Sandy Alderson Admits Outfield Isn’t Ideal, No More External Options, Explains Hairston/Upton

An article by posted on February 13, 2013

Updated by HoJo at 4:45 PM

Sandy Alderson was a guest of Mike Francesa where he said a few things regarding his outfield strategy this offseason.

First, regarding Scott Hairston he felt there were other possibilities (trade and free agent) he was considering and that he was blindsided when Hairston signed with the Cubs and then one day later Justin Upton was traded to the Braves. He tried to hint he was working with the D’Backs for Upton without having to give up Harvey or Wheeler, and that if the Upton trade had happened first he would have signed Hairston.

“Unfortunately, Hairston signed the night before Upton was traded.  Had it happened the other way around, we might have been back in on Scott.  But if we had made a trade like that, we couldn’t guarantee him the playing time that he was looking for.”

As for the outfield moving forward, Alderson said:

  • All external outfield options have been exhausted. Other possibilities may open up as spring training develops, but right now he’s moving ahead with what he has.
  • The Mets have an outfield of unproven players. Maybe one or more of them will step up and take advantage of that opportunity. Wishes he had a little more experience or even one real major league talent on paper.
  • There’s nothing that can be done now, so we might as well just move ahead. Duda is the left fielder, Nieuwenhuis and Cowgill will be in center, and likely Baxter in right. We’ll probably see Matt Den Dekker at some point.

“I’m a little frustrated that we didn’t get that piece that would bridge us from where we are to where we think we’re gonna be.  Somebody who would have helped is in 2013 as well as ’14 and ’15. As I’ve said, I don’t think we’re that far away.  And with a couple of pieces in the outfield and what else we have coming up, I don’t think we’re that far away.  When you miss out on one (Bourn/Upton) like that, or come close on one, it’s a little bit frustrating.”

Very, very low key interview compared to the passionate and positive message from a few months ago. At least where the outfield was concerned.

Original Post 9:45 AM

Here are some quotes from Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter who now know they have their work cut out for them this season.

But before that, here’s what the architect of the New York Mets outfield, Sandy Alderson, had to say. ”I’m excited to see what we have. I’m excited to see what those outfielders can provide us.”

lucas duda

Left Field – Lucas Duda

2012: .239/.329/.389, -1.4 WAR

“You want me to go yell at Sandy? That’s how it is. He’s right. There is no outfield.”

“It’s time to help the team anyway I can. That’s what I’m here for. I’ve been in the big leagues for a little bit now so I know what to expect and I think experience is a big factor. I think I’ll build on that. People can say what they want about our outfield. We’re just going to continue to work hard.

kirk nieuwenhuis

Center Field – Kirk Nieuwenhuis

2012: .252/.315/.376, 0.0 WAR

“I’ve spent this offseason dwelling mentally on what I can do better as a player and how, as an outfielder, we can become better. The way last season ended was frustrating.”

“We know what we’re capable of doing and we’re excited for the season. All that stuff that people talk about, all that stuff is just completely out of our control. For us to dwell on that and think about that would be completely detrimental to our play on the field.”

mike-baxter-mets

Right Field – Mike Baxter

2012: .263/.365/.413, 0.3 WAR

“I’d like to do a lot more with my career than just make a catch. We’ve just got a good, scrappy, hungry group of guys. Baseball’s a game you really can’t count anybody out. Knowing the group we have here, it’s just a really resilient and hungry group that is going to go out and not be too fazed by what’s going on publicly.”

“We might not have the biggest names in the outfield, but we have hungry guys out there who are excited and prepared for this opportunity.”

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Duda, Nieuwenhuis and Baxter will get the lion’s share of playing time for the Mets in 2013. Righthanded bench options include Collin Cowgill (.269/.336/.317, 0.3 WAR) and Andrew Brown (.232/.302/.429, -.01 WAR) who both will play mostly when a southpaw is on the mound and to spell Nieuwenhuis and Baxter.

If one of them should someone pull up lame or prove ineffective, the Mets could turn to Jordany Valdespin or possibly promote Matt Den Dekker. But let’s be honest here, this situation is obviously less than ideal. Not one of these players has ever had a full major league season in their career. If this was the plan all along, it wasn’t a very good one.

I’m not buying the excuse that the appeal to protect the pick would have taken as long as three weeks. If they were genuinely interested in signing a Type-A free agent, why didn’t they file the appeal three months ago, or two months ago, or one month ago? Why didn’t they raise a fuss the second they knew their pick would be unprotected?

Let’s call this what it is, a big-time fail.

It’s too bad, because I actually have great expectations for the starting pitching, the bullpen and the catching this year as readers of this site know. It sucks that we couldn’t bring in one capable everyday outfielder to compliment that. It would have been nice.

It also sucks for the rest of the team. This will put more pressure on everyone to ramp up their performances to compensate for the deficiency in the outfield and that’s totally unfair to all of them.

I know these guys will bust their behinds out there this season and give the team their best efforts. They are a terrific bunch of likable guys with great character and a burning desire to succeed. But the thing of it is, they had those same qualities last year too.

I’ll get over this by the end of the day, and you should too. We still have a lot of bright spots on the team and despite the losses of R.A. Dickey and Scott Hairston, there’s still a lot to be excited about, and it should be a fun season to watch.

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