October 28, 2010 the Mets’ General Manager search came to an end. With the franchise in deep financial trouble with a $1billion lawsuit pending, the Mets (and probably MLB) reached out and hired Sandy Alderson.
For some of us that was a good day. Alderson whether we want to admit it or not is very highly regarded in Major League Baseball.
I’m a supporter of Sandy Alderson because it’s in my best interest as a fan to support him and hope he does a good job.
Not everybody is perfect though. As we look ahead to 2013, I want to take a look at 5 things the Mets under Alderson’s watch did that perhaps hurt the franchise more than helped it.
#1 Jose Reyes
This situation was handled poorly by everybody involved. However, the buck has to start and stop with Sandy Alderson. Just because I feel like Reyes wanted to be a Marlin, doesn’t mean Alderson should have let him walk away.
In truth, Alderson should have extended a similar offer to Reyes and made it public. If Reyes wanted to leave (which we will never truly know) then Alderson should have forced Reyes into the position to make that clear. If Marlins President David Samson’s account of the Reyes negotiations are accurate, than Alderson could have done himself and the franchise a lot of good by making an official offer to Reyes forcing him to choose Miami over New York.
“He said ‘I really want to play in Miami as long as you pay me $1 more than anyone else… I really want to make the most money I can,’” Mr. Samson recalled.
Sure, there had to have been talks with Reyes’ reps and I am sure dollar figures were batted around. However, not making the official offer forced Alderson to take a bullet that he could have possibly avoided.
In the end, this move not only cost the Mets a SS but it deeply fractured the relationship Alderson has with a large number of Mets fans.
#2 Saying we are buyers
Sometimes a General Manager can say too much or not enough. I think when Alderson said that the Mets are buyers, it’s conceivable that at the present moment, they were. That doesn’t automatically mean a deal is in the works, it’s just a statement to sum up the most recent discussions.
Where he was wrong was that he lead the fan base to believe they could expect something shiny and new before July 31st. Not many General Manager’s make a statement like that ahead of a trade deadline.
So much of whether you buy/sell/stay depends on how the team is projected to perform based on how well they are currently performing.
I’m not sure what the Mets could have acquired that would have turned things around, but saying the Mets are buyers when things could (and did) drastically change was a huge mistake.
#3 Not signing Nimmo quickly
There was enough heat on the Mets for the draft pick of Brandon Nimmo, to have him not signed almost 2 months after the draft was unacceptable.
I cannot sit here and tell you I know Nimmo was a bad pick. Time will tell with that. I can tell you that Nimmo was not supposed to be picked that high and for the Mets to not be able to lock him up quickly and get him to report to the minors was a big mistake.
For a little while it actually looked like he may not sign to some of us. The embarrassment of that would have haunted the Mets for years.
#4 Misreading the closer market prior to 2012
I think you have to consider the Jose Reyes PR when talking about the signing of Frank Francisco. Any good PR team will tell you that if you get bad press, the best way to move past it is to give the press something else to write about.
The problem was, Alderson who is usually very patient with roster decisions appeared to rush the decision of his closer.
I do not know whether a guy like Joe Nathan, Jon Broxton, or Fernando Rodney would have come to New York – what I do know is that they outperformed Francisco and the Mets paid Francisco more than all 3 of them made.
I don’t think the contract was the problem, I think the player who got the contract was the issue. I think Francisco was maybe the 5th or 6th best closer on the market, but he got the 3rd best deal and so you have to say the Mets whiffed on reading the market.
#5 The gaping hole in the Citi Field outfield
When Sandy Alderson speaks, he has to know that he has an angry fan base listening. I think Alderson gets caught up in being too vague when it comes to the future of the Mets.
The Mets outfield is a problem. You can’t really paint it any other way. It’s not a 1 player problem, it’s a 3 player problem. Lucas Duda was once thought to be a #4 type hitter, now he’s a #7 type hitter. Duda’s entire future with the Mets rests on 2013 in my opinion.
Center field is an issue partially because they had to know Torres was leaving last year so what did they do? They sent a struggling Nieuwenhuis to the minors after July 31st and 24 days later he injures his foot and is shut down for the year.
If Nieuwenhuis was going to be the CF for the near future then he needed to figure things out in the big leagues.
Right field is a total disaster also because they literally have a big question mark in RF. I love watching Baxter play, but there is no chance he is an everyday player.
The rumors are swirling that the Mets could shock us all and sign Michael Bourn. If they do, I hope it’s for 3 years because anything less would make the draft pick not worth losing.
Bourn would bring two tools to the Mets that they are badly missing. Speed and outfield defense.
Bourn won’t magically turn the Mets into front runners, but he will have an impact in the outfield with his range and glove and he will bring a dynamic to the base paths that was missing last year with the loss of Pagan & Reyes.
Signing Bourn doesn’t solve the issues in RF just because they temporarily solve CF. Just like the Mets needed to get creative to find a new catcher – the clock is ticking on fixing the outfield.
History is going to be the great decider on whether or not Alderson’s regime was a success or failure.