When GM Sandy Alderson signed on with the New York Mets in the Fall of 2010, fans of the Queens ballclub could see a glint of hope in a bleak future. The team had just suffered consecutive collapses followed by its worst performance in five years, but an experienced baseball man like Alderson, who had a track record of building an extremely successful Oakland Athletics franchise, seemed to be the right guy to take the team in the right direction.
Fast-forward to now, and it appears on the surface as though little change has been made. The team continues to lose, and doesn’t seem much closer to a playoff berth as they were when Alderson took the job.
While the major league club may not be the pinnacle of success, Alderson has achieved his goal of filling the minor leagues with properly developed talent. He acquired top prospect Zack Wheeler for just a half season’s worth of Carlos Beltran, and he turned now struggling righty R.A. Dickey into two top prospects.
Everyone was disappointed when the Mets failed to acquire a big name outfielder this offseason, and the disappointment isn’t unfounded. Justin Upton is killing it in Atlanta, and shows no signs of slowing down. But what price would the Mets pay for him? Would they part with David Wright or Matt Harvey? Because that may have been the cost.
Additionally, Michael Bourn, after cashing in on a career year, is playing mediocre baseball in Cleveland, and would have put a small set of financial handcuffs on the team’s outfield spending. It appears as though a bullet was dodged in that case.
The results will appear when Alderson’s acquisitions hit the bigs, and they will not be subtle. The Mets may end up with one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, and while the hitting development seems slow, things should pick up when Travis D’Arnaud and Flores hit the majors.
Even if this is not a satisfactory answer, what else can the Mets do? If Alderson is fired, there will not be a sudden surge in available talent. Good free agents are hard to come by, and lucrative trade targets also cost a pretty penny.
The Mets are best left off staying the course with their general manager, who if nothing else, has a coherent plan for the team’s future.