Yesterday about a dozen of us were privileged to participate in a conference call with general manager Sandy Alderson.
As is usually the case with these types of calls, you learn some new things and gain some new insights into what the front office is thinking and what some of their short and long term plans are.
There were a lot of great questions asked that covered a variety of topics and it was wonderful to participate in something with so many other passionate Mets bloggers like myself. Michael G. Baron of MetsBlog and Eric Simon of Amazin Avenue both went through great lengths to transcribe the call minus all the feedback and background noise. I’ll use parts of their work in a few other short posts today and tomorrow for portions of the conference call that I wanted to focus more deeply on.
Additionally, Kerel Cooper of On The Black already has a video blog up recapping his question to Sandy Alderson as well as a few other question. It’s definitely a good listen, so if you have five minutes, go here.
Let me give you quick recap of some of Sandy Alderson’s responses and share some brief thoughts as well. As I mentioned, I will delve into some of these points more deeply all day today and tomorrow as there is a lot to cover.
Fan Sentiment: Not surprisingly, fan sentiment played a big role in releasing with Luis Castillo who wasn’t having a bad spring. Alderson weighed Castillo’s performance against fan sentiment and in the end decided that there was little chance Castillo could regain the fans’ approval no matter how good he was hitting in camp, so the decision was made to cut him. In the case of Oliver Perez, what the fans thought never came up because his performance level was simply too bad to overlook.
Adding More Payroll: My question was directed at adding more payroll throughout the season to improve the team if it found itself in the hunt for a playoff spot this season, particularly at the trade deadline when some high priced players who could help, become available. Alderson said that if we are in the hunt, that the money will be there to add a player. He reminded us that at the deadline most of the higher priced players only have a couple of months left which means you’re picking up a third to a half of a player’s salary. He told us that he has already had internal discussions about this and that the team will have no problem adding players to bolster a run for the postseason.
Farm System Rankings: Alderson doesn’t really care what people outside the organization think about our minor league system and prefers to rely on his own assessments rather than opinions from those out of the loop. He feels the system is better than the way it is being portrayed. (I agree.)
Transparency With Fans: Sandy Alderson said that honesty is the best policy and feels the need to be as direct and candid as possible with the fans.
Spring Roster Decisions: Although spring training performance is looked at and considered, the overall body of previous work plays heavily in deciding who makes the team and who doesn’t. In the case of someone like Brad Emaus, he had a good body of work in the minors already and they wanted to see that potential played out this spring.
Jason Bay’s Power: He feels Bay is hitting good although mostly singles and he likes his approach. He said he was not worried about his power and expects it will come eventually, but his top priority is Bay’s OBP first and foremost.
Re-Signing Jose Reyes: “If Jose Reyes had a .400 OBP, this wouldn’t even be debatable.” That says a lot right there and it appears this will all come down to how well Reyes can get on base and not how many bases he can steal. If Reyes does achieve the standards he is looking for, they will re-sign him. “Even there were a somewhat reduced payroll, which I’m not saying there will be, but even if there were there would be room to sign Jose Reyes.”
What Is Backup Plan For Carlos Beltran: “I think there are a number of candidates to play out there. My guess is you’d end up with some sort of platoon situation among Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, and maybe Nick Evans, even Lucas Duda could be in that mix. But at this point, we haven’t given up on the notion that Carlos could be ready for Opening Day.”
Brad Emaus Sticking: “If he were not a Rule 5 draftee, the decision wouldn’t have the immediacy that it does. If we don’t keep him we have to give him back. What we’re seeing over the last two or three days is a lot of Rule 5 picks being offered back. I would say there’s a very good possibility we’ll keep both of our Rule 5 picks. So Rule 5 status does come into play, absolutely.”
Read the full transcript here.
More on all of this later.