Multiple reports are indicating that Sandy Alderson will shortly receive a contract extension to remain General Manager of the Mets beyond 2014. Thus far, Alderson’s tenure has been like a trip to the dentist. It hasn’t been pleasant, and it has been painful at times. However, it was necessary in order to restore the health of the franchise.
When Alderson took over in October of 2010, the Mets had been in a pattern of spend and lose. Their payroll consistently was in the top five in baseball, yet the results on the field were well short of expectations.
In addition, the Mets’ ownership was in financial peril, so Alderson not only had to rebuild, he had to do so while cutting payroll almost in half. That was a tall order, and Alderson, much to chagrin of the fan base, did it.
Alderson began by shipping Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran out. He then cut ties with Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, and Jason Bay (among others). Accumulating prospects, primarily pitching prospects, was Alderson’s objective.
He brought in Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and others. The Mets now have a stable of pitchers, some of whom can be labeled as prospects, and some who are succeeding on the major league level (Jacob deGrom and Wheeler).
The one thing Alderson has not yet done is improve the starting lineup. He tried to do so this past offseason by acquiring Chris Young, a reasonable move for $7.25 million. As is often the case with player moves, that one did not work out.
He also spent significantly on Curtis Granderson, who has given the Mets flashes of what they had hoped to receive. However, the lineup and bench remain loaded with what many call Quadruple-A players (Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell, Anthony Recker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis).
The Mets and Alderson are at a crossroads. The unpleasant task has seemingly been accomplished. Now the Mets have to determine (and apparently they have) if Alderson is the right man to lead them into the next phase of the organizational plan, winning consistently.
In order to get there, Alderson will have to pull the trigger on one, or perhaps a few, significant deals this winter. He’ll have to be willing to take risks, and trade away some young pitching to bring in offensive help. He’ll have to deal wisely. Word is that the Cubs and Rockies have been scouting Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard is the type of chip the Mets may have to deal to improve. Alderson will have to be bold and decisive.
The fan base views inactivity (such as the recently passed trading deadline) as a lack of a commitment to winning. That’s not necessarily fair. It’s wise to wait for the right deal or deals. However, the waiting cannot go on forever. Alderson’s new contract will be an endorsement that he can finish the job, and put a winning team on the field in Queens. The eyes of millions of Mets fans will be on Sandy Alderson, because the time has come. As they say during the NFL draft, Sandy, you’re on the clock.