Now it seems like Sandy Alderson expected a reduction in payroll say in the area of 20M which would be justified based on poor attendance but at 120M they could still expect returns on their investments. It's the drastic reduction in payroll, going an additional 20-30M below the projected decrease that raises the red flags. This was not a planned decrease either, as I showed in this post which was a timeline of quotes from Alderson as he had to adjust his payroll projections. Even recently Sandy has been quoted in regard to the payroll not being what he thought it would be and while he wanted flexibility this size reduction can't be baseball decisions.
When I took the job, my understanding was that the payroll was not at a sustainable level,” Alderson said. “It had to come down somewhat, perhaps it had to come down a little more than I would have expected. None of this was unanticipated, except perhaps to the degree, but look, going into 2012, if we get everybody back healthy, we could have a pretty good team, assuming we do some things here and later, between now and spring training." source Northjersey.com
“Look, I didn’t come here to operate the Oakland A’s,” he told Francesa. “And I don’t expect to have to do that on a long-term basis, and I’m not doing it currently. This is a great franchise and it will continue to be and it will be revived in short order.” source CBS New York
It seems pretty clear that Sandy was blindsided by the degree to which he had to reduce payroll in one off season and in Fred's attempt to put a positive spin on this situation, he inadvertently threw Alderson and Company under the bus. In Fred's attempt to show financial stability he blamed the baseball people for the current roster, the same baseball people who were quoted this off-season as basically having to do more with less. I wonder how Alderson feels about being thrown under the bus, while he's trying to clean up their mess..
Well, that’s Sandy view. Sandy was the architect when he came in saying, ‘I want to do some things, I want to have some flexibility and I want to have flexibility in the four or five areas that you can have flexibility in.’ That’s what he’s doing. I don’t know whether there’s someone out there that he might want. I don’t remember a time that we’ve turned down when the general manager and the manager wanted certain people. Look at our history — for a long period of time, some of it wasn’t well-invested. And you criticized us for that, rightfully. So now you have a right to say, ‘OK, you’d like seven more stars here.’ But if some of these guys become stars then... source NY Post