Jon Heyman of CBS Sports takes issue with the premise that general manager Sandy Alderson has revived the Mets as the new authorized biography Baseball Maverick claims. He is very critical of the overall positive and “saintly” portrayal of Alderson by former A’s beat writer Steve Kettmann who say’s Sandy’s one flaw is that he’s too competitive.
“Maybe the book’s accomplished and facile author should want to ask how Alderson has come to guide as GM nine straight teams to losing records – his last five with the A’s and first four with the Mets – without going nuts, throwing fits, or even quitting (in fact, he signed up for a two-year extension after last year). I come away with no belief in a special competitiveness that is noticeably above anyone else in such a high-pressure job.”
Regarding Alderson’s tenure with Oakland, Heyman writes that Sandy’s run of success should be with an asterisk, even if it’s a small one.
“That dynasty occurred at a time the term Bash Brothers stood only for home run excellence and excitement, and only they knew they were juiced to the max.”
“Ultimately, it’s probably fair to say, whether Beane followed Alderson around or not, Beane turned out to be not only a better marketer but also ultimately the better baseball executive.”
As for Alderson reviving the Mets, Heyman points out that it’s hard for this baseball maverick to name one major league player he acquired through trade since becoming Mets GM more than four years ago.
He credits Alderson for his trades swapping major league talent for prospects, but also that Alderson has become less of a chance taker in his later years.
“He’s even a hero in the book for trades and signings he didn’t make, like not giving Stephen Drew the $10-million plus salary he allegedly sought. And by the way, no one else did, either.”
“It’s the part about the Mets revival that is a wild overshoot, at least for today. It’s that part that has triggered a few raised eyebrows around the game.”
Alderson told Heyman that he only signed off on the main title “Baseball Maverick,” and that he didn’t know about the subtitle until it was on the book jacket.
“Alderson credited Omar Minaya in a sentence for drafting Matt Harvey, the team’s best player. That seems to be in stark contrast to Alderson’s trade for Wheeler, which gets a chapter.”
“But the reality is that while Harvey is one of the top two or three pitchers on talent in baseball and his pick at No. 7 in the draft was a genius stroke by Minaya and his guys, Rudy Terrasas, Sandy Johnson and Bryan Lambe, Wheeler looks like a very good young pitcher, but not necessarily a difference maker along the lines of Harvey, or for that matter Jacob deGrom, another holdover from the Minaya tenure.”
“In fact, it’s fair to say that of the 15 most important Mets for this key season, about 11 came from Minaya’s regime, with David Wright from the earlier Steve Phillips tenure, and Wheeler, d’Arnaud and Syndergaard (who will start the year in the minors) the big Alderson pickups.”
Anyway, Heyman does credit Alderson for being a solid baseball guy, smart, witty, likable, a credit to the game. It’s not a total rip job. He’s basically saying that Sandy needs to show and do a lot more for the Mets before being lauded and canonized for reviving the franchise, and that he can start by delivering at least one winning season.