What Is Sandy Alderson Watching?
Most of us didn’t expect the Mets to be active at the trade deadline, a thought emphasized by a stretch in which they lost 11 of 13 games. But, to hear GM Sandy Alderson say he opted not to trade Scott Hairston, or anybody else for that matter, by saying he hadn’t given up on the season was a bit too much for me.
“We haven’t given up on the season. We didn’t move players off the team for a reason. We think we have lots of good baseball in front of us, and Scott can be part of that.”
Of course, the Mets could have been more a part of things had they not waited for their collapse, which somewhat slowed in Arizona with the split, but in reality did it really? Since hitting the West Coast time zone, the Mets are 3-3, hardly a stretch to sound the trumpets.
When asked on a conference call why the Mets didn’t act sooner, Alderson said: “There really wasn’t availability. If you’re talking about an impact reliever at the end of the game, and you go back to right after the All-Star break, the market really had not fully formed. … Would a reliever of some renown, some ability, have made a difference? It’s possible.”
“But, about the same time that it would have been nice to get a reliever, our starting pitching went south and we weren’t scoring quite as many runs as we had. So there was a period of time until very recently that we had a number of problems that could have been addressed. The bullpen was just one of those.”
The demise of the starting pitching and offense is true, but to say there was nothing available isn’t accurate, at lease not on the surface. Not all the deals were made at the deadline. The Dodgers and Yankees made acquisitions a week ago. The fact is, and Alderson knows this, that there are few untouchables.
It is understandable the Mets didn’t want to purge their farm system, but not all deals would have meant trading Matt Harvey and/or Zach Wheeler. And, if Alderson really believes the Mets are still in it, then why didn’t they act in the last few days? Jonathan Broxton (to Cincinnati), Wandy Rodriguez (to Pittsburgh) and Francisco Liriano (to the White Sox) were done recently.
The fact is the Mets didn’t want to part with anyone in their farm system – and, it better turn out great after this – and/or don’t really believe they are in it. All acceptable explanations. But, please don’t tell us you’re not giving up on the season and then not do anything. There’s no way, barring a long-shot miracle the Mets can win anything this year with their present roster.
If Alderson really believed there is a chance he should have done something. By not doing so, he let down all those fans who were on the Mets’ bandwagon in the first half, and all those who bought tickets for games in the second half.
Thoughts from Joe D.
John, you seem a little shocked by this. Why? I’m not. Yesterday’s news was exactly what I’ve speculated would happen since mid-July. My posts saying as much were littered with comments that ranged from “It’s too early” (it’s never too early to bolster a team that was leading the wild card standings), to “other teams weren’t making deals either” (which was totally untrue), to “how do you know Sandy’s not working the phones right now” (Umm, okay, if you say so).
If Alderson really has visions of the Mets making the post season now, and was able to get on the phone to say “we’re not dead yet”, and then go after Adam Rubin who challenged that assertion, he must have become a full-fledged member of the CORE in the last 24 hours.
Maybe he really believes this stuff he says, like during the All Star break when he told Steve Serby of the NY Post, that getting Jason Bay back would be “the biggest addition we could hope to get” before the trade deadline. When I later wrote that his quote meant nobody is coming before the trade deadline, I was told by one of our readers that I was “reading too much into his comment.” Was I?
Maybe he was being totally straight up with us when he said “we’re serious lookers right now.” Although when I see or hear the words “serious lookers” I’m thinking more like Kate Beckinsale, Keira Knightly and Natalie Portman.
The problem could be that he’s simply ill-equipped to navigate through this new era of baseball which is filled with much more younger and more progressive GMs than he is. The eighties, when Alderson was in his heyday, seem like a hundred years ago. The eighties is what I listen to on the oldies station on my car stereo.
How else can you explain Sandy’s reasoning when he admits during yesterday’s conference call that a Scott Hairston is the equivalent to a Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey? That he was looking to get another team’s Top 3 propsect for him, but no team was willing to go there? Is there another GM who holds a utility outfielder in such high esteem? Maybe Tim Byrdak is still here because Alderson seems to frown upon other team’s mid-level prospects while putting his own B-prospects into the “untouchable” category. How can you achieve any deal with a mindset like that?
I think Sandy Alderson is a little out of his element these days. It’s the same feeling I used to get when Jerry Manuel was managing (or attempting to manage) and how the manager in the other dugout always seemed to best him.
I could be wrong, but that’s the feeling I get.
So to answer your question, John, what is Sandy Alderson watching? All I can say is that it’s not the same thing other GMs are watching.
What happens when 2014 finally gets here and we’re no closer to being a viable contender than we are today? What’s the plan after that?
Hey, we’ve waited two years already, and 2013 will be almost over a year from now and then the Mets Rapture is supposed to arrive in the Spring of 2014. We’ll see about that.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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