John Harper of the Daily News asked a Mets source if Jon Niese would be enough to land Royals Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon. I was stunned to see the response he got.
But would they [the Mets] be better off trading Jonathon Niese than Dickey? As a 26-year-old lefthander who is under team control at $5 million-a-year for six more seasons, including two option years, Niese may have more trade value than Dickey, especially for small-market clubs.
When I asked one Mets person if he thought Niese would be enough to fetch the Royals’ Alex Gordon, a Gold Glove left fielder who led the majors with 51 doubles last season, he said he had no doubt.
“But I wouldn’t do it,” he said. “I’d rather keep the young arms and buy the bats (when the Mets have money to spend next winter).”
Wow. Can you imagine that?
Lets talk about Gordon’s defense first. There’s no doubt he is the best left fielder in the game. Gordon had 24 runs saved in 2012 to lead the majors, the next best left fielder had just nine runs saved. After setting a team record with 20 assists in 2011, Gordon had 17 outfield assists this past season.
As for Gordon’s offense, what’s not to like about a 294/.368/.455 slash with a major league leading 51 doubles, 5 triples, 14 home runs and 72 RBI in 642 at-bats?
If you want to look at this from a sabermetric point of view, Gordon posted a 125 OPS+ and he had a 6.2 WAR compared to a 3.1 for Jon Niese.
Look, I love Jon Niese. But when you consider the morbid state of the Mets outfield both at the major and minor league level, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what a sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in. The same cannot be said for our pitching which has become a strength for the team.
Now there’s absolutely no shred of evidence that the Mets and Royals ever discussed such a swap, it was just a good reporter trying to get a good feel from a Mets source about their current mindset.
But in doing so, John Harper uncovered just how out of touch this Mets front office is regarding the value of their players versus the value of another organization’s players.
The Mets are completely over-valuing Niese’s potential, while under-valuing a young, productive outfielder with huge upside, that they so desperately need. That’s a critical flaw in my opinion. If this question by Harper was their GM SAT exam, they just failed. How many real instances of things like this have the Mets actually bobbled in the last two years? Remember Jon Heyman during last year’s Winter Meetings tweeting that other GM’s would rather not talk to the Mets because they have unrealistic expectations?
In July Alderson refused to trade utility outfielder Scott Hairston because he was holding out for team’s top prospect. But in the same breath he referred to what other teams wanted for their players as “too pricey”.
This front office also has a bad habit of not shopping around. I couldn’t believe the story Alderson told of how the K-Rod trade took about 10 minutes to consummate from beginning to end, and that it all took place over a cellphone call during a game and at the end of it K-Rod was gone. Or that the Angel Pagan trade went down right after he checked into his hotel room and learned that Jose Reyes had just signed with the Marlins. About an hour later Pagan was an ex-Met.
I’ve said this time and time again, but I feel strongly that the game has passed Sandy Alderson by. But there’s nothing wrong with that because you can say the same thing about 4-5 other Dinosaur Class GMs. The problem with Alderson though is that the rest of his entourage is comprised of his “Mini-Me’s”. Two assistants that he personally molded to think, walk and talk just like him. Both of whom were run out of town in their only jobs as General Managers. This is the scary part. It truly is a three-headed monster in the front office — and they all share the same brain.