Today at 2PM, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson joined Mike Francesa on WFAN. He had lots of important stuff to say, and the most relevant pieces are highlighted below:
Is he happy at shortstop?
After a long pause, Alderson said “we’re happy as of the first day of spring training. That obviously can change over time.”
On there being so many high profile free agents still on the market:
Alderson noted that players aren’t bothered by not being in camp, and that even pitchers can show up after camp starts and not be negatively impacted: “I think there are some that will [hold out], who just aren’t willing to accept the reality of their situation.” He went on to cite draft pick compensation and the limit on international spending as something that’s holding up the market.
Does he feel the team is complete, or that he still has work to do?
Alderson said the lack of experience in the bullpen is concerning, but says they’re “treading a fine line” since they don’t want to give out spots (to veterans) that younger guys might deserve. At the same time, they don’t want to go without any experience. Says team has to “look hard” at what they have and hope some guys step up. Noted that if they’re making an addition, it has to be “more than just a body…somebody who has a chance to make an impact.”
“I thought it was a possibility.” Said there’s a “different perception of value,” and that the Mets were unwilling to sell low: “There’s always another alternative [for other teams]..we’ve decided that the value to us in hedging our bets in one or the other is more valuable than what we think we can get in the marketplace.” Alderson noted that Davis and Duda will vie for the starting job while stating that it’s not likely that one of them will be on the bench (hinting they’ll be in the minors or traded instead).
On potentially adding a shortstop:
We continue to talk to clubs about shortstops that may be available in trade. It’s just hard to predict what will happen over the next week, two weeks, three weeks. In the meantime, Ruben [Tejada] demonstrated a real commitment to get better by working out over the offseason.
On the fifth starter competition:
It wouldn’t be that unusual to see one of our really good arms wind up in the pen. We’ve got so many now that are on the verge of the major leagues that it might be the right thing to do. I’d be surprised if we put a [Noah] Syndergaard in the pen.
On Jack Leathersich:
I think it’s possible (he’ll make the pen). He’s got to get more consistent…he’s definitely on our board.
On the catcher situation:
Said that Travis d’Arnaud is the guy they’ll be going with and that Anthony Recker did a solid job last year. Said the team has gone through lots of older catchers who have been perennial backups, and that they’d rather go younger than sign a veteran for the sake of it.
On the center field situation:
Alderson said that Granderson won’t play center field, and did not mention Eric Young, Jr. as a candidate to play center field. I don’t think he’s gonna play center field (he only mentioned Juan Lagares and Chris Young). Alderson noted that “in an ideal situation…I think it (the center fielder) will be determined largely on the offensive production we get from these guys. However, on Lagares, Alderson said that “I think he’ll have every opportunity to win center field, that they never promised Chris Young that he’d play CF, just that he’d get at bats. Alderson closed these comments by stating “when spring training opens, the first game, Lagares will be in center field.
Is the club in a position to add more salary?
Alderson noted that the club has some room, and that it depends on the player. Francesa didn’t mention Stephen Drew by name, but Alderson brought him up, stating: “Could we sign Stephen Drew? I think the answer is yes, under the right circumstances. It’ll have to be on terms that are mutually agreeable.”
Would he have been more aggressive if Matt Harvey was in the rotation?
I don’t think so…the storyline for 2014 as far as we’re concerned is not about Matt Harvey…it’s about the other 40 players we have on our major league roster…It’ll be great to get Matt back, but right now we don’t have him…it’s up to me and the rest of the front office and all the remaining players to make sure that 2014 is relevant to them.
How would he say the offseason went?
I think we’re happy with the improvements we made in the outfield and the addition of Bartolo Colon. We’re very pleased that we have so much young pitching coming…I think that aside from the long debated situation at shortstop, this is a place where we wanted to be.
What is he expecting from the 2014 Mets?
I think it has a chance to be much more competitive…the outfield should be much more improved, and improved from the beginning of the year, and we’ve got a lot of young guys that will be featured in spring training but ultimately could play a big role later in the season. We’re more excited this year than any year certainly since I’ve been here.
This interview featured Alderson being a bit more blunt than he usually is. Three key takeaways:
- The Mets are not set on Ruben Tejada: Surprisingly, Alderson brought Stephen Drew’s name up unsolicited and intimated that the Mets have enough to sign him. If Scott Boras comes back to reality, I think Drew will wind up on the Mets. If Boras continues to demand an opt-out clause after one year, the team that bites will very likely not be the Mets.
- Juan Lagares is the favorite to start in center field: While discussing center field, Alderson said that only Lagares and Chris Young are candidates to play there. He then went on to note that the Mets did not promise Chris Young at-bats in center field, while praising Lagares’ performance in winter ball. Alderson then said that Lagares would be the starting center fielder when spring training games kick off.
- It will be Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, not both: When asked point blank if it was unlikely Davis or Duda would be on the bench, Alderson said yes. He noted that the one who doesn’t win the first base job will very likely be traded or sent to Triple-A Las Vegas.