The 2017 Winter Meetings begin in one week and we have no clue as to what the Mets are planning to do. Of course, GM Sandy Alderson has laid out some broad outlines about the direction this offseason will take – mainly to appease the beat writers and columnists, slaves to the 24-hour news cycle — but with many holes to fill and questions to answer, it would be difficult for him to specifically address his strategy without giving the whole game away or flirting with a charge of tampering. So it will be left for us to watch baseball’s annual swap meet and boozefest to see what improvements will be made to a disappointing 2017 team.
How’s the old Four Seasons song go? “Silence is golden…?”
You see, Sandy’s silence might bode well for 2018’s outlook. Good things tend to happen when Alderson goes all tight-lipped. For instance, no one at the 2013 Meetings knew that the Mets would ink Curtis Granderson until moments before he was introduced. The next year, prior to the start of the Meetings, Michael Cuddyer arrived, seemingly out of the blue, to help speed the transition from “What outfield?” to a pennant winner. It seems to generally follow that in Alderson’s tenure with the Mets, there is an almost eerie quiet as a prelude to a big move. Nothing seems to leak, even in the Twitter-verse we live in nowadays. And even when there was a leak, even in those dizzying days at the end of July 2015, no one heard about all the crazy machinations of the Carlos Gomez (non-)acquisition and subsequent scooping up of Yoenis Cespedes until we were all in the middle of it. With that deal, of course, the Mets went from jughead to juggernaut seemingly overnight.
So, fine: let Alderson keep his own counsel. If it means that some of the many – and oh, are there many – questions surrounding this team get addressed next week with little fanfare, I think we fans would be OK with that. Remember, it was only after the Cuddyer signing that people started to talk about the 2015 Mets as a possible playoff contender. John Smoltz proclaimed the Mets “in the playoff mix” that day, to the amazement of the rest of his TV panel, as well as your intrepid columnist. Many were skeptical he could make that big a difference, and as it turned out, Cuddyer was a mainly minor contributor on the field – we’ll never know the difference he made in the clubhouse, especially with David Wright on the shelf most of the year. But that didn’t seem to matter after awhile. What mattered was the signal it sent to the Mets’ players and the fan base that, all evidence and opinion to the contrary, the front office actually was interested in “going for it.” That feeling was cemented when Cespedes came aboard in the waning minutes of the trade deadline.
So, if it means a big improvement in the teams’ fortunes? Please, by all means, Sandy: keep your mouth shut.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.