The New York Mets haven’t been in the postseason since 2006. After the 2008 season, the Flushing Faithful have endured, what it seems like, a never-ending rebuild. However, things may be looking up for the Metropolitan’s.
General Manager Sandy Alderson has seen his club go from the bottom of the barrel, to on the cusp of contending for a playoff spot. The Mets are a piece or two away from being a wild card hopeful. There is a glaring hole at shortstop, but Alderson believes 23-year-old Wilmer Flores can get the job done. Alderson did, however, fill the hole for a power hitting corner outfielder with the signing of Michael Cuddyer this offseason. When healthy, Cuddyer can rake. If Alderson acquires a difference-making shortstop and a lefty to solidify the bullpen, the sky is the limit for the Mets.
Alderson was hired at the end of the 2010 season, where the Mets missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. He was one of the first GM’s to implement Sabermetrics into baseball when he was with the Athletics. Alderson was brought in by the Wilpons to return the Mets to one of the NL’s best clubs. Before the Trade Deadline during the 2011 season, Alderson pulled off one of the best moves of his tenure. He sent Carlos Beltran and cash considerations to the Giants for Zack Wheeler. Beltran spent the rest of the year with the Giants, while Wheeler is developing into a solid number two starter. But perhaps the biggest splash Alderson made was at the end of the 2012 season when he acquired Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. The Mets sent the reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays. This trade is also viewed as a win for the Mets as Syndergaard and d’Arnaud are key pieces for the future, while Dickey has pitched like a fourth or fifth starter. Clearly Alderson’s thinking was to trade his good players at their high points and get young top prospects in return. This rationale has indeed worked, due to the surplus of the starting pitchers at his disposal. Also, the Mets have one of the best farm systems in the league.
However, is Alderson’s reluctance to give up some of his young pitchers to get a top shortstop helping or hurting the Mets? You can argue about this both ways. Yes it would be nice to trade some of the top prospects to acquire a Troy Tulowitzki or an Ian Desmond. But you can also say that they should keep their prospects to create depth and build a long-term contender. Either way you look at it, Alderson is doing what he thinks will improve his team the most.
Some might criticize Alderson for the lack of involvement in the offseason, whether it be signing free agents, or trading for players because of their reputation. However, they might overlook the risks that move will have. For instance, if the Mets do trade for Tulowitzki, when healthy they will get one of the best shortstops in the game. The risks are if he doesn’t stay healthy, and the amount of prospects needed to get him. In this case, the risks outweighed the reward. I believe that Sandy Alderson is doing the best job possible with what he has been given. Remember, the Mets aren’t the Yankees. They don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars every offseason to retool their team. Alderson is dealing with a tight budget, and a restless fan base that demands a winner.
So regardless of the questions people are asking, Sandy Alderson’s plan seems to be pushing the Mets in the right direction and back into the playoffs.