Sandy Alderson’s window is closing

I’ve typically been a Sandy Alderson supporter.  He inherited a series of poor contracts and a team owned by ownership that lacked the ability to invest in the team’s future and I’ve given him leeway.  He managed to trade a Carlos Beltran rental for Zack Wheeler which was a coup but since that he’s not done much.

I gave him a pass on Jose Reyes.  Even as Jose Reyes turned into Kevin Plawecki and Matt Reynolds instead of prospects who might be graduating into the majors now.  The reason I forgave him is the rationalization that the team wouldn’t let him move a lucrative player when they were so desperate for money.

This offseason I hoped that he would accomplish more and get the Mets back on track.  Let us take a look at the offseason checklist:

Extend Your “Marquee Player” David Wright


Extend or Trade Your Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey


Add a Righty Bat to the Outfield (Preferably With Power)


Add a Righty Outfield/Utility Bat


Add a Righty Platoon-mate for Josh Thole


Retool the Bullpen



So… Alderson goes to the meetings, gauges interest in R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese, makes a lot of noise and the Mets come home without anything new accomplished.  Now, the Mets could extend R.A. Dickey or trade him now that the meetings are done, but supposing that they don’t and he goes into the season without a new deal, I’ll call that a fail.  Alderson could also still nab a Cody Ross or Scott Hairston but really?  The Mets are no closer to competing in 2013 and no better equipped for 2014 and 2015.

Well… they did sign David Wright.

Yes, step one was most thoroughly accomplished.  David Wright will play through the heart of his career with the Mets and that is great.  Frankly, it’s good that the Mets have their infield in order for the foreseeable future but I have a question for you, when was the last time you recall a complete Met outfield that you felt confidence in? 1988? (Darryl Strawberry, Kevin McReynolds, Lenny Dykstra and Mookie Wilson) I’m not sure the Mets have had a solid outfield in a long time but I’m pining for the years of Carlos Beltran, Cliff Lee and Mike Cameron and I wonder how close the Mets were to impact prospects being offered and I further wonder if Alderson was ever serious about trading R.A. Dickey or if it was a calculated move to keep the Mets in the news.

The winter meetings are over and I’m left with questions:

  • Why did we take a pass on Destin Hood in the Rule 5?
  • Could the Mets actually get Wil Myers for R.A. Dickey? Or were the Royals truly asking for Zack Wheeler AND Jon Niese?
  • Is Scott Hairston really the best outfielder we’re going to look at?
  • Will R.A. Dickey leave as a Free Agent the same way Jose Reyes did?

I’ve given Mr. Alderson some leeway but his window of opportunity for fixing the team and establishing “his” plan for the Mets.  All things considered I believe that the Met fans will turn on Alderson if there is no success in 2013 and that the Wilpons will turn on him by the end of 2014.  The silver lining is that he’s not done anything lastingly negative as Omar Minaya had.

34 comments for “Sandy Alderson’s window is closing

  1. Petey
    December 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Sandy Alderson has done a terrific job. He was placed on the team by Selig to hold a bankruptcy auction while pretending to rebuild. He successfully suckered David Wright into stretching his contract for 8 million of debt relief this year by using a bell curved extension. Are you starting to finally see the plan?

    • December 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Why do you think he’s pretending?

    • David Groveman
      December 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Unfortunately, I tend to want the Mets to improve as a team more than wanting them to improve as a business.

  2. Petey
    December 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Bud Selig advocated Alderson and Fred Wilpon and Selig have a strong relationship. They are all just protecting each other. I haven’t seen the Mets spend money since Oliver Perez other than the exception where they panicked over season ticket sales and got Jason Bay. David Wright will get his money because in essence he gave the Mets a low-interest refinance loan and they were able to lower the Mets “monthly payments”. I predict that DW doesn’t last 2 years here without asking for a trade due to uncompetitiveness.

    • December 8, 2012 at 11:40 am

      You still didn’t answer my question — why do you think Alderson is “pretending” to rebuild?

  3. Petey
    December 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    His job is to be the “face” of the company and he is going his job quite well. He is portraying the vision that his employers ask him to.

    In 1995, team owner Walter A. Haas, Jr. died and new owners Stephen Schott and Ken Hofmann ordered Alderson to slash payroll. As a result, Alderson began focusing on sabermetric principles toward obtaining relatively undervalued players.

    If you were Sandy would you tell the NY media that this is your plan?
    Do you think the Wilpon’s would want this publicized as their plan?

  4. December 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Again – my question about pretend still stands. Nothing you’ve said in any of your posts has supported this belief.

  5. Name
    December 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    David, I think it’s too early in the offseason for this kind of anaylsis. Yes there has been a blockbuster trade and a couple of Free Agent Signings(Pagan,Victorino,Gomes), but for the most part the big boys(Hamilton,Greinke,Sanchez) have yet to sign. Usually most free agents want the big free agents to sign first so 1. they have something to reference to and 2. They can get some desperate team who missed on the big free agnets to overspend on them. I would gather than maybe apart from the Blue Jays,Nationals, Braves, and Marlins(and a few more), most other teams have yet to make a dent on their checklist.

    I think once we see Greinke/Hamilton sign, we’ll see a slew of other Free Agents sign too.
    This could be something that we revist in Late-January/Early Feb.

    • David Groveman
      December 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      We are farther along by leaps and nothing has changed. I really loathe the idea of doing nothing with Dickey.

  6. Petey
    December 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Pretending in the sense that all the Mets moves are based on finance considerations more than the pursuit of a World Series.

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Wow, I hear the sun rises in the east, too.

      It’s not a state secret that the Wilpons have serious cash problems. This is a strawman argument that you’re presenting.

  7. Petey
    December 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    When have the Wilpon’s admitted to having serious cash problems?
    When has Sandy Alderson used the word rebuilding?
    Why isn’t there more outrage that we are linked to Olivo and Parra instead of Pierzynski and Bourn?

    • December 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      When they announced payroll would be under $100 million. When they put out a call for minority investors. Those are not things that people flush with cash do.

      I’m confused – originally you said that Alderson was pretending to rebuild and now you’re asking me when he’s used the word? Again, you have to look at actions. Trading one of your best players for a guy in the minor leagues – that’s rebuilding. Taking a guy years away from the majors like Nimmo instead of taking a college player ready to help in a year or two – that’s another example.

      There’s not outrage about not being linked to Olivo and Pierzynski because that outrage was already spent two years ago. Everyone else knows that they have no money to spend like when Minaya and Madoff were around.

  8. NormE
    December 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Peter, the real villain(s) in this scenario is not Alderson. It’s Selig. He is protecting his buddies, Wilpon and Katz, who are unwilling/unable to build a winning franchise. If Selig was truly devoted to the best interests of baseball he would want to see a flourishing team at CitiField. A competitive NY franchise enhances the gate and ratings everywhere they play. Selig, as a former small market owner, doesn’t grasp this. He’s more interested in having loyal owners who will support him in his exorbitantly paid position. Thus Wilpon and Katz, in satisfying their ego, are also guilty of screwing up this franchise. As long as the TV money keeps rolling in the owners are happy.
    As for Alderson, maybe he still believes that by being a good soldier he will one day inherit the mantle of Commissioner. It’s like Prince Charles waiting for Queen Elizabeth to step aside. It ain’t gonna happen.
    Where there are villains there are victims. Mets fans are the victims. We continue to care and hope for a winning team. Actually we are enablers, therefore no one should cry for us. When enough of us stop the financial and emotional support of this team maybe someone in power will begin to take notice.

    • Name
      December 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Is a team that spends exorbitantly and loses any better than a team that doesn’t spend and loses? You’re implying that winning can be bought, which is simply not true. While there is a positive correlation between payroll and win %, correlation does not mean causation.

      You could argue that instead of using spending, we could look at “good baseball decisions” as our independent variable. But then there is the problem of using the subjective term “good”. Was the Mets decision to trade Pagan for Ramirez/Torres last year “good”? Sure seem good at the time, but in hindsight we know that didn’t turn out so well.

      I don’t think the problem is effort either. In a zero-sum game, there has to be some who are better than others. Not everyone can win every year(s). It’s inevitable that a team will have its up and downs.

    • Petey
      December 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      I agree with you with the exception that in my opinion Sandy Alderson is guilty by association.

    • David Groveman
      December 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Norm, that is an excellent point about Selig.

      The part where we disagree is where you talk about Elizabeth II stepping aside for Charles. Do we want to see a monarch with giant ears that badly?

      • NormE
        December 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

        Based on my own observation I think Elizabeth should find another heir and Bud should go (and take Sandy with him). Mark Cuban for Commissioner, as if that’s ever going to happen.

  9. Petey
    December 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    The above was for NormE

    Yes, because what you are paying for is a chance at the Playoffs where anything can happen.
    The more times you appear in the Playoffs, the better your chances at a World Series.

    I expect a NY team to at least be able to purchase some secondary tier players.
    For $110-120 million a legit contender could be put together this year.

    For the record, I thought the Mets decision to trade Pagan for Torres and Ramirez was awful.
    Torres has a .240 career batting average and batted .230 for the season. Not sure why anyone ever thought he was good. Angel Pagan has a career .280
    You don’t think that the Mets were interested in the fact that they could potentially control Torres’ contact for 2 years at 2.5 million per, do you?

    Fans should demand more effort from their front office.

    • Dan Stack
      December 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

      I think the trade was made more for the services of Ramon Ramirez and Torres was the filler.

  10. kjs
    December 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Cliff floyd, not Cliff lee.

  11. Metsense
    December 9, 2012 at 6:30 am

    It appears that Sandy Alderson was put in place through Selig to protect the $25M investment by MLB in the NY Mets and keep a Selig owner, the Wilpons, in power. The financial situation has stabilized with the resolution of the Maddoff case and the selling of the team shares. It is by no means prospering and still in austerity. In a business way, Alderson gets an A+ for handling the business side of the Niese extension, Wright extension, the K-Rod salary dump, the restructuring of the Bay buyout, and the Beltran trade. His only F was the poor evaluation of the Reyes situation, which David has already mentioned above.
    I don’t have the same praise for Alderson from a baseball fan perspective. The Pagan trade was a bust but at the time Pagan was a Met frustration. Alderson needs to make other minor trades like the Pagan trade and just hope for better results. The team has not addressed any of their needs this winter. Maybe they should trade the defensively challenged offensive players like Duda and Murphy for an OF or a catcher that is just avg but competes on both sides of an inning. A better defense would sure help the pitching staff. Yet maybe the Pagan trade just indicates how much better the SF front office is than the Mets. It seems SF evaluated the situation correctly. It seems Alderson’s evaluating is not of the same caliber. When the money frees up in 2014 and the minor league pitching arrives, then it will be fairer to evaluate Alderson. I’m just not very confidant that he will make the right moves then.

  12. Gary Seagren
    December 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I think Sandy’s done as much as he has been allowed to do. With Greinke now signed it should get very interesting regarding R.A. I’m afraid “Jeffy” has alot more say in all this than what’s being reported. How else can you explain his statement that they might just let the option play out….WHAT! He knew Greinke would sign soon and leave Dickey as the next best pitcher available. Frankly I think he was the best option in the first place. A Cy Young 20 game winner for FIVE MILLION dollars….are you kidding me. If the powers that be can’t turn him into AT LEAST 2 top prospects then there should be an investigation. Remember we have 3 gm’s and i’m holding out hope that they were waiting for the Greinke signing and laying the groundwork for more deals in the forseeable future. O.K. guys you’ve had a 2 year pass now its time to step up.

  13. Chris F
    December 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Well today has about breached my limit and silence is no longer an option. Watching Wil Myers go from KC shows that the old fox is really just old. I no longer see that Sandy has the wherewithall to lead the team past chopping contracts. His free agent picks and trades, both executed and failed, have shown he does not get the market well. The thing I see is the never ending “fish or cut bait” problem, one that ultimately meant Reyes left for nothing (really, he let Reyes go and we go close to zero for it; on what planet does that make sense?). As has been noted frequently, no one has any clue as to what the Mets are actually doing, and I now wonder openly if Sandy has any actual plan that makes baseball sense. Our last winter meetings were an all around bust for what little occurred, he made no moves at the July trade deadline, and now again, this winter meetings have netted no progress (DW aside, which keeps us treading water).

    The Wil Myers saga is what makes me mad. On one hand, we have the reigning Cy Young winner, worthy of a major haul in return (bodies or talent), and on the other a team hesitant to pay even a realistic price for the same pitcher. It sends a terrible message in my eyes to absolutely everyone. And so in the game of musical chairs, Sandy loses again. Look Im happy to keep RA, and wish the Mets just fessed up for the revised 3 year/30M$ deal and had it done. But if the plan is to peddle a 38 yr old knuckleball guy for prospective all star talent (Myers) then you do so with gusto to make that happen. You cant navigate from strength on both sides of the coin (trade or keep). So Shields and Davis go for Myers. The Rays needed a bat and now they have one. We still dont have RA, we dont have that top prospect, and we have a completely frustrated fan base. If trading was the prime plan for RA then I would have packaged him AND McHugh or Hef or Mejia (yikes, does he look like crap this winter) and said this is exactly what we need as a critical component for ’14 and beyond.

    I feel we will sorely lose out on trade value for RA at the same time sending the message the Mets dont want him. It has lose-lose written all over it, and yet another Sandy blunder.


    • December 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

      If it makes you feel any better, it’s been reported that the Royals didn’t want Dickey, they wanted Niese. And the wanted Niese + Wheeler for the package that TB received headlined by Myers.

      • Chris F
        December 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

        barely. If Sandy was worth his salt, he could have made a package of interest that had got what we wanted. In any event, seems little will get done and the status quo of 75 Ws is about all we can hope for.

      • Name
        December 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

        I actually think the RA Dickey trade rumors were fully overblown by the media. It was a fairly slow winter meetings and no big news stories so the media focused on RA. They made it seem like there was a very high confidence that something was going to happen, but do these people don’t actually participate in negotiations/talks, so what do they really know?
        I never got the impression that RA was actually going to be traded, only shopped. Kinda similar to Justin Upton who has been shopped for over a year and a half but nothing serious has happened.

        • Chris F
          December 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

          Im not so sure about that. I mean, it was clear Sandy had a lot of interest in RA with quite a few teams calling in. It just seems like he wants the world for him (like Myers, d’Arnaud etc) on one hand, and not willing to pay a very reasonable salary for a Cy winner on the other. To me it sends such a conflicted message that why would a team offer up their best. As for the exact deal with KC (or any team), his job is to get the best deal for the Mets and offering up Niese and Wheeler isnt it. Either he figures out how to package RA properly for a team that wants Ws now so we can get high value in return or he should just sign him for the bargain price he would have come for (with Grienke’s deal, that might change for RA? now). In the end, KC opted for wins in 2013 by getting Sheilds for next year (age 30; with a 12M$ ’14 team option) and Davis (27).

          Anyway, my bigger point is that I feel that Sandy has largely not done well positioning the Mets to win. Note, I havent mentioned the Pagan trade, which I still would have done and happy he executed even if Torres and Ramirez were busts. I look at David’s to do list above, which has been unchanging for some time, and see no measurable movement. It makes me wonder why Wright was so bullish on the future.


          • Name
            December 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm

            My feeling was that Alderson was just doing window shopping rather than actual buying and selling. No one should be untouchable and could be moved so he was just doing his due diligince. But since we don’t know any specifics on who was talking with whom, and with what tone and seriousness, all we can do is speculate.
            I do, however, agree with the fact that Sandy’s wishy washy stance on RA is kinda getting old and annoying.
            As for the nothing getting done point, i’ll just point you up to my earlier post. There’s still a lot of offseason left. Greinke just signed, so hopefully that will speed things up on the pitching side but we may have to wait for Hamilton to sign for other hitters to start picking teams.

            • Chris F
              December 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

              I Hope so name. We anticipated things for the summer trade deadline, and got nothing. Last winter we patched the holes in the tire, but nothing more. This winter, nothing so far. It seems that “nothing” is what he is doing best.

    • FMSD
      December 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      There was no way KC was trading Will Myers for a 37 year old knuckleballer. I love RA but he’s 37 now. Never mind that Tampa gave up more than what the Mets could afford in Shields, plus…. Who do you think KC would take for Will Myers? It was going to be a package starting with Neise and Wheeler. If the Mets did that and Myers flops, the same people wishing for that deal would be the ones calling Jeff Wilpon “Jeffy” and saying Alderson is terrible.

      • December 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        If you look at the return Tampa got for trading a top of the rotation starter and a back end/long reliever, I would have considered trading Dickey and someone not named Wheeler.

        • Name
          December 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

          Shields is not a top of the rotation pitcher, but for some reason has the gained the reputation as one. But he is quite durable and that’s what the Royals paid for.

        • FMSD
          December 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

          But you’re basing it on “someone not named Wheeler” which is not what KC was looking for (if the reports are accurate). Also, if we assume The reports weren’t accurate, then we also have to assume that Alderson offered “someone not named Wheeler”.

          And we can debate whether Shields is a top of the rotation starter but he’s easily better than Niese. Also, considering this guy spent his career in arguably the toughest division in baseball and put up the numbers he did is huge.

          I wanted Myers as well but the Mets had nothing to offer KC that could beat Tampa without gutting the system. Keep in mind that you’d gut the system hoping Myers is the real deal.

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