Alderson swung and missed on Dee Gordon

The dominoes are starting to fall. Doug Fister. Mike Minor. Tyler Chatwood. Dee Gordon. Any one of these guys could have helped the Mets, but that last one really stings. The Mets “expressed interest in Gordon,” but clearly we got beaten to the punch here. When you have multiple holes to fill and reportedly only $30 million or so to add to the payroll, you have to be aggressive and smart. You have to be shrewd enough to trade for a player in his prime making just $10 million who fills both the holes at second base and in the lead-off spot. Gordon was up for grabs as the Marlins are desperate to shed payroll. All it took was three prospects and the Mariners got him and additional international pool money to help them go after Shohei Otani. The Mariners, lest we forget, already have a superstar second baseman in Robinson Cano and a speedy leadoff hitting shortstop in Jean Segura (who this writer also lobbied for a few years ago) but they saw an opportunity to put two speedy rabbits in front of Cano and fellow bopper Nelson Cruz (who we also could have gotten some years back). Kudos to Jerry DiPoto. That’s how an aggressive and shrewd general manager operates.

Meanwhile our big market team that was in the World Series two years ago is throwing about names like Adam Lind while hoping Jay Bruce, Neil Walker or Addison Reed will come back on the cheap. Even if we land all three, that puts us back where we were last year and how’d that work out? We have a new manager, new coaches and we need some fresh talent and ideally, some fresh legs. Bruce still makes sense as he solidifies the outfield and middle of the order while providing assurances at first. But who bats leads off, plays second and is available either in free agency or possibly via trade? Cesar Hernandez is an interesting name that came up in rumors this past week. Just 27, he’s coming off a season with a .373 OBP and he can steal a few bases too. Jonathan Villar is coming off a disappointing year but set the world on fire in 2016 with a .372 OBP and 62 steals. He’s only 26.

The Mets have been linked to other second baseman like Walker, Ian Kinsler, and Jason Kipnis, but none is a true leadoff hitter. Perhaps if the Mets went with Lorenzo Cain instead of Bruce in the outfield it would make more sense to consider one of these options, or even Todd Frazier at third. There are plenty of options remaining for Alderson to consider as we approach the winter meetings.

Here’s one far flung, crazy idea. Instead of divying up that $30 or so million on three or four good but not great players, what if we got one star and made a few smart signings to fill in at the margins (say, Jon Jay, Joe Smith). Remember a few years back when the Nationals were already loaded with homegrown young pitchers yet shocked the world by signing Max Scherzer to really solidify their staff? What if the Mets followed suit and locked up Jake Arrieta? Combined with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard we’d have a playoff caliber rotation that would rely less on the bullpen and require fewer runs to be scored. Plus we’d have the luxury of moving say, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo to the bullpen and using one of the other starters to trade for say, a leadoff hitter. Maybe it’s crazy and surely TexasGus or Jimmy P will hate it, but this is the type of outside the box thinking this team needs right now. Come on, Sandy, put on your thinking cap.

42 comments for “Alderson swung and missed on Dee Gordon

  1. Pete from NJ
    December 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

    On December 6th this website’s poll numbers had 80% of the readers saying no to Dee Gordon. Perhaps the prospects Seattle sent to Miami were of higher quality than the Mets offer but I’m still locked on the negative qualities Gordon had.

    Provocative subject matter but I believe we should move on.

    • Mike Walczak
      December 8, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      It was no to Dee Gordon for a trade including Matz and Flores.

      Dee Gordon would have been a great addition to the team to lead off and play 2B.

      Numbers are numbers,but I really dont want to see Lind, Bruce or Walker on the team. I am really tired of the Mets claiming poverty. Yes, be smart, dont go out and get a contract like Stanton, but you have to invest in players that will help them win. There is always a window to compete and it can go away very quickly.

      If the Mets arent smart and aggressive, they wont make it to the top, especially with having to compete with the Nats, Cubs and Dodgers and who knows, maybe the Giants.

  2. December 8, 2017 at 10:54 am

    If Seattle really needs a CF, maybe we could trade them Lagares for Gordon.

  3. Jimmy P
    December 8, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Price was steep for Gordon. Mets farm in such sad shape, such a massive fail, they are really not in a position to give up a top pitching prospect-plus for Gordon.

    In the land of trades, we don’t have much in the way of what everyone wants: cheap, team-controlled young talent.

    I think Arietta would be a great move. Never happening. They’ve decided from the outset to not do enough.

  4. nickel7168
    December 8, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Mets haven’t made moves yet but you’ll blast them anyway…take a number and admit you don’t have a clue…like everyone else.

    • Jimmy P
      December 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      I think there have been many “clues” coming from SA’s lips, but it is true that it all remains to be seen. The jury is still out. There’s a long way to go.

      That said: My expectations are low.

    • Mike Walczak
      December 8, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Lets see what they do at the winter meetings and in free agency. I would like for them to make smart good moves, but my gut tells me, they will fall short in their pursuits and will get a 1983 model Adam Lind –

  5. TexasGusCC
    December 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Matt, totally on board with Cain. If you’re going to spend $13MM on a plodder like Bruce, give $16MM to Cain. For the record, I see Bruce signing late and being disappointed.

    Also, Cap yesterday I wrote the same thing and if the Mariners need a center fielder, Gordon isn’t a lock to pick up the position quickly.

    These two moves would be a +$20MM to all of you counting the Coupons’ money, so they can still add Murrow and more.

    It should actually be easier to get Gordon now, since the Mariners did this to get that $1MM in signing bonus and the Marlins got two top ten prospects and pushed off Gordon, but the Mariners still need to address CF.

    Can’t really expect them to openly say, ‘we now need to move Gordon for a center fileder’, right?

    • Jimmy P
      December 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Come on, Lagares has not established an ability to hit. Nobody is taking on his inflated salary and giving up a quality player in exchange.

      He’s Peter Bourjos, who can be signed for a thin dime.

      • TexasGusCC
        December 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

        It doesn’t have to be straight up, but Bourjos isn’t as good as Lagares.

  6. Chris F
    December 8, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Well hopefully the Gordon hysteria is over…

    He would have been a huge bust on the Mets IMO. Hes such a star that no one needing a 2B could land him and the Ms are converting to CF.

    Id take Cain over Gordon any day.

    • Mike Walczak
      December 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      So lets go get Cain to lead off.

  7. Pete In Iowa
    December 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    “Swung and missed” on Gordon? Really? What exactly is the evidence that we had any sort of significant interest (let alone any type of offer on the table) for Gordon?
    Arrieta should be a no-brainer to any true big market club which needs to upgrade its staff. Pitching is what this club really needs. Lest anyone has forgotten how dreadful the starting pitching was last season. In my opinion, we already have plenty of relievers. In addition to Familia, Blevins and Ramos, names like Wheeler, Gsellman and Lugo come to mind.

    • MattyMets
      December 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Pete in Iowa, I tend to agree. In fact, before the Gordon news broke and Michelle I. at Metsblog beat me to it, I had started writing about this very point.

      https://www.sny.tv/mets/news/mets-would-be-wise-to-add-starting-pitcher-but-have-more-glaring-needs/262996958

      Of all the Mets needs, I’d actually put the rotation at the top. Adding one big starter lengthens the rotation and stacks the pen. It’s far more impactful than adding a Bruce or Frazier. When you have 3 top notch starters, you can win without scoring 5 runs a game or relying on an 8-man bullpen.

      • Chris F
        December 8, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Matt, Metsense, Brian and I have been saying this for months now. The Mets pitching is terrible, and there is only marginal reason to expect it to be any better next year. The Nats had solid pitching (Stras, Gio, other guy i cant recall) and then doubled down with Scherzer. We have deGrom, broken Syndergaard, broken Harvey and pretty much swiss cheese *after* that and people were like we need a Dickey or Bartolo type innings eater….sure, if you want to compete with the Phillies for last place. Arietta or Darvish made sense if this is a team going for the post season. I dont think it is. So, Im not sure it matters any more, because this is very much a team idling with a broken transmission. The only good news is that the NL ease is by far the worst division in baseball, so that is a reason to think about rainbows and unicorns.

      • Chris F
        December 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        But then look at the Nats. Scherzer, Stras, Gio *and* a near murderers row of hitters. Its why they are so dang good, and why everyone else in the NL East is picking dandelions in the middle of the game

        • MattyMets
          December 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm

          Chris F – the Nats also had Zimmerman and Fister at the time.

    • Dim
      December 8, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Agree @Pete and others.
      The subject of, “Mets swung and missed”, is only speculation. @Matt. Did you actually researched and gathered any facts, before this titled, or was it purely you wanted to just write something bad that Mets management did or did not do?

  8. BK
    December 8, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Not sure I’m on board with Arrieta, but I agree that Sandy needs to show some creativity. A swing-for-the-fences type of deal. But in this market I’m not exactly sure what that is.

  9. Herb G
    December 8, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Writers on Mets blogs who bad mouth the Mets piss me off. Did Cespedes “come back on the cheap”? To get Gordon the Mariners gave up a lot, and their real goal was to obtain the added international bonus money. They traded 3 really good prospects (look them up – we couldn’t compete) and they took on all of Gordon’s remaining contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle decides to flip Gordon, and the CF story was only a cover.

    Regarding Alderson’s plan for the off season, what would be so bad about bringing Bruce, Walker and Reed back? (I’ll ignore your snide “on the cheap” remark.) You say it “puts us back where we were last year”? If you recall, last year, before the season with that roster, we were expected to be a WS team. Injuries derailed that train. But with those three plus another quality reliever (Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee or even Joe Smith) and a back end innings eater (Andrew Cashner or Jhoulys Chacin?) we should be right back in the mix, as long as we avoid last year’s injuries.

    Personally, I’d like to see Alderson swing a trade for Whit Merrifield for 2B instead of signing Walker. Or sign Todd Frazier and let Asdrubal play 2B. Cesar Hernandez, who you mention, could also be a good 2B acquisition. At 1B to start the season I am fine with a platoon of Smith/Flores, although Adam Lind, Logan Morrison or Matt Adams would be a perfectly acceptable alternative. IMO, we can have the makings of a contending team with the right moves. But not if we spend everything on an Arietta or Hosmer, and are left picking from the bottom of the dumpster in March.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  10. MattyMets
    December 8, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Wow. Between perspective posts, game recaps and round up contributions, I’ve posted more than 200 times for Mets 360 and I’ve never seen this kind of backlash. It’s fine to disagree. We encourage debate on here. But there’s no need for the nastiness. Like coaching little league, I do this for free in my spare time because I’m passionate about baseball and feel I have something to share. If you disagree with me then share your opposing view, don’t snap at me. I root for the same team.

    As far as this piece is concerned there’s been speculation that the Mets passed on Gordon more because of his contract (Marlins weren’t willing to pick up any part of remaining salary) than because of an inability to offer top prospects. 3/30 for an All Star player in his prime is a relative bargain and not a contract that a big market team should balk at.

    Why does me calling the Wilpons cheapskates offend anyone? This is a common narrative among Mets writers, Mets fans, agents and rival GMs. I’m hardly the first person to point out the obvious.

    • Chris F
      December 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Why does me calling the Wilpons cheapskates offend anyone? This is a common narrative among Mets writers, Mets fans, agents and rival GMs. I’m hardly the first person to point out the obvious.

      Absolutely correct Matt. Cheap. Misguided. And the FO is a mystery.

    • December 8, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say it offends me but I think it’s ignoring a pretty important fact.

      In 2008, the Mets had the second-highest payroll in baseball. Now they’re in the middle of the pack. Was there an event that happened after 2008 that might have impacted how the club was run and how they spent on players?

      For the record, yet again, I wish the owners spent more on payroll. But just as there’s a lot of ground between a Gold Glove defender and Wilmer Flores, there’s a lot of ground between an ownership with a top payroll and owners being cheapskates.

  11. Metsense
    December 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Matt, we don’t always agree but I appreciate the time and effort you put into your posts. Thanks for doing it.

  12. TJ
    December 9, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Just going on record as thankful at this point that the Mets did not obtain Gordon. I just don’t see him as an all-star caliber player and might not even sign him as a FA for his current deal, no less give up Matz/Flores or other top prospects.

    As for our ownership, I will also go on record as saying they are cheap until proven otherwise. With all due respect to Brian, 2008 was a long time ago. This “event” that occurred did not take anywhere near the economic toll that was initially expected. Their franchise value has increased dramatically since then. MLB’s shared revenue stream has increased dramatically since then. There is no rationale for a team in the largest market, with a beautiful ballpark, and majority ownership of its TV network, coming off a recent World Series performance, to not be consistently among the top quarter in salary commitments. No rationale whatsoever.

    • NormE
      December 9, 2017 at 6:02 am

      +1

    • December 9, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Everyone keeps talking about franchise value and while it’s true that it’s gone up tremendously, it does absolutely nothing to help with everyday cash flow.

      I’ve got a Hank Aaron rookie card that I purchased in 1974 for $20. Today it’s worth substantially more than that. Doesn’t help me pay the water bill.

  13. Eraff
    December 9, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Any time Alderson passes on Defense or Speed, he’s just playing to Type. He does not place high value on these attributes and skills. Gordon is a Good player, but the things he does are not universally valued in today’s game…and, yeah, he makes a good coin to boot.

    This trade exactly fit both team’s needs.

  14. TJ
    December 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Brian,
    With all due respect, a baseball card and a baseball franchise are quite different. The increase in equity is of primary importance for two reasons. First, it make lenders very willing to lend, at low rates, and when the Mets last did a refinancing a few years ago, they had many banks interested and very good rates. Second, the equity/valuation of these teams is increasing way beyond the rate of inflation because of dramatic growth in revenue and profits, and the projection that that will occur in the future. The Marlins went from $158 mil in 2002 to $1.2 billion in 2017 with a league worst TV deal, and league bottom attendance (despite very inexpensive tickets). Who would pay that kind of money without figuring a very high probability to make huge profits going forward to cover the investment cost and provide a good return?

    If the Marlins are worth $1.2 billion, what the heck are the Mets worth in the biggest market with a TV network? Even if they have 50% debt, they still have way over $1 billion in equity, and essentially have to be making strong profits for these type of valuations. It doesn’t require a Dodger or Yankee-type payroll commitment, but cutting from a mid-level commitment in 2017 (which wound up lower after trades) and asking fans to pay the same or in some cases higher prices is simply outrageous and indefensible unless they find a way to significantly improve the team on the cheap. I will wait and see, but their track record doesn’t exactly build a high level of confidence. I will give credit for the manager hire and the purchase of a closer AAA team, both positives, but they need to continue the momentum with a respectable payroll commitment that allows the GM to make the necessary upgrades for a quality opening day product.

    • December 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

      The Mets are already over-leveraged and have to keep refinancing (and more importantly, extending) the money they already owe. They already refinanced in 2013 and 2015. And those are just the ones I know of – certainly could have been others.

      They have a tremendously valuable asset, which they no longer own full interest in, whether you’re talking about the Mets or SNY. They also have staggering amounts that they owe in loans.

      The Wilpons swung for the fences with sinking all of the money they did into Citi Field. We can argue if that was a good or bad decision but the reality is that right now that choice – along with other factors – has severely restricted their liquidity. At some undetermined point in the future when they don’t have $700 million in loans outstanding, and due to be paid off in 2-4 years – then maybe they can return to having a top five payroll.

      But it’s not the reality we live in today.

  15. Chris F
    December 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    We see the effects of building an empire on make believe money as opposed to actually having money. The Mets are owned by a mirage. And uncle Bud did all he could to preserve that. This has little to do with the stadium because they would have spent near that much saving Shea and preparing it for 40 more years of service. The main thing is leveraged money on top of a ponzi scheme. The real Mets way.

    As result, the team is a small market operation. They lived big when Madoff was stealing money, and giving to his buddies. Add Alderson failing to do a decent job securing talent for the future and major league ready talent and “poof” just like that, the Yankees are instantly the big fish in NY again. Hey did you hear, the Yankees are getting Stanton? Yeah, the magic flash in the pan for 2015, fueled by an amazing 6 week run and Jonathan Papelbon, is as much in the rear view window as the Miracle of ’69.

    • December 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      I agree with your first sentence.

      I don’t believe it would have cost half the amount the new stadium did and regardless of what the final cost was, they wouldn’t have needed to do it all at once and paid all of the money immediately. And unless they were going to play in another stadium like the Yankees did back in the 1970s – they couldn’t have done it all at once.

      • MattyMets
        December 9, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        From a fan’s perspective, roster payroll should be in line with ticket/parking/ concession/merch prices. We’re paying NY prices for a Milwaukee payroll.

        • MattyMets
          December 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

          Tampa Bay Rays have among the lowest payrolls but they have cheap tickets and free parking.

        • December 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm

          From a fan’s perspective who has never taken ECON 101

          Fixed that for you

      • Chris F
        December 9, 2017 at 6:19 pm

        From the Trib:
        The Wrigley Field development, which includes upgrades to the ballpark and the addition of a new plaza, office and retail space, and a hotel, is expected to cost $850 million. The redevelopment won’t be completed until at least 2019, Culloton said.

        So, although the Mets might not have done all of that, the cost of a full Shea reno would easily been more that 600M$. In any event, I just dont see it having any serious bearing on payroll because winning is not “in the wilpon’s blood”.

        • December 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm

          Thanks for this info.

          I think the Wilpons would have loved retail space and a hotel. Just not sure how realistic that would have been at Shea. Also, I think that Wrigley, being a historic landmark and being locked into a neighborhood, had challenges (read: costs) that wouldn’t have applied to Shea.

  16. Steevy
    December 9, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Meanwhile the rich get richer as the Yankees get Stanton…

    • MattyMets
      December 9, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      And with it, immediate speculation that the Mets might be interested in Starlin Castro. No thank you. Makes more than Gordon and is a below average defender. Can hit, but doesn’t draw walks. We can do better. He’a an upgrade over what we have but unless they pick up half his salary I wouldn’t do it.

      • TexasGusCC
        December 10, 2017 at 1:33 am

        ^
        +1

      • TJ
        December 10, 2017 at 1:37 pm

        +1

  17. MattyMets
    December 10, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Sandy’s comments today lead me to believe the Wilpons are looking to cut or maintain payroll, not add $30 million.

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