When I’m not watching the New York Mets (or anything with humans being overrun by flesh eating zombies) chances are I’ll be watching one of several cooking competition shows, my favorites being Master Chef and Top Chef.
One of the things that drives me freaking crazy is when a contestant finishes their dish with one or two minutes to spare and then they just stand there watching their fellow contestants and doing nothing.
I mean do something, keep trying to improve the dish, work on the plating, add a garnish, do anything but stand there with a ridiculous useless grin like you just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. The good thing is that in most cases it pisses off the judges too and those contestants usually end up getting voted out.
Needless to say, imagine my shock after the Mets limped into a wild card spot last season, and then Sandy Alderson’s master plan for the offseason was… Absolutely no changes.
We essentially ended our offseason with four months to spare after we inked Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $110 million dollar deal. Back was the same outfield, no issues there. Back was the same infield despite a big question mark at third base. Back was the same rotation even though six of seven were coming off various surgeries. And back was the same bullpen even though we still had no idea how long closer Jeurys Familia would be suspended for.
Even before the injuries started to mount, you knew right away the 2017 season was in big trouble after the Mets limped out of April with just 10 wins and dead last in the NL East. Not exactly how you begin a championship caliber season.
Since Sandy Alderson first became GM of the Mets, I’ve been a solid supporter much to the dismay of many of my readers. Sandy has been far from perfect, but he successfully took this organization from being baseball’s laughing stock and ravaged financially, all the way to the World Series in 2015 and back to the postseason in 2016. That was no easy feat, especially while operating under Fred and Jeff Wilpon’s thumb, a rabidly impatient fan base, and a ravenous New York media.
My biggest gripe with Sandy was how he handled the offseason last Winter. There was a certain naivete or a level of incompetence in not making any improvements to last year’s squad which had so many apparent pitfalls. It came off as being a little too cocky… Like those contestants on them cooking shows. And that never works out for anyone.
So when I’m asked about my reaction to bringing Sandy Alderson back for an encore in 2018, I don’t really have a big problem with it. Yes, Sandy screwed up last offseason in my opinion, but he’s done so many good things that he deserves the opportunity to fix this mess he’s largely responsible for. It won’t be easy taking a 90+ loss team back into the playoff hunt in one offseason, but I’d rather have Sandy at the helm than anyone else at this point. He still has my respect and my confidence.
This season has been a train wreck on so many levels, and while we could have been better prepared, most of what transpired can hardly be laid at the feet of Sandy Alderson. This wasn’t just a team that was ravaged by a historic level of injuries, many of which were predictable, there was also plenty of under-performance and regression that was rampant as well. I’m not going to litigate all of that here right now, but most of you know what all the inherent problems are.
As the team continues to run out the string, I’m already in 2018 mode and clearly so is Sandy Alderson. I heard some new things from him on Friday that really has me very encouraged so far. Chief among them being a whole new posture of making defense a top priority moving forward. Other big priorities include a middle of the rotation starter who can be relied on for 200 innings, addressing the team’s speed or lack thereof, and a major bullpen revamping beyond Jeurys Familia and Jerry Blevins, Oh, and did I mention a new manager? Yes, that too.
Lots of work to do this Winter… Let’s not drop the ball this time. LGM