The Mets offseason is over, which is great news for anyone itching to finally turn off their “Stephen Drew” Google alerts for good. The team will likely start the 2014 season as currently constructed, so it’s time to look back and grade GM Sandy Alderson’s work.
Heading into the winter, the shopping list was a long one. The Mets needed two outfielders, resolved situations at shortstop and first base, a starting pitcher or two and a revamped bullpen. Let’s see how Alderson did…
Last season the Mets outfield featured immortals like Rick Ankiel, Andrew Brown and Collin Cowgill, so needless to say upgrading the position was Alderson’s biggest priority. In Curtis Granderson and Chris Young he found solid additions that will hit for low averages, but will play good defense and should provide some much needed power. Getting 45-50 combined homeruns from the two of them shouldn’t be a stretch, and Granderson will finally give David Wright lineup support he hasn’t had since the Beltran days.
Despite months of incessant Drew rumors, Alderson decided to stand pat with Ruben Tejada and hope that he returns to 2012 form. I originally agreed that the price for Drew was too high, but after seeing Tejada enter 2014 the same way he ended 2013 – underwhelming defensively and offensively – Drew is looking better by the day. A swap for someone like Nick Franklin, Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings might still be possible, but Tejada will likely be the starting shortstop until he is hurt or booed out of Flushing. We can only hope for the best.
Simply put, this was a disaster. Alderson did everything but post a giant “For Sale” sign on the Whitestone Bridge, yet still couldn’t find any takers for the enigmatic Ike Davis. Now the Mets are left Davis back and pretending that Lucas Duda is a legitimate Plan B at first base. The only thing that keeps Alderson from getting an F here is that he didn’t trade Ike, who undoubtedly has potential, for ten cents on the dollar.
This is where Alderson was at his best, nabbing a potential ace in Bartolo Colon and two cheap fifth starter options in Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan. Colon is no Matt Harvey, which is good news for Harvey and his supermodel girlfriends, but he can still lead a staff and at the very least should fetch a good prospect at the deadline if traded. Dice-K will probably hold down the last rotation spot until a younger option, like Mejia, Montero or even Syndergaard is ready. Lannan could be an effective long reliever and spot starter.
Alderson only brought in Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth (who won’t make the team) to help shore up what was an atrocious bullpen, but I’ll give him somewhat of a pass due to the volatility of relievers. Spending big money on a guy like Balfour or Rodney would block the paths of youngsters like Jeurys Familia and Vic Black, an unwise direction for a rebuilding team. However, if Bobby Parnell is hurt and Valverde continues to show his tank is near empty, Alderson’s lack of action could prove costly.
Despite clearly still working under financial constraints, Alderson generally did well to improve the Mets. Granderson and Young undoubtedly upgrade an extremely weak hitting outfield, Colon should help towards offsetting the loss of Harvey, and Dice-K, Lannan and Valverde may provide some necessary veteran depth. However, the Ike and Tejada fiascos make it difficult to get too excited about the Mets offseason. The stove definitely could have been hotter.
Overall Grade: C
(Photo: Jeff Roberson, AP)