New Mets Front Office Sets Sights On Adding Talent





NEW YORK—The Mets have spent the last year trying to repair what even they realized was a struggling feeder system.

A year ago they installed Terry Collins as field coordinator in charge of the minor leagues, letting him teach a universal methodology while trying to create a winning atmosphere.

This offseason the Mets overhauled the front office, hiring Sandy Alderson as general manager and adding a pair of lieutenants in J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta to work on restocking the organization with talent.

Both assistants have previous GM experience as well as strong ties to Alderson.

Ricciardi served as scout, instructor, crosschecker and assistant GM for the Alderson-led Athletics of the late-80s and '90s, a résumé that eventually earned him an eight-year stint as GM of the Blue Jays.

DePodesta served as Dodgers GM in 2004-05 and most recently worked in the Padres front office, where Alderson had served as CEO. Prior to his time in Los Angeles, DePodesta served as assistant to A's GM Billy Beane, the successor to Alderson in Oakland.

"For me, the draft is the best day of the calendar year," said DePodesta, the Mets' vice president of player development and amateur scouting. "It's not the most glamorous. We get to make a handful of moves during year—trades, free agents. But on draft day we pick 50 players.

"I love getting out, seeing players. As far as a specific philosophy I do like guys with upside. People look at my background both in San Diego and L.A., and I'm probably not as married to the college player as people think I am. I like guys we think are going to be big leaguers, guys who we think will have long and productive careers."

Despite generating a number of contributors—most notably Ike Davis, Jon Niese and Josh Thole—the Mets' system is viewed as middle of the pack, with few blue-chip pieces waiting in the wings.

"I've seen a couple people refer to (the new front office as), 'Moneyball with money,' " DePodesta said, referring to the 2003 book about the Oakland front office. "That's the Red Sox. In many respects, that's the Yankees . . . Those are people who are some of the best at employing 'Moneyball with money.'

"We have a lot of work to do to get to that level. But there's no doubt that just the opportunity to be able to do that is really exciting."

METAMORPHOSES

• The Mets shut down righthander Brad Holt after five appearances in the Arizona Fall League, during which he went 2-1, 2.92 with 13 strikeouts and nine walks in 12 innings.

• Shortstop Wilmer Flores started 3-for-9 in the Venezuelan League before missing a month of action with a hamstring strain suffered on Oct. 14.