Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Looking at Sandy Alderson and Rick Hahn

Looking at Sandy Alderson and Rick Hahn



By Mike Silva ~ October 7th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

Thus far we have taken a deeper look at John Hart and Logan White here at NYBD, so today I decided to look at the latest “hot” candidates on the Mets list: long time baseball executive Sandy Alderson and White Sox’s Assistant GM Rick Hahn.

Sandy Alderson

In my opinion, hiring Alderson would signal the Wilpon’s are truly committed to giving someone full autonomy. His track record speaks for itself as he competed in two small markets, Oakland and San Diego, while doing more with less.

First, he was the driving force behind the A’s sabermetric revolution in Moneyball. Alderson was the architect behind the Oakland teams of the eighties. Faced with declining attendance and one of the smallest payrolls in baseball, he hired Billy Beane, and was behind many of the principals outlined in the book “Moneyball.”

When he was hired in San Diego the Padres had not made the playoffs since their pennant winning season in 1998. Alderson, along with the help of Kevin Towers, immediately had them in the playoffs and on a competitive track. Owner John Moores gave Alderson the directive to turn the Padres into the “best baseball franchise in America.” Despite missing the playoffs this year, you can see much of the fruit of Alderson and Towers labor as San Diego improved by 15 games, and miss the playoffs on the last day of the season. San Diego has come a long way in just five years.

Some of the quotes by Alderson upon taking the Padres CEO position in 2005 could relate to the Mets organization. He talked about “striving to be the best, setting high goals, and leaving agendas at the door.” He is well respected, enough so that MLB hired him to do the impossible: clean up the baseballs version of the Wild West, the Dominican Republic.

If Alderson wants the job I believe he might be most fit to take on the Mets challenge. His background in San Diego and Oakland could provide the big market Mets with an opportunity to achieve what both Boston and the Yankees have: combine big money with sound business and scouting principles.

In 2006 Baseball American listed Alderson as one of the 25 influential people in the baseball universe.

Rick Hahn

Although Rick Hahn has a solid resume, it drops off significantly from the aforementioned Alderson. Hahn started his career as an agent, and moved into the White Sox’s front office in 2001. Kenny Williams credits Hahn for assisting the club’s roster composition, all player acquisitions, talent evaluations and contract negotiations, as well as with overseeing every element of the organization’s baseball operations activities, including the scouting and player development departments. Essentially he is doing the GM job without the title. Baseball Prospectus and Sports Illustrated list him as one of the top GM candidates in the game.

Many credit Hahn for the Sox acquisitions of Carlos Quentin, signing Alexei Ramirez, and 2008 first round draft pick Gordon Beckham. Quentin is especially impressive as he was a young player underachieving in Arizona who has developed into an All Star and MVP candidate in Chicago.

The issue with Hahn is his experience, or lack thereof, in evaluating talent. According to Andy Martino of the Daily News, Hahn has spent the last two seasons in Chicago on the road working on improving his talent evaluation skills. That to me is a huge red flag.

Hahn is an intriguing candidate, but might not be ready for the big chair. As mentioned above, the Mets are a challenging situation, and I think first time hires might be overwhelmed. In other words, the Wilpon’s can’t afford to have another GM “learning on the job” like Omar Minaya.

Conclusion

I still think hiring either John Hart or Sandy Alderson is the way the Mets should go. Alderson is clearly the stronger candidate, but is he up to the Mets challenge? When hired by the Padres in 2005 he talked about how he “missed the rhythm of working for a franchise.” He certainly would be able to fulfill his craving working in Queens. On the other hand, he can work for the commissioner’s office in a challenging job with far less stress. It all depends on what Alderson is looking for at this point in his career. Remember, he is 63 years old.

If not Hart or Alderson then what? Put a blanket over Dan Jennings, Rick Hahn, Logan White, and others and pray. The Mets need someone with a track record and experience. It appears the only serious candidates (I don’t count Terry Ryan or Gerry Hunsicker as serious yet) that fit the description are Hart and Alderson.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Looking at Sandy Alderson and Rick Hahn

  1. Shamik

    63 is far from being old! In fact, I’d bet that Alderson could see turning around a traditionally moribund franchise like the Mets as a crowning achievement and solid way to end a career.

  2. Mike Silva

    That is a fair point Shamik

    You just don’t know how Alderson wants to spend the rest of his baseball career. This will be a stressful job, one that I think he is clearly qualified for.

    I just think this is the direction the Mets need to go. Any of the other candidates, although enticing, have not run their own ballclub. The Mets can’t afford a mistake.

  3. Stu B

    “Any of the other candidates…have not run their own ballclub.”

    Not so – Hart was GM of the Indians and Rangers.

  4. Mike Silva

    Yes I mention how Hart and Alderson are the only two – that was the point in the conclusion.

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