Sandy Alderson addressed the media for the first time in Port St. Lucie this morning and he had a number of things to say.
See below for some thoughts from the Mets general manager, including quotes (some in full):
On what the mood is this spring training –
"There’s a high level of excitement. There’s a real enthusiasm."
How will you evaluate your offseason? –
"It was relatively quiet on the surface. We did a lot of exploration, but as we look at our team and as we look at our team now, we feel good about it. Most of our young players will have to step up. I’m very pleased with the team we brought in."
How normal is Harvey’s spring training compared to others? –
"There’s no extra special precaution with him. It depends on how Matt feels. 95% of Matt Harvey‘s program from now until the end of the regular season should be normal and routine. Right now I’m not anticipating any major adjustments to his schedule."
What will David Wright‘s spring be like? –
"David is in outstanding shape and there will be no constraints on his activity."
How do you look at the division now? –
"[T]hings are unpredictable. The Braves and Phillies are in a slightly different place, but we’re excited about where we are in the division. The Mets need to find a way to beat the Nationals, but I’m excited about how the division is evolving."
On having more five starting pitchers on the roster –
"I don’t think you can plan on making a deal in spring training. We’ll have to make decisions accordingly (having six starting pitchers). One plan would be an expanded rotation and another one would be a use of spot starter on a frequent basis. The nice thing of what we have currently, starting pitchers wise, we’re eight or nine deep. That means yes, we can go with a six-man rotation or we can go with a spot starter. Right now I don’t see us using a six-man rotation. We’ve done a tentative schedule with off days, but I doubt we’ll do that for the benefit of one pitcher."
Is Dillon Gee going to be the odd man out to the bullpen? –
Is 89 wins for this team realistic?
"I think the team is capable of winning that many games, it has that potential. I think what’s more important is what the players are thinking."
Is having Bobby Parnell in the bullpen key to its success? –
"We didn’t have him last year and the last 2/3 of the season our bullpen was really good. I don’t think any one of our guys are key in our bullpen, it’s a team effort. If you look at our 40-man roster, we have a lot of good talent ready to jump in."
On the expectation of the players this year –
"The veteran guys to me, we need average seasons from them. We don’t need extraordinary years from them. For our younger guys, we need them to take a step forward."
In regards to Matt Harvey’s year –
"Do we expect him to be the Harvey from two years ago? That’s a high expectation but I think he has the level of expectation himself. but we don’t need him to have that level of success."
Do you have an innings limit on Matt? –
"We’ve looked at that pretty extensively and we have a target number in mind that will inform us how we manage. It’s not an evolving strategy, but it’s sort of a loose understanding on where we want to be at the end of the season. We’ll be taking advantage of spot starts, the all star break, off days, but the other thing, is that we can’t alter his game play to the detriment of other players."
"I’d say that we probably consider one of the three as a bullpen candidate. Realistically, Montero is one candidate for the bullpen and it’s unlikely that the other two, Syndergaard and Matz would be used in the pen."
How ready is Kevin Plawecki? –
"He’s played some first base in the past and he’ll play there for keep us with flexibility. I think ideally, we want him to spend more time in AAA, but he’s close. If there were an injury, he’s the next man up."
On the new pace of play rule –
"I’m pleased with the pace of play change."
On the timetable for Bobby Parnell –
"Late April or May."
Surprisingly, Alderson spoke a lot for this press conference. The biggest thing to me is that there are no major constraints to Matt Harvey or David Wright this year. Many, like myself, expect the Mets to sort of “baby” Harvey due to his injury, but I’m glad they’re not.
Also, I’m glad Wright appears to be healthy, yet again, and even Alderson stressed how in order for the team to have success this season, Wright will need to have a bounce back year.
You can only have a bounce back year if you’re healthy.
Some other positive notes: The Mets seems like they’ll be going with a traditional five-man rotation instead of a six-man one. That probably leaves Gee as the odd man out and will fill the role of the long-relief man out of the pen.
Alderson, as always, is high on the young arms this year and doesn’t stop short of praising how ready Plawecki, Syndergaard, Montero, and Matz are.
If there is anything to get excited for this season, is for the arrival of all of the prospects he’s been talking about for all this time.
Mets baseball is almost here and I can’t wait.
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