Prior to the season, Sandy Alderson’s 90-win goal reached the public. Although it was an internal challenge, Alderson didn’t back down when asked if the Mets could win 90 games in 2014.
Dec 11, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announces that the MLB rules committee approved a change eliminating collisions at home plate during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The proposed rule change goes to the owners and the MLB Players association for approval. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
A 15-11 start has turned into a 20-24 record with a bit more than a quarter of the season over, and Alderson and the Mets are facing some of the same issues that were staring them in the eye before the season began.
There are issues at various spots on the roster, but the problem at shortstop continues to be the main one.
On Tuesday, Stephen Drew, who ultimately held out for less money, signed with the Red Sox. The Mets and a handful of other teams had been linked to Drew, but Alderson said he didn’t feel Drew was worth the money he was paid ($10 million, or $14 million prorated for 2014).
I agree with Alderson that Drew wasn’t worth what he was paid. The problem, though, is that the Mets have done absolutely nothing to address their shortstop situation.
Said Alderson on Tuesday in response to a question about shortstop:
"I think that what we have to do is make sure that we’re taking a structured approach to these things. So, for example, the young players that we have, I think that we need to have a good idea of how they’re going to be used over a period of time…I think what we have to do is make sure we have the long-term in mind. So with respect to shortstop, with respect to center field, with respect to the bullpen, with respect to the starting rotation, I don’t mean to suggest the long-term is the next five years. But we have to make sure that we give some of our young players a chance to realize whatever potential they have."
In the answer above, it seems that Alderson is referring both to who should play and the fact that those young players should get a fair shot to prove themselves.
As it relates to the bullpen (with players such as Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia), center field (where Juan Lagares should start every day), and the rotation (where Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom are getting their feet weet), the above makes sense.
Alderson’s response as it pertains to shortstop makes absolutely no sense, and his failure to address the situation at shortstop is out of whack with the internal expectations he set before the season began.
As Kevin Burkhardt said last week during his impassioned defense of Juan Lagares, the Mets do not have a major league caliber shortstop. And teams with 90-win expectations do not operate without a major league caliber player at shortstop.
That fact can not possibly be lost on Alderson, but his answer Tuesday would suggest that he actually thinks the Mets need more time to determine whether or not Ruben Tejada (hitting .183/.299/.220) or Wilmer Flores (not viewed as a major league caliber defensive shortstop by anyone) can be the answer for the Mets at shortstop.
Again, there’s no way Alderson isn’t already aware that the club needs a shortstop from outside the organization. His answer on Tuesday, and the way the shortstop situation has been handled, is an insult to fans who spend money and time rooting for this team.
No one expects Alderson to hand a blank check to free agents or acquiesce to outlandish trade demands in order to upgrade shortstop. However, a little transparency would be nice once in a while. The Mets need a new shortstop. It’s okay for Alderson to admit what we all know.