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Wilpons not averse to dumping Ollie, Castillo

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, listens to

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, listens to a question from the media after the Mets introduced Sandy Alderson as the team's new general manager. (Oct. 29, 2010) Credit: AP

Calling the last two Mets seasons "the most difficult, trying years for me in baseball," owner Fred Wilpon made it clear Friday that he'd like nothing more than to field a winning team again.

And if the price of winning means having to buy out a few underperforming players with big contracts (Oliver Perez? Luis Castillo?), Wilpon said he "absolutely" would do it.

If that's what Sandy Alderson wants to do, well, then Wilpon is all for it.

At the news conference to introduce the Mets' new general manager, Wilpon spoke glowingly of Alderson, stressing that he will bring the "structure" and "flexibility" needed to make this organization a consistent winner again. And Wilpon thinks the winning can start right away.

"He does not consider this a rebuilding," Wilpon said. "He thinks there are things to be done to the 2011 team and he has to be mindful of 2012 and beyond. But he's not saying 2011 is a rebuilding year at all."

Considering Alderson's impressive resume and previous success as general manager of the Athletics, hiring him to run the Mets is reminiscent of when Wilpon - along with his then-partner, Nelson Doubleday - hired Frank Cashen shortly after they bought the team in 1980.

That move was the first of several that led to the Mets' 1986 world championship, something that surely wasn't lost on Wilpon as he sat at Citi Field on Friday talking about changing the atmosphere from what it was during their disappointing recent seasons.

The biggest obstacle standing in the way of getting the Mets back on track immediately is their own inflexible roster, which features several unmovable parts.

Although chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said the guaranteed contracts on the 2011 roster already put them close to the team's likely budget, he added that Alderson has "ideas how to move them and how to restack the roster, for sure."

With Alderson running the front office, Jeff Wilpon also said he likely will become less involved in overseeing the day-to-day activities of the baseball operations department.

"Does it become easier with a Sandy here? Absolutely," he said. "Because he can do more things and is more competent at certain things that Omar might have needed more help with."

Fred Wilpon added that Alderson's presence will enable his son "to concentrate on other areas as well, which he may not have been able to concentrate on."

Alderson said he intends to make many calls on his own without any input from above - but not everything. He'll make recommendations on bigger issues, as he did when he was the A's GM from 1983-97.

"This is the way he said he's worked everywhere else and how he wants to work here," Jeff Wilpon said. "That word autonomy is somewhat misused, I think."


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