Recap: Sandy Alderson on WFAN
Sandy Alderson just completed an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN. Below are highlights of the interview, with some commentary where it’s merited:
On Ike Davis‘ demotion:
"We went about as long as we could. In retrospect, perhaps he should’ve gone down earlier."
On the short-term plan at first base:
"I think Terry [Collins] will have three options. The first is moving [Daniel] Murphy to first base temporarily and putting [Jordany] Valdespin at second, and see if he can improve on his numbers with more regular play. Second option is to play [Josh] Satin at first base and leave Murphy where he is. Third option, which I don’t see us collecting right away, is to move [Lucas] Duda to first base. But I think Murph is amenable to shifting. We told him it wouldn’t be viewed as a permanent thing."
…this answer certainly made it sound like Daniel Murphy will be moving to first base while Ike Davis is in AAA. While Alderson noted that Valdespin would be given a chance at second base, he made it sound as if his rope will be very short. If Davis rebounds and is up again in a matter of weeks, Murphy will simply shift back to second. If Ike continues to struggle in the minors and Valdespin struggles at second, Wilmer Flores may get the call.
June 18, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson (left) and owner Fred Wilpon before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
On Wilmer Flores potentially being called up:
"Thought about it (calling him up)…I think it’s a move that may come later…we wanted to look at that option (Valdespin at second base) first. We wanted to look at that. He (Flores) is absolutely a prospect…right now he’s playing second base…he’s got limited range and we might be able to live with that at second base, couldn’t live with that at shortstop. He does everything at second base you’d want…his range is somewhat more limited than you’d like…Certainly I wouldn’t preclude the possibility of him being here sometime this season."
On whether the outfield shakeup will cut into Marlon Byrd‘s playing time:
"I think looking at it short term, number one you have to admit that Byrd is one of the few players we have producing offensively. Cutting into his time given our short term interest doesn’t make a huge amount of sense…what we’ll see in center field is probably a somewhat even distribution between [Kirk] Nieuwenhuis and [Juan] Lagares…[Collin] Cowgill is gonna have to earn his playing time."
…this answer will drive lots of Mets fans insane, but with the way the lineup (aside from Wright and Murphy) has been going, benching Byrd would make things worse. I do think Sandy will dangle him at the deadline, though. As far as Cowgill, Sandy made it seem that if Andrew Brown wasn’t coming off an oblique injury, he would’ve been the callup over Cowgill – basically intimating that Cowgill is here by default.
At this point, do wins become secondary to evaluation?
"I don’t think wins ever become secondary…none of us can really stomach losses…we want to win games while we’re developing our players. At some point however, the players who are gonna be with us in the future are gonna get some playing time. I think that’s evident with the move we made on [Rick] Ankiel…there are a handful of guys that we’d like to see. Some aren’t available to us now, [Travis] d’Arnaud for example."
…this was a PC answer. Alderson can’t come out and say that wins don’t matter.
On Travis’ d’Arnaud’s rehab and if he’ll be up this year:
"He can’t run for another 2 weeks, but he’s doing upper body work and work in the pool. Yeah, absolutely, I don’t see any reason not to have him here. Certainly in September, but how he performs will determine if he comes up sooner."
Can a debut date be locked in for Zack Wheeler?
"Unlike most speculation, this probably has some accuracy (Wheeler making his debut on June 18th)."
…Alderson confirmed that barring something altering the plan (rainout, etc), Wheeler will be making his debut during the doubleheader in Atlanta on June 18th.
On Rafael Montero and Jack Leathersich potentially skipping AAA:
"There’s been that consideration…if we decide to leave him (Montero) at Binghamton (instead of promoting him to AAA shortly), you can infer from that that he can probably join us from Binghamton. There’s no reason that either one of those guys can’t come directly from Binghamton…those two guys have distinguished themselves and are guys that we’re very high on."
…this is the first time Alderson has mentioned in concrete terms the possibility of Montero skipping AAA. It’s fair to assume that if Montero isn’t promoted to AAA soon (meaning he’s skipping the level), that he’ll likely be promoted to the big leagues by September. As far as Leathersich, Alderson noted that he still has problems with bases on balls, but that the team is very impressed with what he’s done in AA.
On Cesar Puello:
"He’s been ranked as high as four or five among our prospects…but he’s always been a five tool guy…he’s put it all together, now he’s on the roster…he’s definitely somebody we have our eye on. Rather than make a decision based on a month’s worth of performance, we have to let that play out longer. (Alderson was then asked whether the Biogenesis investigation hurts Puello’s chances of being called up) – I don’t think so…at this point, I don’t think (a callup) is a consideration."
Any thoughts on replacing the coaching staff/manager:
"From my observation…this has been about player performance and I don’t think staff performance has had an adverse affect. I just don’t think this is a Terry [Collins] issue or a staff issue. If it’s a player issue, that’s me…I’ve been in situations where we changed hitting coaches every year or midseason…but I honestly don’t think that’s our problem. I think that our problem offensively is that we have too many players who don’t approach the offensive side of the game the way it should be…every team in baseball is really trying to achieve the same thing with players – get a good pitch to hit, put yourself into hitting counts…when you don’t have it or when you have a preponderance of players who don’t follow that approach, it becomes infectious in the wrong direction."
On being able to convince the fans that his hands aren’t tied:
"It definitely isn’t accurate. What I’ve said from time to time is, number one – there’s a baseball calendar. There are players available from time to time in that calendar…nobody’s tying my hands at this point, nor would anybody be tying my hands at the trade deadline. I’d love to pick up somebody at the trade deadline that’s able to help us over the next two to three years. We’re definitely gonna be looking. For next season, I do expect we’re gonna have flexibility."
…Alderson continues to say that the Mets will be looking for an impact player at the trade deadline, and there’s no reason to not believe him. At the same time, whether or not the Mets are willing to part with what it takes to net that impact bat is a different story. He also noted that there’s close to $50 million coming off the books after the season, and that he expects to be active in free agency.
Has this job become more complicated or difficult than he thought it would be?
"In a couple of cases, we’re seeing some regression…but it hasn’t become more complicated because basically what we’ve been trying to do is stockpile talent, clear payroll, and be as good as we can be day to day…I think we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel…we’re gonna have some opportunities to do more player acquisition on the free agent market, stuff that will be hopefully reasonable and not put us into a situation (bad contracts) we’re just coming out of. Player progress, team progress, it’s not a simple progression like walking up the stairs…that’s not how players progress, that’s not how teams progress. With young players and younger teams it’s highly unpredictable."
On Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda being core players:
"I’ve never had shortstop (Tejada) in that core column. Duda was never thought of in that way (as a core player). He’s serviceable, but that doesn’t make him the next coming."
…those comments are about as candid as it gets from Alderson. The Mets have had issues with Tejada in the past as far as his commitment and conditioning, and it’s refreshing to hear that Alderson never had him pegged as a core contributor. As far as Duda, while Alderson mentioned that he’s also not considered a core player, he did go on to mention that Duda could fit as a complementary piece.
Does he expect lots of players to be moved in and out over next 6 to 8 weeks?
"Could be. At some point if you conclude that you have marginal players, that could happen. We’ll just have to see how the team performs. Generally speaking, I’m not big on moving guys every five days…if you’re not winning, there is no chemistry. Under those circumstances, we might make a lot of moves. If there are no clear cut answers, we ought to try more than a few of the options."
On how bad the marlins losses felt:
"Was it frustrating? Absolutely…you can’t watch a team for 20 innings and see a team go 0 for 19 with runners in scoring position and not be near suicidal. It’s tough for us to take, it’s tough for the fans to take, it’s one of those things."
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