Sandy Alderson is a hard nosed General Manager. As we’ve seen in past trades, he gets what he wants and doesn’t give up anything more than he feels he has to. Yesterday, the trading deadline came and went with the Mets making exactly zero moves. They didn’t land the big bat they so desperately need, they didn’t move any of their young pitchers and they weren’t able to get out from under the Chris Young or Bartolo Colon contracts. In short, Sandy Alderson did what he does best.
The Mets could go on a run in the second half of the season but we know that they are built to win next year. While we’ve been hearing that for a few years, next year there will be no excuse. Matt Harvey will return to pitch alongside whichever pitchers are still here and David Wright and Curtis Granderson will anchor the offense. With an eye on 2014 there was no reason for Alderson to back down at the trading deadline.
He’ll have the entire off season to try and land another slugger and while it would have been nice to have that guy this year, they’ll really need him next year.
Colon represents another interesting development for Alderson. While John Lackey is six years younger than Colon with a much better contract situation, there isn’t a great discrepancy in their stats. Lackey has a 3.60 ERA while Colon has a 3.88 after 21 starts this year. Lackey was able to bring back Allen Craig and Joe Kelly from the Cardinals (from the Red Sox). If that’s the case, Colon should be able to get a similar return if Alderson is willing to eat some of the contract.
Free agency is becoming a harder and harder market to win in, especially with a payroll like the one Alderson is dealing with. Under the circumstances, paying a part or all of Colon’s salary will allow them to bring in a much better player, similar to Craig, without dipping into free agency. Although Alderson has publicly stated he would not eat any part of Colon’s deal, you’d imagine that if the right player was out there, his tune would change.
Colon allows Mets fans to stay focused on August 31st, the waiver trade deadline. Assuming Colon passes through waivers, the Mets could elect to trade him to a playoff contender if there is an unforeseen injury sometime before the end of August. Colon would obviously help a lot of teams out there and the Mets won’t have room for him next year. If he gets claimed off of waivers then the Mets will send him packing, freeing up $13 million or so for next year.
Sandy Alderson spent the trading deadline doing what he does. He didn’t overpay. He didn’t get bullied into a trade. He held onto one of the best hands in major league baseball and will be poised to make the move he wants to make once it presents itself in the off season.