Earlier this evening, Sandy Alderson arrived at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Florida. Shortly after, he held court with reporters.
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
Here are the highlights of what Alderson had to say, with thoughts after each quote…
- Alderson said that the Mets would “probably not” be signing a free agent who receives in excess of $1oo million dollars this offseason. His reasoning?
"We’ve been in that stratosphere once recently with David Wright. Those were special circumstances. I think it would be difficult to duplicate that again – not from a financial standpoint, just in terms of team-building. I think it’s difficult to concentrate those kinds of resources into very few players. It’s not really the way you build a quality, sustainable, winning team, I don’t think."
…whether or not you agree with Alderson’s assertion that having multiple players making in excess of $100 million isn’t practical or smart, the fact is that there is only one free agent (Robinson Cano) who is all but guaranteed to receive a deal this offseason that eclipses $100 million dollars.
Aside from Cano, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo could top $100 million. The Mets are apparently not pursuing Ellsbury, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Choo can be had for slightly more than $100 million.
People are free to flip out over the $100 million comment (and they will), but if the Mets make a solid trade and sign Curtis Granderson, Jhonny Peralta, and Scott Kazmir, will anyone really care that they only cost tens of millions of dollars?
- On what makes this offseason different than the last three – in terms of flexibility – Alderson had the following to say:
"I think it’s materially different in the sense we have more options available to us. We talk about the money we have to spend, but I think in terms of all of our resources, we’re in a better position free-agent-wise. We’re in a better position trade-wise. Our system is better. We have some accomplished players at the major league level. And we have a little cash. I think in those terms we’re better armed this year than we have been to do some things. Whether those eventuate, we’ll have to wait and see. But we certainly have greater capacity this year than we’ve had in the past."
…Sandy Alderson is always guarded with his words (his jokes not-withstanding). People who expect him to come out and make bold proclamations will have to keep waiting. The important piece of the above quote is that now that it’s go time, Alderson is continuing to repeat the same refrain he and other team officials have been stating for months – the team has legitimate financial flexibility this offseason.
- On upgrading shortstop:
"Well, we’d like to upgrade at shortstop, no question about that. The opportunities for that are few. So that’s certainly something we have in mind and would like to do. We’ll see."
…the above is as close as Alderson gets to tipping his hand. It was clear during the season that the Mets were unhappy with Ruben Tejada, and it’s clear now that the Mets want to add a new shortstop from outside the organization. I’d be stunned if the Mets went into 2014 having failed to secure a significant upgrade at short.
- The Mets want to add starting pitching, and they’re wary of moving Noah Syndergaard and/or Rafael Montero:
"As the result of Matt’s loss for ’14, we may be looking for some additional pitching, either in the free-agent market or via trade. So I think it does affect us somewhat."
…the above has been known for quite some time. The Mets have three starting pitchers who have secured spots (Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler, and Dillon Gee) heading into the 2014 season. They’ll likely be looking for an inexpensive pitcher to battle with Jenrry Mejia and perhaps Rafael Montero for the fifth spot, and a more expensive pitcher to hold down the other spot. Regarding Syndergaard and Montero, it’s clear that Syndergaard is the one who’s close to untouchable – not Montero (regardless of Alderson lumping them together).
- On forfeiting a second round draft pick to sign a free agent who received and rejected a qualifying offer:
"Whether we sign a qualified free agent or not, the fact that we don’t have to give up a No. 1 draft pick, I think is a significant change — and maybe a significant advantage from our standpoint. The fact that others may have to give up a [first-round] draft pick may cause them to think twice. A second-round pick is still valuable. Many quality major league players come out of that round. So I’m not discounting that at all. But in terms of where we are and balancing the continued growth of our player-development system with the desire to win at the major league level, right now we have the ability to balance those things."
…there are only a miniscule amount of free agents who received qualifying offers. Curtis Granderson – who the Mets have confirmed interest in – is one of them. If the Mets truly want Granderson, I’m guessing they’ll pull the trigger and forfeit their second rounder. The Mets aren’t one player away, but they’re close enough to contention that it’s time to start building this thing back up. And Alderson knows that.