizing their resources, you could see him as a candidate, once again, as the person to follow Bud Selig.

There’s the matter of timing. Selig, 76, is signed through 2012 and professes that he will retire. Absolutely no one believes him.

As former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten — himself a candidate — said last month, “I know no one is baseball who thinks Bud Selig is stepping down.”

When I asked Selig about that, here at the World Series, he responded: “Back in the ‘90s, that would’ve bothered me more. That’s OK. I understand that. I have owners calling me all of the time, telling me the same thing. I thank them for calling, and that’s the end of it.”

With former COO Bob DuPuy out of the picture, executive vice president of labor relations and human resources Rob Manfred appears the top internal candidate. Yet if Selig’s eventual retirement corresponds with Alderson’s handing the mantle, Alderson could take the job for a shorter period before handing it to the younger Manfred. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail also has been mentioned as a possibility.

Turning the Mets around would certainly boost Alderson’s already stellar profile. It once seemed that Alderson’s connections with the Oakland A’s, the godfathers of the “Steroids Era,” would tank his chances, but the passing of time has helped smooth that over.

Nunez’s Utility Future

I wouldn’t bet too much on Yankees youngster Eduardo Nunez being the next Derek Jeter. At least, not any time soon. Rather, the Yankees see Nunez as the next Chone Figgins _ an athlete whom they can use at multiple positions.
Nunez, who showed promise in 30 big-league games, will play the second half of winter ball in his native Dominican Republic. There, he’ll spend time at third base and in the outfield, with the idea that he’ll be able to fill in for multiple Yankees veterans in 2011.

The Vladdy Risk

Remember when Vladimir Guerrero was a free agent, following the 2003 season, and the Mets made him a lowball offer? The Wilpons were concerned because back problems had limited Guerrero to 112 games with the Expos that year. The Angels wound up committing a five-year contract to Guerrero, and he played in 141 games or more each of those five years _ although when the Angels exercised a team option for 2009, Guerrero played in just 100 games.

It turns out the Mets weren’t the only team with worries about Guerrero’s long-term viability.

“We were like the Mets,” former Giants owner Peter Magowan said Monday, as he sat in the Giants’ dugout before Game 5. “We were worried about his back.”

Imagine if the Giants had received five years of the production Guerrero gave to the Angels from 2004 through 2008? At the least, San Francisco probably would’ve qualified for the 2004 postseason; the Giants finished two games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. And Vladdy would have made the 2006 and 2007 seasons, when they fell below .500 despite Barry Bonds’ run at and over Hank Aaron, far more tolerable.

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