Did Sandy Alderson’s pre-2015 signing of John Mayberry Jr. excite you? What about when the Mets signed Chris Young before the 2014 season or Alejandro De Aza before the 2016 season? I don’t know about you, but I’ll never forget the 2012/13 offseason when the Mets signed Shaun Marcum and Brandon Lyon and traded for Collin Cowgill all in the span of a few months. What a whirlwind of exciting activity.
Whenever MLB’s all-time best reliever free agent signings are discussed, I know Mets fans love to debate whether the Frank Francisco (2011/2012) or Antonio Bastardo (2015/2016) signing made a bigger mark in Mets history. One day I’ll tell my children about Sandy’s first year as Mets GM when he snagged D.J. Carrasco and Chris Capuano for the staggering combined total of 3.9 million dollars.
Then there’s the list of talented players that have walked (or been forced) out the door during the Alderson era including Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan after the 2011 season, Justin Turner after the 2013 season, and Daniel Murphy after the 2015 season.
The MLB Hot Stove has always been the primary thing that helps me survive the winds of winter. But that stroll down Mets memory lane should serve as a reminder that Sandy Alderson generally keeps the stove pretty cold. He’s never been about the flashy headline grabbing moves.
Sure he’s made the occasional offseason splash during his tenure as Mets GM. He extended David Wright (8 years, $138 million) before the 2013 season which obviously hasn’t worked out due to David’s injuries, but was a no brainer at the time. He signed Curtis Granderson (4 years, $60 million) and Bartolo Colon (2 years, $20 million) after the 2013 season.
He searched far and wide for a big bat before the 2015 season and ended up with Michael Cuddyer (2 years 21 million) who promptly fell apart physically and retired (Whoops!). And then obviously last year he signed Asdrubal Cabrera (2 years, $18.5 million (with a team option)) and retained Yoenis Cespedes (even if it only turns out to be for one extra season).
The bottom line is we’ve all seen the Alderson front office strategy. He generally makes some minor additions to the roster during the winter and leaves something to be desired. He’ll make a few cost efficient signings and an occasional under the radar trade. Then he adds major league depth via trade or the waiver wire to the extent the roster needs it over the course of the season (e.g. Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, James Loney, Jose Reyes etc.) before going big at the trade deadline (e.g. Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce).
In no way am I trying to criticize anything Sandy has done as General Manager. Sandy built up the farm system, lifted our franchise out of the doldrums, acquired two of the most talented players to ever don the Mets uniform in Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes, and all of his actions have resulted in two straight playoff appearances.
That being said, as a sofa GM who lives for the rumor mill, it would be a refreshing change to see an offseason full of meaningful moves for the Mets. Plus, the whole strategy of making trades over the course of the season to patch up roster holes isn’t the best way to maintain the talented minor league system that Sandy helped create.
I suppose it’s possible we will see some more action this winter considering the last two years the Mets’ Hot Stove has trended up in temperature. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up folks. I’m grabbing my gloves and scarf just in case Sandy sticks to his typical plan and avoids any major signings. But if adding a middle reliever, a right-handed hitting bat for the bench, and a backup catcher on one year deals lights your fire, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the kind of “heat” the Mets bring.