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Sandy Alderson says perception of New York Mets changed for better during tenure as team president

NEW YORK -- Sandy Alderson has achieved one of the goals he set upon his return to the New York Mets.

"The Mets are far more respected than they have been in recent years,'' he said Friday, a day after announcing he will resign as team president and become a senior adviser when a successor has been selected.

Now 74, Alderson was the Mets' general manager from 2010 to 2018 and stepped down after being diagnosed with cancer. He returned as team president in November 2020 when Steven Cohen bought the Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families.

"Family's important,'' Alderson said. "I haven't been on a summer vacation for four years. The fact that I've never been to Yosemite and I lived in California for 25 years, it's somewhat telling. Not that I have this strong desire to go to Yosemite or Lake Tahoe or the Catskills for that matter. Anyway I'm looking for a little different cadence, I guess is the right word.''

Alderson hired Jared Porter as general manager, and Porter was fired in January 2021 after 38 days over revelations of sexually explicit text messages. Zack Scott, Porter's replacement as interim GM, was fired last Nov. 1 following an arrest on drunken driving charges -- he was later acquitted.

Billy Eppler was hired as GM last November after Alderson failed to find a wanted president of baseball operations, and Buck Showalter was hired as manager the following month to replace Luis Rojas, who was fired following two losing seasons.

"I think that what I hoped we would accomplish as an organization is a transformation if you will of the perception of the Mets,'' Alderson said. "I think that has largely been accomplished. Doesn't mean it will be sustained but I do believe that the image of the Mets is different today than it was roughly two years ago.''

New York is on track for its first playoff appearance since 2016. The Mets have boosted payroll from $154 million in 2019 to $266 million at the start of this season. Among the changes that have taken place are the return of Old-Timers Day for the first time since 1994 and the retirement of Jerry Koosman's No. 36, Keith Hernandez's No. 17 and Willie Mays' No. 24.

Alderson was general manager of the Oakland Athletics from 1983 to 1997, an MLB executive vice president from 1998 to 2005 and CEO of the San Diego Padres from 2005 to 2009.

He thinks a successor will be hired by the start of next season. His future involvement remains to be determined.

"Being an adviser is kind of a tricky thing and I want to be helpful,'' he said. "I don't want to detract from what the organization as a whole is doing but I think I can be helpful. And so I'm looking forward to that possibility.''