The moment Sandy Alderson was hired as General Manager of the New York Mets, the media and fan base knew there was no easy solution to turning this organization into a contender. After all, the Wilpon’s financials were in a state of flux, which greatly impacted the payroll of the team. On top of that, some high profile athletes — Johan Santana, Jason Bay — were not living up to their big contracts. Now, closing in on three years since being hired as GM, it’s time for Sandy Alderson and company to truly earn their paychecks.
Aug 27, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson speaks at a press conference before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
To Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins‘ defense, they haven’t had complete flexibility to use the resources they should have had since 2010, when they first joined the club. The payroll has decreased from roughly $142 million in 2011 to about $93 million during the 2013 season.
To be clear, I’m not saying that you need a high team payroll in order to be a successful organization. I’ve always believed in the concept of how you invest in team payroll, rather than how much money you spend. It’s all about acquiring the right pieces of the puzzle, rather than always looking to acquire high profile names in an attempt to make the headlines.
However, Alderson hasn’t been able to make the types of moves he needs due to the payroll constantly declining since his arrival. Being hamstrung by high paid, long-term contracts also has a lot to do with that.
The good news is that the end of the season is near, and that is where all the main work lays. After the conclusion of the season, Alderson will see approximately $50 million come off the books. To his credit, Alderson has pulled off very good trades — R.A. Dickey, Carlos Beltran, Marlon Byrd & John Buck — to bring in more younger, inexpensive, high potential talent — Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, etc. — who will all hopefully play a vital role in the future success of the New York Mets.
I have faith Alderson will put together a competitive team that will bring the Mets back to relevance for years to come. I believe he will make the right decisions when improving the roster in the offseason. On top of this high priority of improving the roster, Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons must decide if Terry Collins will remain as manager moving forward.
Although I give Collins credit for the work he has done with a sub-par roster, I believe the organization should look elsewhere when deciding on the next manager. Wally Backman is an interesting candidate, but I think it’s highly unlikely they will go in that direction – although I would support the hiring of a gritty manager like Backman. I hope the Mets decide to keep tabs on Mike Scioscia and Ron Gardenhire, and hire one of the two— preferably Scioscia — if either manager becomes available during the offseason.
With regards to improving the roster, I hope the Mets do something similar to what Boston did this season, when they signed mid-tier free agents. One free-agent I hope the Mets pursue this offseason is Shin-Soo Choo. However, he should only be acquired if the price is right, as I see Choo as a nice complementary-type player.
As far as acquiring the big-impact bat, I think you can expect to see the Mets acquire a power hitter via trade, not free-agency. I truly believe the Mets have enough talented prospects to trade away in a package to acquire that high-impact Major League ready bat. Regardless of what happens, this offseason will be crucial to defining Sandy Alderson’s time in New York.