Our “Streaky” GM

Enjoying this hot streak? Living so close the Philadelphia, I sure am. Some silver-haired manager, I think it was either Tommy Lasorda or Whitey Herzog, once made a remark to the effect that you are never as good as you look when you are winning; nor are you as bad as you look when you are losing. The Met lineup, from top to bottom (and on the bench), is full of streaky hitters. After what seems like an interminable period of waving at outside breaking balls or popping weakly to corner infielders in foul ground, they will get white-hot, not only hitting homers in bunches, but also grounders that squirt through shifts or bloopers that fall in front of outfielders playing deep.

The most famous of these hot streaks was by one Daniel Thomas Murphy in the 2015 NLDS and NLCS. Unfortunately, he cooled off in the World Series (thanks Sports Illustrated), but all of his former teammates/current Mets are also guilty as charged. These up and down streaks have served the Mets well, at the end of the season many of the players end up with better than respectable power numbers and as the team’s PR shrills remind us on a daily basis, this Mets squad has made the postseason for consecutive years for only the second time in team history.

But, wanna know what Met has been on the biggest hot streak lately? Try GM Sandy Alderson. For years it seemed, he whiffed on his acquisitions, as you can read about that here. Then something happened. He made a few minor deals with Atlanta and Oakland in July of 2015. Those trades may have been the equivalent of taking extra BP. It was as if he flipped the switch and became the hottest GM on the planet. He had the incredible good luck of the Carlos Gomez deal falling through, which paved the way for his signature (to date) trade for Yoenis Cespedes. Yes was a costly trade, but Cespedes has emerged as this era’s Keith Hernandez or Mike Piazza. Like those two icons, the day Cespedes stepped onto the field wearing a Mets uniform, the team was elevated to true contender status.

Since then? Well, Alderson stole Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks (anybody remember that he claimed Mark Rzepczynski from the Padres a few hours before the Reed trade, only to have the Friars pull him back?) He let Murphy walk, which in retrospect was a bad move, but few of us minded at the time. He lost out on Ben Zobrist, but made a pair of good moves, getting Neil Walker for Jon Niese and signing Asdrubal Cabrerra to a very-team friendly deal. He correctly gauged the market for Cespedes not once, but twice. Antonio Bastardo was a mistake, but he was able to cut bait on him rather quickly. Nobody, including me, liked the Jay Bruce deal, but give Alderson credit: he stuck to his guns all winter in trade discussions. I’ll bet either Baltimore or the Giants would be very glad to re-open negotiations on that deal now. He has also been patient with Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas and as a result, along with Reed, the Mets have a solid late inning bullpen that is costing them less per year than what the Yankees are paying Aroldis Chapman.

Alderson hasn’t been perfect (see Murphy), but he has been right and probably more than a bit lucky a lot more in the past 18 months than he was in the previous 55 months as Mets GM. Not only that, but he stuck to his principles, not trading then under-the-radar prospects like Jacob deGrom or Robert Gsellman for veteran filler when the team was really tanking.

He’s hot right now. But even the great Frank Cashen, the architect of the last Mets World Championship went cold again. Cashen’s hot streak went from June of 1983 when he traded for Hernandez until December of 1986 when he traded Kevin Mitchell away. That marked the beginning of an ill-fated dismantling of a potential dynasty. For the record, Cashen’s hot streak lasted just about 40 months.

Here’s to another twenty-two good months from the current Mets GM.

 

 

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.
3 Comments
  1. argonbunnies April 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm
    Totally with you on this assessment. The Niese for Walker deal was great, Sandy appears to have picked the right guy to ante up for in Cespedes, and lots of recent luck has gone his way. Unless Murphy challenges for the MVP again and Dilson Herrera becomes a major asset for the Reds, this is looking like an absolutely stellar 18 months.

    …but we’ve certainly seen the other side of the coin.

    Reply
    • Dan42 April 18, 2017 at 5:10 am
      It would seem that there is an extraordinary amount of good fortune (Gomez, Reed) involved with Sandy’s successes, and Bruce’s current surge is nice but along with Granderson is preventing the team from taking a step forward with Conforto. Both are gone after this year, unless Sandy totally has rocks in their head, and unlikely to produce over the course of a full season due to age (Granderson) or bad knees probably causing a usual 2nd half drop off a cliff, along with questionable defense.

      What I had feared about the Granderson signing, a bitter end blocking a young player seems to be playing out, magnified by picking up Bruce’s option which is unlikely to be unloaded for anything of significant value unless there is another dinosaur GM out there willing to take a chance on his usual 2nd half collapse and bad wheels, even as a DH in the AL. Methinks the coin favors the other side, even without considering Justin Turner.

      Reply
      • argonbunnies April 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm
        Yeah. It’d be nice to view the recent successes as a pattern, but there are way too many counterpoints to trust the hot streak to continue.

        Getting Reyes for league minimum seemed great for the team, but given his recent prior performance it could be said that the Mets were lucky to get what they got from him in 2016, and that poor performance in 2017 shouldn’t be a shock.

        Reply

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