It’s All on Alderson Now

Raise your hand if you had Michael Cuddyer, John Mayberry, Jr and  Sean Gilmartin as the additions to the Mets roster for 2015. I know it isn’t even Christmas yet, but the feeding frenzy that was the last two days of the Winter Meetings have left the cupboards bare of any impact or any serviceable players the Mets might hope to acquire. All that’s left are the mega-pitchers and a motley collection of castoffs and/or unwanted contracts. I will stick by my earlier prediction about a minor league contract offer to Everth Cabrera, provided  he survives his court date.

Other than that, those three names are all there is, there ain’t no more. See you in March.

A recent report indicated that the Red Sox asked for either Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom for Yoenis Cespedes, before they swapped him to Detroit for Rick Porcello.

The Mets don’t have a Rick Porcello on their roster to trade. What they do have is a bunch of Mystery Boxes (in the form of  their pitching prospects) along with at least a dozen movable, but essentially unremarkable players, most of which are more valuable to the Mets than to another team. Alderson doesn’t want to move any of his mystery boxes until he has opened them up and seen what they can do. This is what separates him from past Met GMs and from some of his more prominent contemporaries. He is cautious to the point of being miserly. They lost what,  five players in the Rule V draft?  You mean he couldn’t even make any trades at that level? What’s going on here?

This is the start of Year Five of the Alderson reign. This is 100% his team now and the coming success or failure is now all on him. We know how toxic the Wilpons are. Alderson knows it as well.  If he didn’t like the way they operate, then he shouldn’t have re-upped. If he is sick of the guys he inherited from Omar, he has had ample opportunity by now to unload them.  The first four years of  Alderson’s reign are much like the first four years of the Frank Cashen era. At the start of the 1984 season (Cashen’s fifth) the media and the fans where ready to run Bowtie Frank and his Baltimore Mafia out of town. For Alderson, this is his 1984.

The Mets need to win ten more games  than last year. 89 wins. Period. That total should at the very least qualify them for a wildcard berth. Anything else is unacceptable and is all on Alderson.  Think of anything that might go wrong on their march back to contention. If it is apparent to us outsiders, it stands to reason it would come as no surprise to our brainy front office. It’s time to hold Alderson 100% responsible for the 2015 team. There are no more excuses. So with apologies to Ray Liotta from Goodfellas…

89 wins is not unreachable. Doubling last year’s win total against Washington (four) and doing better against a fading Braves team might get them six of the 10. The math works. Will Alderson’s plan? Sound off below

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. Josh Consalvo December 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm
    I hadn’t even thought of the fact that it is finally Alderson’s team. It’s time to put up or shut up, and I think Alderson is prepared to put up. Granted, I would have like to have seen a little more motion this week at the Winter Meetings, however I still think we are only one shortstop away from being dangerous (I don’t even think it has to be a major upgrade from Flores). I hope that Alderson gets in on Kang next week, he can hit. I think the patience is officially over and we can finally judge Alderson properly come next year, Minaya’s mess is gone and it’s all Sandy from here on out. Hope it works out. LGM
  2. Bat December 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm
    When I look at the types of moves the Mets are making, I am worried that Alderson & Co are overconfident.

    It just seems like they think that all that is needed is very minor tinkering, but I am not so sure. I mean, I hope that they are a very good team next year, but it seems to me like a possibility rather than a likely outcome.

    In this connection I wonder if the Mets were aware of Josh Donaldson’s availability and considered trading for him.

    Meaning: Donaldson is supposedly the best glove man at 3B in the game and had a huge last two years in terms of WAR.

    I know the Mets have their franchise player at 3B, but I think winning teams think outside the box.

    Just to be clear, I’m not necessarily advocating for (by way of example) trading something like Wilmer Flores (instead of Brett Lawrie), Amed Rosario (instead of Franklin Barreto), Dillon Gee (instead of Sean Nolin), and Jon Niese (instead of Kendall Graveman). The higher salary of Lawrie is offset by the higher salary of Niese, and the loss of the proven production of Lawrie (not great, but acceptable) is offset by the more proven pitchers of Gee and Niese vis-a-vis Nolin and Graveman. The package seems roughly comparable as I do this, spur of the moment, in 30 seconds off the top of my head (and note that if the A’s didn’t want Niese’s higher salary you can put Montero in this package in place of Niese).

    But even though I’m not necessarily advocating FOR THIS SPECIFIC DEAL, what I am saying is that winning teams think outside the box like this: Wright will likely start declining if he hasn’t entered an outright decline phase already, and a shift to 1B might be good for his legs. Donaldson is one of, if not the, premier defensive 3B in the game. This move lengthens the lineup and improves the defense as Donaldson fields better than Wright at 3B, and Wright fields better than Duda at 1B. Then you deal Duda for a SS to compete with Matt Reynolds in spring training (Alexei Ramirez?) with the loser riding the pine.

    Again, I’m not necessarily saying one of these particular deals is necessary, but winning teams – and the braintrust of winning teams – think outside the box and make things happen to improve the team: think about what the Dodgers management just did to a 94 win team.

    Instead of signing Cuddyer in the fall, Mayberry in the winter, and picking up Gilmartin in the Rule 5 draft and then basically saying “Look, we will (a) deal one of Niese, Gee, and Colon for a prospect or another LH reliever, and (b) try to trade for a backup-type guy to keep Flores honest at SS” the real stars of management again think outside the box.

    I don’t particularly like that Donaldson deal for Oakland but I commend Beane on the ability to analyze his team, think outside the box as to ways to improve, and then be so bold as to strike when he sees an opportunity. I feel like Alderson and Co. are basically going to sleepwalk through the remainder of this offseason.

    Again, not sure I would have (for example) signed Pablo Sandoval, moved Wright to 1B, and dealt Duda, but I would have at least CONSIDERED IT and I hope the Mets are similarly considering ways to improve their club besides saying (for example) “We need to sign or trade for a LH reliever to team with Edgin to balance the ‘pen.”

    Maybe the best word is the one I wrote below – seems like the Mets management is a bit overconfident in evaluating the 2015 team.

  3. DaveSchneck December 13, 2014 at 12:00 am
    Agreed, it is on Sandy now. But, this offseason still wreaks of Wilpon frugality, and frugality by choice over necessity. We will likely never know how the budgetary limitations have handcuffed the GM, so he takes the heat/glory, and for his seven figure contract I’m sure he can accept that.

    I feel Bat’s Met fan pain of once again being on the sidelines watching the big boys wheel and deal and throw around money, but in reality patience is most likely the best approach. I would be very displeased with a trade that sent a top prospect for a Cespedes rental or something of the same ilk. And, from the offensive perspective, a strong argument can be made that Flores will equal or outperform most available SS on the market, at least those that don’t require parting with top prospect talent. Given the market conditions regarding SS and the limited returns being offered for his excess veteran starts, I do think the area that Alderson can or could have been more aggressive is in the bullpen. Nothing wrong with taking a flier on Gilmartin through the rule 5, but adding one more strong MLB-proven arm to the pen, preferably a LH arm, would make the pen a true weapon. Couple that with good defensive depth in the 4th and 5th OF spots, and in the backup middle infield spots, and this team could win more close games late and protect small leads late. There is still time to accomplish this, but that means adding a good lefty arm to the pen and acquiring a glove 1st middle infielder that is not a total offensive washout.

  4. Nick December 13, 2014 at 7:12 am
    Good analogy to 1984. Cashen was right then and Sandy will be proven correct now. The key difference between then and now was Mets in 84 had resources to invest during the season. I don’t think that is the case in 2015. Ray Knight was acquired via trade in August of 1984. Mets are still in austerity mode due to the Wilpons.


  5. Bat December 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm
    Dave, I think sometimes it is okay not to be the star of the winter meetings; as the Mets learned when Al Harazin was GM, making the biggest splash in the offseason doesn’t necessarily translate to wins in the season.

    But again from my vantage point the Mets appear overconfident – they seem to think only minor tinkering is necessary. I think the Mets might sneak into the playoffs, Royals 2014 style, but I could also seem them winning a number of games corresponding to the low to mid 80s.

    It seems from Dan’s article he is saying if (for example) Matt Harvey or Bobby Parnell didn’t come back as strong as expected the Mets may have to settle for 89 wins? That is the way I interpret that sentence and the one that follows, but I think it’s possible that the Mets could be much worse than that if things don’t break according to plan. Look at two former Braves starters – Medlin and Beachy – who had two Tommy John surgeries each. In this connection there is no guarantee that Harvey is contributing anything next year, and you think about that, combined with the fact that the defense (other than Lagares) is likely to be porous and you can’t help wondering if deGrom regresses, or Wheeler stays as is, and Duda regresses, Flores pisses the bed at SS, where the Mets will be.

    Is all of these negative possibilities likely to occur? No, but I also think all of the positive possibilities that the Mets seem to be counting on are similarly unlikely to occur.

    I know this thought will be unpopular on this blog but I’m not sure the Mets win anything until the defense is tightened and that may not happen until Murphy leaves, Flores is moved to 2B or Herrera takes over there, and the Mets focus on finding players that are stronger on fundamentals to fill those roles. In short: think something along the lines of the makeover the Dodgers just undertook after Hanley was the worst defensive SS in the league last year, and Gordon (2B), Ellis (C), Puig (CF), and Kemp (RF) also struggled. Next year they should be much improved defensively with Rollins (SS), Kendrick (2B), Grandal (C), Pederson (CF), and Puig (RF).

    I’m not sure the Mets win anything as currently constituted defensively.

    Let’s hope I am wrong…nothing would make me happier.

    • DaveSchneck December 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm
      I’m in full agreement that the Mets (meaning Alderson and Collins) are portraying more confidence than is appropriate given the current personnel. I am also in full agreement that the defense musts be improved, and that Flores is or will likely be better than Murphy both offensively and defensively at 2B. I can live with Wilmer at SS if they sign a guy like Drew that can get a decent amount of playing time at SS as well, especially when defense is the priority. Hopefully the patient approach yields the defensive upgrade and to LH depth in the pen.
  6. argonbunnies December 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm
    Agreed, Dan. 89 wins, 0 excuses.

    However, given that we currently have an 80-win roster and no plans to acquire Mike Trout tomorrow, the excuses number is the key one here. What odds do you want to lay on it ACTUALLY being zero?

    Here’s my prediction for Sandy’s excuses:

    – It’s a young, improving team. The best is still ahead. (Misdirection, not answering the question, a Sandy staple. Translation: We were lying about any sense of urgency. 2016 or 2017 is fine.)

    – We knew we had some areas better than others, but the market didn’t materialize for the specific upgrades that could have helped us. (Translation: I didn’t push to address our glaring weaknesses. Instead I hoped solutions will fall into our lap. Shockingly, for the fifth straight offseason, that didn’t happen.)

    – We pursued trades with all due diligence, but weren’t offered value commensurate with our players. (Translation: I continue to over-value some of my guys, fail to effectively pitch the others, and lack the knowledge of opponents’ systems needed to extract any hidden gems.)

    – There were some injuries. (Translation: I think reporters and fans are so stupid, they might have believed there might NOT be injuries.)

    – There were some disappointing performances. (Translation: I talked up an 80-win team as if it were an 89-win team.)

    – The Marlins had a really good year. (Translation: All those things I failed to do? Some other team did them.)

    – If a few close ones, a few breaks, go the other way, it’s a different conversation. (Translation: Our emphasis on good clubhouse guys and a passionate manager has not translated into any sort of competence in the clutch. Also, I think reporters and fans are too dumb to realize that “if only we’d been super clutch or super lucky, we’d be in the playoff hunt” is true of nearly every team nearly every year, and every year the number of such teams who actually make it is close to zero.)

    – If we’d fallen out of the race, we could have made some trades for the future, but that didn’t happen. (And, separately:) If we’d been in the race, yes, payroll could have expanded to improve the team. (What? Which was it, Sandy? Were the Mets in the race or weren’t they? Oh, right: your claims are both outright lies. You weren’t going to push for far-sighted trades or for costly upgrades, regardless of team performance.)

    – We had to find out who could help us going forward, and we did. (Translation: My longshot on Flores didn’t pan out; his role is now as a back-up. Kirk didn’t excel and was out of options, so we lost him. However, inevitably, someone had a good year in AAA, a respectable cup of coffee in September, and looks like a solid piece for 2016!)

    – Ultimately I take full responsibility for a disappointing year. (Translation: Don’t I sound like a stand-up guy? But if you read my quotes about learning and improving and the market and injuries and performance and luck and opponents, you’ll know that no, I’m not ACTUALLY taking any responsibility at all. I won’t be changing how I operate, and I’m not offering fans any real reasons to believe the disappointing seasons will ever end.)

    Geez. That was WAY too easy to write.

    • norme December 13, 2014 at 7:05 pm
      You could have a great future in politics.
    • FakeSandy December 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm
      Very well articulated response. Love your paragraphs devoted to typical Sandy excuses. Under-reported has been the fact that Sandy has no rapport, no relationship with other GMs, virtually all of whom are decades younger.
      • argonbunnies December 15, 2014 at 9:57 pm

        I hadn’t thought about the age gap — that’s a good point. GM interactions are part cold logic — the value assessment us fans are always engaging in — but also part palling around with buddies in your club. Sandy’s got to be pretty short on buddies these days. The persona we see from him fits a lot more naturally as a boss than a pal.

  7. Vilos December 13, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I like the 84-Cashen comparison. It makes sense. The Mets of 84 were not close to being the Mets of 86. Just like back then, the Mets of 2015 are not a cocky, confident winning team. Not really too close either.

    How do they become one? First of all, they must have a winning season. Second they must make some moves. This team will not make it without additional outside help. The Mets gave away stars and heroes (Hubie Brooks, Neil Allen) to get Carter, Hernandez and others. But again, this happened during the 84 season and after, but not before.

    I understand that everyone wants to hold Alderson responsable for the spin, but to me, thats another story. The story of being a GM in NY. Do they have to make spin or can they be straight forward. There is also a lot to say, if its spin or not. I dont pay that much attention. As Joe says, thats for season ticket sales, and again, thats another story.

    Back to my point, If you look at the team construction, you cant really complain that much. Yes we need a shortstop, but we let the best one in baseball go a couple a years ago with no backup in sight. Bad, really bad move. On the bright side, we have plenty of pitching developing and it seems that we have position players waiting in the wings. Yes, I too would like to keep Gee instead of dumping the salary, and no, I dont buy the making a spot in the rotation. I think Alderson again is wrong about the payroll, as he was when he let Reyes go.

    But, mistakes and spin included, the Mets should win more games than the lose this year, and they should again take a step in the right direction, with confidence building, players developing and hopefully with inteligent moves taking place, that give us a second coming of the 86 team.