June 13, 2003

86'D MET: The New York

86'D MET: The New York Mets on Thursday fired general manager Steve Phillips, in a move that had been expected pretty much since the beginning of the season. Phillips' 6-year tenure as GM was highlighted by a World Series appearance in 2000, but he'll likely most be remembered either for his series of ill-advised trades, or the mini-scandal in which Phillips had an ill-fated affair with his secretary.
The Mets are in the midst of their third straight losing season, and the New York Post version of events has had it that all of their troubles have flowed from Phillips' failure to sign the best player in the game, Alex Rodriguez, as a free agent after the 2000 season. Yes, there's no question that Phillips bungled the talks with A-Rod, pulling out of the talks out of what he deemed "unfair demands" that the player claimed he never made. From all indications- including the several times he's mentioned in "Moneyball"- Phillips comes across as both a mediocre judge of talent and a jerk- in fact, I don't think shagging his secretary would even crack the top ten of bad moves made by Steve Phillips as Mets GM.
But the not-signing-A-Rod-led-to-current-predicament theory is all wrong, for three reasons:
1) Even if the Mets had stayed in the bidding war, there's no way they would have come close to the Rangers' offer of $252 million for A-Rod, especially when no other team came within $50 million of that number. The Mets have never even had a $100 million player.
2) Even if A-Rod had signed with the Mets, who's to say that they still wouldn't have made all the other dumb moves they've made since? Having A-Rod around doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't have still brought in Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, Roger Cedeno, Shawn Estes, and still made every other trade and signing that hasn't worked out in the past two-plus years.
3) The team Rodriguez did sign with, the Rangers, finished last in both 2001 and 2002 (winning fewer games than the Mets both years), and are in last place this year as well.
Chunky Soup Man Dan Lewis, who unlike me is an actual Mets fan, has more on the Phillips firing. And great back page headline from the Post, of course: "Stevie Nixed."

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 13, 2003 07:43 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?