Sandy Alderson spoke at length to the press yesterday, explaining his philosophy over the next few weeks with the trade deadline looming.
The Mets will have to play “exceedingly well” for Alderson to be buyers or stand pat. Unless that happens, he says, they will be selling off veterans with expiring contracts. “This is what I believe is a sort of a pause button. We’re going to have a lot of players that are free agents at the end of the year, a lot of payroll that will become available, and so we’re not looking to rebuild,” he said.
As we covered yesterday, he immediately shot down speculation that Jacob deGrom could be moved, specifically rumors of interest from the Houston Astros.
“We’re looking to make sure that we have the nucleus of a competitive team going into next year,” Alderson said. “As I said, while we wouldn’t completely discount any possibility of a trade of that type because who knows what may be presented, I don’t think enough would be presented for us to bite on that.”
It sounds like Alderson has the vision of a retooling, rather than a rebuild. This entails keeping the younger, controllable group of good players — Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, and making moves for other pieces at positions like second and third base, the back end of the bullpen, and perhaps some bench pieces. Given how much young talent remains on the 40-man roster, this seems like the most sensible strategy for 2018.
As of now, the Mets are all but out of it, 12 games behind Washington for the division, and 9.5 back from the second Wild Card spot, with five teams to leapfrog.