Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that it’s time for Sandy Alderson and the Mets to stop stockpiling and start winning.
Sherman says that when a top player becomes available, we need to have the wherewithal in prospects, capital and aggression to get him.
Many of the great phases in Mets history have elite pitching as a backbone — notably 1969, 1973 and 1986. But all of the best Mets teams were finished off by a willingness to trade for a significant hitter, often at the cost of big prospects and/or big money:
1969 — Donn Clendenon
1973 — Rusty Staub
2000 — Mike Piazza
2006 — Carlos Delgado
He goes onto saying that Alderson has shown that he could flip star caliber talent for minor leaguers, but hasn’t shown he can go the other way like other Met GMs have done. He sees that as a potential problem for the Mets.
The solutions are harder than ever to find in free agency, with teams proactively locking up their best players, particularly for prime years. I believe this will stimulate the trade market, specifically in the hunt for position players. In fact, I think the new free agency will see more teams than ever trading players under long-term contracts.
Here is why: A flush baseball economy combined with the enticement of a second wild card have moved many teams to boldly stretch budgets. I can’t remember a time when more front offices were convinced their teams could make the playoffs.
Jeff Wilpon says that bringing a big chip like that is all on Sandy and that he hasn’t been held back by ownership. “When it is prudent, I am sure Sandy will bring it up,” Wilpon said. “We usually say yes to what the baseball department says it wants.”
But we have yet to see Alderson’s tolerance for dealing from his youthful stockpile, Sherman writes.
If, for example, the Blue Jays continue not to contend, will they want the three years at $70 million still owed Reyes after 2014? The Mets didn’t want to do a six-year deal with Reyes, but would they go after him in his 30s should they still need a leadoff man/shortstop? How about Troy Tulowitzki or Matt Kemp? How about if Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t want to go long-term and Miami makes him available (the Mets did get Piazza and Delgado in deals with the Marlins). How about if the Orioles don’t believe they can do a long-term deal with the Scott Boras-repped Chris Davis?
Are we there yet? Is Sherman right? I’d have to say yes. Wright isn’t getting any younger. If not now, when?