Pundits often say a college football coach deserves at least two years to turn a team over before anyone can honestly pass judgement. That time provides the new coach with enough time to recruit his own players and implement his own scheme. General managers in Major League Baseball get no such grace period. Thus the dilemma Sandy Alderson currently finds himself in.
Since taking the helm on October 29, 2010, Sandy Alderson has deconstructed the roster, diminished its major league talent, worked to develop the farm system and effectively divided the fan base. With that being said, if we’re playing by similar rules, only now can we begin to evaluate his handiwork.
When the Mets reconvene next week, the roster will sport the new, younger and most importantly cheaper nucleus Alderson hopes can lead the franchise for the foreseeable future. Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler lead a plethora of impressive young arms that stretch deep into the team’s farm system. Travis d’Arnaud joins David Wright and to a lesser extent Ike Davis as the cornerstones of the team’s lineup. Simply put, Alderson chose to jettison three of the team’s best players, whether by trade or via free agency. Now he hopes his young additions, both of which probably won’t break camp with the team, are the glue that brings this thing together.
If the Mets are to evolve into a perennial playoff contender, this is the season the shift should occur. While that may not immediately translate to more wins this season, the writing should be on the wall come summer’s end. If things work out, the team will find itself searching for the final big piece(s) next winter when Alderson has legitimate financial resources to make it happen. If that’s the case, he will have indeed delivered on his promise to put a playoff contender on the field for the 2014 season.
Sandy has made his moves, some of which have been impressive. When he told the press yesterday that “we are not that far away”, I’m inclined to agree with him. This is the route he has chosen. Will it be the path that takes the Mets to the promised land? The upcoming season won’t answer that question, but for the first time since his arrival the Mets have a direction and its one which should represent progress in the coming months. These will be the seasons that write Sandy Alderson’s legacy in Queens. Did he get it right? We’ll know sooner than you think.
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