Earlier tonight in Orlando, Sandy Alderson held court with the Mets’ beat writers for the first time since arriving at the Winter Meetings.
Per usual, Alderson didn’t deliver many juicy comments, but he did say a few things that were interesting. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York did a terrific job of summarizing Alderson’s most important quotes. Among them?
The Mets will likely add at least one starting pitcher from outside the organization:
I don’t think we’re totally comfortable with what we have in the organization. We’ve got a lot of quality. We even have some depth. But to replace two spots in the rotation with the kids coming out of our system, I think, is a little much to expect coming out of spring training. It’s conceivable we could have two in the rotation by the middle of the year, or by the end of the season certainly. I think putting that kind of pressure on the system coming out of the gate is something we’d like to avoid. It might be necessary, but I think we’d like to find someone.
When prompted, Alderson noted that it’s not out of the question that two young starting pitchers could find themselves in the opening day rotation. However, chances of that happening are close to zilch.
A late inning reliever is a priority:
The bullpen is important. The bullpen needs to improve. I think most of that improvement is going to come through the development of our young, good arms in the system. Would we like to have somebody more established that could pitch with Parnell in the eighth and ninth innings? I think yeah. All things being equal we’d like that.
Alderson clarified that the ninth inning is Parnell’s, meaning that the team is searching for someone established to serve as a bridge to Parnell, not as Parnell’s competition.
Don’t categorize players:
Let’s not categorize players quite yet. I mean, I know it looks like, ‘Well, OK, you’ve got this guy and that guy … ‘ But let’s see how it plays out, because I think that’s a little bit unfair to sort of predetermine.
After this comment, Alderson was asked about potentially trading Daniel Murphy, and he refused to dismiss the possibility.
This of course set off a bit of a storm among fans, who took it as an indication that Murphy was a goner. I took it as Sandy being Sandy. No one is untouchable, and there’s no reason for Alderson to paint himself into a corner by labeling certain players and saying who is most likely to be here come April.
I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. It takes two teams to make a trade. I won’t tell you what our intentions are, but hopefully it’ll resolve itself shortly.
About his first base situation, Alderson noted…
We have two. We only need one. If, for some reason, we come out of these meetings with both, we’ll adjust accordingly and move on. There is an ‘after-market’ following the winter meetings. It’s not like this is the final bazaar.
It’s been rumored since the end of the season that the Mets prefer to trade Davis. From Alderson’s comments tonight, it sounds like this is a situation the Mets would like to have resolved in short order.
Ruben Tejada is still an option:
We came into the offseason hoping to improve in a number of areas. And I think we have improved, hopefully, in one area. That, logically, leaves three or four others to potentially address. But, depending on how things materialize, we may live with certain weaknesses. The idea is to minimize the number of weaknesses — not necessarily correct all of them — and hope we’ve constructed a team that minimizes those. For example, we can come out of these meetings with Tejada as our regular shortstop. Worse things could happen to us certainly. But, to the extent we can address as many additional issues as we can, we’re going to try to do that.
I won’t be pleased if the Mets enter the season with Tejada as their shortstop. However, I’ll believe it when I see it. The above is clearly not a ringing endorsement of Tejada. Rather, it sounds more like if the Mets improve a few more areas via trade and/or free agency, they may “live with” Tejada at shortstop.