There was little confidence for Sandy Alderson going into the offseason. The Mets had spent only $8.5 million the last offseason, so going over that total this time around was inevitable; but just how far would they go?
The first issue that was addressed was the outfield problem. First by signing 30-year old Chris Young to a 1-year, $7 million deal, he showed that he was looking for short-term improvement at little cost, reaching into the heavily stocked outfield FA market and pulling out a guy who could offer better help on defense than on offense; which, when you think about it, is just as prominent an issue as any other. He clearly was not intending to have Young be a full time starter, so Sandy sought out for somebody who could be.
Giving fans little time to over-analyze and criticize, the Curtis Granderson signing did much to build a foundation under Sandy’s claim of promising to spend this offseason, by giving him a 4-year deal worth $60 million.
Sandy clearly recognized the situation and was ready to break out of his shell to take a gamble on a great defender and a solid hitter, even if he needed a little push to do so. The big question addresses how well his power will translate to Citi Field. This is a fair and arguable concern, but in terms of the overall potential Granderson has, the pros greatly outweighed the cons of the power problem.
The long-term commitment communicates that the Mets are not only sending out messages that they plan to gain relevancy, but that they plan to gain relevancy for a good chunk of seasons to come.
The most recent big name Sandy went to is 40-year old Bartolo Colon, signing him to a 2 year, $20 million deal. This move has received mixed emotions, as many believe that Colon is too old and too far past his prime (and too fat, as I’ve actually seen some people say) to be a positive impact; much less be deserving of two years and 20 million. However, put several things into consideration. With the kind of market there is right now, it would be virtually impossible to sign a guy like Colon to just a one-year deal (heck, Phil Hughes got three years!).
Of course Colon’s contract is a big inflated, but that is just how the market is going right now. Compared to the deals some other pitchers got, this deal is relatively fair. In addition, it’s obvious the Mets are not looking for a young stud like Price; they are merely looking to fill the void that Harvey is temporarily leaving behind. Last year, he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts. The previous year, he went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts. Since 2009, his ERA has been steadily declining. This is exactly what the Mets are looking for, hoping to catch Colon in the midst of a strong finish to a nice career.
Veteran help is not only beneficial to the depth of the rotation itself, but it is vastly important in the affairs that take place off the field. It is no secret that a lot of pressure is mounted on the young pitchers like Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, and veteran presence can leave a huge impact on relatively young pitchers eager to meet expectations. It was made known that vets like David Wright and Marlon Byrd had a great impact on team chemistry in 2013; and with the addition of many new people and call-ups sure to be made, veterans like Colon could not only offer the young guys pitching help, but help to feel comfortable as well. The quicker those nerves can be rid, the better.
Overall, I am rather impressed with the job Sandy has done. With the excruciatingly ridiculous FA market and the little money he has been asked to deal with, he has made wise choices—so far. In no way does this make him the best GM ever, nor does this give him a free pass from criticism. But I think it is wise to take a step back, see how the roster has improved, and hit the backspace button on that frustrated, all-caps message you’ve been planning to tweet him. Until the 2014 season pans out, this offseason is well on its way to being a reasonably successful one.