You can call him thrifty. You can call him a bargain hunter. You can call him every mean name under the sun, if you choose to do so. But one thing you absolutely can’t call Sandy Alderson is trigger shy. Several times this offseason, Alderson has pulled the trigger on several free agent signings. Were any of the signings with any of the major free agents? It depends on how you classify guys like Jay Bruce, who will undoubtedly have an impact this season. The two latest signings of Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas have showed that if Alderson has a deal on the table, he’ll take it.
Maybe it was his Marine Corps training that influenced this state of mind for Alderson. After all, they train some of the most fearsome warriors known to man. He has been active ever since he took on the general manager role with the Mets in 2010. His first big move, which now looks like a gamble that the team lost money on, was to sign David Wright to a 7 year contract worth $138 million. He convinced Wright to stay because of the stash of young pitchers in the pipeline. This stash has now become a reality, as the very pitchers he was talking about now make up most of the rotation for the Mets.
Alderson also was the one who acquired the most exciting Mets prospect that has come up in a long time. Coming off a Cy Young season, R.A. Dickey seamed to be in elite status for starting pitchers. This of course, made no sense for the Mets to carry a guy like this on their squad moving into 2013. So, they traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays, alongside Josh Thole, for blue chip prospect Travis d’Arnaud and a secondary piece named Noah Syndergaard.
Of course, we now know that Syndergaard was the main victory of that trade. Even when the Mets were on the verge of something special in 2015, Alderson pulled the trigger and acquired not only Yoenis Cespedes, but also Tyler Clippard for bullpen help. Of course for Cespedes they had to give up Michael Fulmer, but such is the price for elite talent.
In terms of free agency, Alderson has been one to go out and grab the superstar of the free agent class. Some of his signings include Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, and Asdrubal Cabrera. Alderson has taken advantage of this year’s dilapidated free agent class however, and has found real bargains with some players who bring value to the table. He brought Bruce back, who hit 29 home runs in 103 games for the Mets last season. He also added Anthony Swarzak, who will bring solid depth to the bullpen. But perhaps his two most intriguing signings are Frazier and Vargas.
In terms of paying low price for players, he hit the nail on the head with these two signings. He brought Frasier in for $8.5 million a season, while he recently signed Vargas for $8 million. Both of these players are interesting to look at. They both had seasons where they were strong in one half, and weak in the other. But they were each signed for one individual reason. Vargas, who lead the American league in wins, was signed for the amount of innings he’ll pitch, and Frazier was signed for his home runs and defense.
Whether or not you agree or like Alderson’s moves is completely up to your personal opinion. You can’t possibly argue however, especially this offseason, that Alderson is trigger shy.