My opinion is that it’s a good thing that Steve Cohen brought Sandy Alderson back to the Mets. And while it’s frustrating that the Mets haven’t been able to assemble the front office they were hoping for, to me it’s a good thing that Alderson will be more heavily involved in baseball decisions. He’s smart and disciplined, which are two pretty good traits to have. We can feel pretty safe that he won’t get snookered on a deal.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is just wonderful. No one has a monopoly on truth or correct decisions. If you gave me an exclusive interview with Alderson, here are some of the things that would come up in that discussion:

1. In an environment where you gave Sam McWilliams, who’s never pitched in the majors and had an 8.18 ERA in Triple-A, $750,000 and you tendered an offer to Robert Gsellman (MLBTR estimates it to cost around $1.4 million) despite a 5.03 ERA the past four years and you signed Steven Matz to a $5.2 million deal after a 4.83 ERA the past four years, including an ERA over 9 last season, why did you cut loose Chasen Shreve after a season where he had an ERA a half of a run better than league average (and that was blown up by two outings at the end of the season, he had a 1.99 ERA before those) and his MLBTR estimate was only $1.1 million? Do you expect to add five relievers better than Shreve to make his lack of available options, like Gsellman has, to make a difference? Or do you still believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Gsellman can make it as a SP?

2. In your introductory press conference, you indicated that Luis Rojas would be back as the team’s manager. You acknowledged that there were tactical errors but indicated that these were relatively easy to fix. Why is it more important to be good with the press than it is to be good in the dugout? You can never win a game in the clubhouse or in front of a microphone that you lost on the field. And if it’s so easy to fix those dugout errors – what are you doing to help Rojas improve?

3. Reporting yesterday had the Mets deep in discussions with James McCann to be the team’s new catcher. What made you pick McCann over J.T. Realmuto? What’s the level of concern with McCann’s shorter track level of success, especially as compared to Realmuto? Given that McCann has just two years of good production – and one of those came last year in a shortened season when he split time behind the plate with Yasmani Grandal – is he a good bet to hold up over the proposed four-year deal as a full-time backstop?

4. Whether it’s because of the players or management, the Mets have had a relatively good clubhouse the last decade. It hasn’t been perfect but it seems the few incidents that have come to light have not lingered. On top of that, the players from last year’s team seem especially to like one another. With those thoughts in mind, do you have any worries about how the team will embrace Marcus Stroman after he opted out last season once he had enough service time to qualify for free agency? And does this have any influence on whether to add Trevor Bauer, who has certainly rubbed some former teammates the wrong way?

5. Given your history as a former Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations for MLB, your perspective on big picture MLB items seems more important than the typical President of a club. What were your opinions on the big rule changes that happened – planned or otherwise – in 2020? Do you favor the NL adopting the DH? Where do you stand on expanded rosters going forward? Was the three-batter minimum rule good for the game?

6. To me the biggest issue facing the game is the inconsistency of how balls and strikes are called from game to game and inning to inning. My opinion is that umpires are doing a better job than ever calling strikes – it’s just that it’s not a job that humans can excel at in the long haul. Given how we have replay in the game already, how close are we to having an automated strike zone? Is this something that the Mets are going to push for to happen sooner rather than later?

7. In your first go-round with the Mets, you had to trade away established players and let stars leave via free agency. At the same time, it never seemed like a full-fledged tank job, since you never had the luxury of any – much less multiple – top-five picks in the draft. And you were able to build a team that made it to the World Series. While it’s nothing under consideration for the Mets now, what are your thoughts on tanking? Is it something that MLB needs to address in some way to preserve the sanctity of the game?

8. In your first tenure with the Mets, the conventional wisdom was that you believed in power and plate discipline over defense. But it seemed like the belief in plate discipline was given lip service but in actuality was maybe just a shade more important than defense. It certainly was a distant second to power. What are your plans to put plate discipline and defense on equal footing with power in team construction going forward?

9. With the new minor league structure, the Mets have three farm clubs in the state of New York and their fourth in Florida. This makes sense on a couple of different levels. It’s certainly nice to have the top farm club close to home. It’s good PR/politics to have so many affiliates in your home state. But are there any worries about not growing the brand? There used to be a lot of Mets fans in Virginia because of the long affiliation with Tidewater/Norfolk. That type of fan acquisition doesn’t seem possible any more. What were the main pros for keeping the affiliation with Binghamton rather than seeking a better facility elsewhere which would also serve to expand the future fan base geographically?

10. Your original role with the team under Cohen was going to be significantly different than circumstances have made it be here in late 2020. What concrete things were you going to be involved in to build the Mets’ organization? Is there any thought to bringing in people from other sports in newly-created roles, like what the Cleveland Browns did when they hired Paul DePodesta as their chief strategy officer? Do you think there’s value to bringing in executives specifically from other professional sports leagues rather than just any run of the mill Fortune 500 business?

*****

My expectation is that Alderson would have solid answers to most, if not all, of these questions. Still, it would be interesting to hear him defend or expound on his positions. You might not agree with him but your disagreement probably would be more about overall philosophy rather than concerns of carelessness in the execution of his vision. It’s nice to have an adult back in the room.

16 comments on “A list of 10 questions for Sandy Alderson

  • Barry

    Terrific post/article. Almost exactly what I would ask! LOL
    Is there any way to get this to Alderson?

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks Barry!

      Friend of the site Mack Ade is convinced that the Mets’ front office is aware of what’s written in the blogs. Now, maybe that’s just what’s at SNY and Amazin’ Avenue. But I’d like to think that what’s written here gets their attention every now and then. A boy can dream…

  • Mike W

    Great questions Brian.

    I am getting a little antsy to start getting the good free agents signed. Hope Alderson can close the deal.

  • MattyMets

    One more. “Sandy, if you had been GM instead of BVW these past two years, what would you have done differently?”

    • Mike W

      This is a great question. I bet he would not have made the Cano trade. I bet that they would have made Wheeler a low ball offer and I bet they would have held off extending deGrom. Also may have extended Conforto on a discount.

  • TJ

    Sandy, will you hire me for the GM spot? I have no industry experience, but a long comment history on Mets360.

  • Stephen

    Rehiring Alderson was a bad move. Rehiring him is like breaking up with a girlfriend and then reconciling. After a short period of time, you remember why you broke up in the first place.

    • Name

      Glad i’m not the only one.

      Granted, no one is as bad as Brodie, but Alderson is still not good.

      My question – Do you regret hiring Callaway and would you have fired him after 2018?

  • John From Albany

    Love the defense question. Wish the beat writers asked anything close to this.

    • Remember1969

      I agree. I also group team speed and baserunning with that . . good fundamental baseball.

    • Mike W

      Brian has fantastic insight and great thought process. He comes up with so many compelling in depth views that I do not see anywhere else.

      I wish we could get him a channel to Cohen. Or maybe we should set up a Mets 360 twitter account and try to connect to him that way.

      • Brian Joura

        Thanks Mike!

        There actually is a Mets360 twitter account but it’s mostly just a link dump. I generally avoid that place because in my opinion the good is greatly outweighed by the bad.

      • Bob P

        I agree Mike. Of all of the Mets related sites and blogs out there Mets360 has the most well thought out material coming from Brian, the other writers and the commenters. No other sites have the consistent research and facts to provide along with someone’s opinion like there is here. Comments on other blogs tend to get confrontational and downright ridiculous while here there is discussion and healthy debate. I get the sense that if the Mets front office read this site each day there would be things that may affect their thinking in a positive way.

        Mets360 reminds me more of a local sports bar that has a lot of well educated friendly regulars and that is also welcoming to newcomers. I don’t post comments every day but I do read Mets360 every day (as do many of us). It’s the most visited website for me and that’s not just counting Mets sites. It’s the top for all sites for me.

  • TJ

    Mike,
    Easy now. I want that GM job myself. Don’t be throwing Brian into the mix, he’s too much competition. lol.

  • José

    I’d say questions 2 and 3 are most salient. To wit:

    2. How do you “fix” a manager’s tactical proclivities? Plug Rojas into OOTP 21, or the like?

    3. Why in the hell would the Mets be going after McCann instead of Realmuto? Are the savings certain to be that significant, or would Realmuto really turn down the big $s because he allegedly dislikes NYC?

    • Bob P

      Yes the savings will be that significant and the commitment will be shorter.

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