Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is in a really tough spot right now. What does he do with the trade deadline approaching? Does he become a buyer or seller? Does he deveiate from his plan for the future because the team is having success right now?
For all of the optimism prior to the season about this team being a .500 club, and maybe winning 85 games, did anyone really expect it to happen? Spring Training always breeds hope, and at this beginning of this season I had hope. But as Mets fans we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and two huge ones did when Ike and David went down. If this team was “maybe” a .500 team with them, they were definitely not close to one without them, right? Well you have all seen the answer, and I attribute this to the new regime and their new attitude. Terry has done a great job with this team and instilled a winning attitude and accountability. But because of the team’s success, Sandy is finding himself in a precarious situation to say the least. Do you sell players such as Beltran, Krod and Izzy, or do you keep the train rolling and add on instead? Sandy has choices and all of them have negative and positive advantages.
With the recent rumors of trades involving Krod, Byrdak and Izzy, Sandy is making it clear that while we are in contention he still does not want to mortgage the future for a potential playoff push. Guys like Izzy and Byrdak are replaceable, and could bring something good back from a team who desperately needs bullpen help for their playoff push. Krod is the killer, because we have nobody who can get the job consistently enough at the end of games. But, regardless of what he means to this season, his hit on next season is so great that if he can go, he should. We will have to find a way to get by with Parnell and Beato among others.
Trading Beltran is much more difficult because he has been the anchor in the middle of the lineup all season. If you trade him away you are essentially giving up on the season. But, if you keep him you won’t get anything for him in the off season since a clause in his contract prohibits us from offering him arbitration.
The other side has us keeping Beltran and trying to make a push for the playoffs. In that case, you would not get anything for him in terms of players back. But, if you continue to stay in the race, you continue to put Fannies in the seats and money in the Wilpon’s pockets. Full stadiums could potentially be more valuable than a couple of mid level prospects. All the talk about lower payrolls was a direct result of our poor play and lack of meaningful baseball late into the season in recent years. The poor play led to a drop in attendance, and fans waiting longer than usual to buy into the team when they were playing well. Right now it looks like this team is getting stronger, and with returns of Wright and Santana around the corner, things look even brighter. If this team keeps winning, people will continue to buy in and come out to support them.
If you told me I had to make a choice today, I would probably decide to be a partial seller. I would trade guys like Izzy and Byrdak because they are valuable commodities this time of year, and their age makes them not a part of the future. I would try my best to trade Krod and see what we have in Parnell and Beato at the end of games. I would also try to trade either Pelfrey or Capuano to open a spot for Santana. Either one would could slot in easily as a number 3 or 4 starter on a team in a race, and bring something good back. You have to take someone out of the rotation to give Santana the ball, so instead of wasting them in the bullpen, just trade them and get something. Capuano is not gonna be here next year, and it’s time for Pelfrey to move somewhere else.
At the beginning of the season I wanted to be optimistic. The predictions of us being a decent team were all projections based on a healthy team. If Collins can get this out of the Buffalo Soldiers, what can he do with a healthy roster? It’s anybody’s guess what Sandy is going to do, but there is no doubt that he is in a very tough spot.
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