5 Best Moves Made by New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson
New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson's 5 Best Moves
When Sandy Alderson replaced Omar Minaya as New York Mets General Manager after the 2010 season, the Mets organization was bereft with aging veterans on bloated contracts and not much in the way of impact talent down on the farm. Although one could certainly argue that Alderson could've added more to the major league roster during his first few seasons on the job, it's still unclear what payroll restrictions he may have been working with in the wake of the Mets' involvement in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
Despite the major league team finishing under .500 for the first three seasons of Alderson's regime, bumps in the road were to be expected as during any rebuilding process. Although the dust has still yet to settle on Alderson's drafts, there is no doubt that he and his staff have added a significant influx of young talent to the Mets system, payroll issues notwithstanding. For the first time in recent memory, the Mets have one of the top farm systems in all of baseball, something that the front office hopes will not only eventually make the team competitive, but sustain that competitiveness as well.
Alderson has really made his mark in the trade market where he has consistently swung for the fences. Armed with only a handful of readily tradeable impact players, the Mets general manager has extracted some eye opening packages out of opposing GMs. Alderson has also hit on several low-risk free agent signings, although his track record in this regard is significantly more spotty.
While Alderson is still chasing after his first playoff appearance as Mets GM, the following is some of the more impressive work he's done while at the helm.
5. Trading for Eric Young, Jr.
Even though Eric Young, Jr. will likely find himself without an everyday job this season, unlike the latter part of 2013, the disparity in value that Alderson got in this deal is staggering. The Mets GM was able to turn fringe major league pitcher Colin McHugh into Young, Jr. in a swap of two players who had been designated for assignment by their respective teams. To no one's surprise, McHugh couldn't cut it in the thin air of Colorado and was designated for assignment again this past December. Young, Jr., however, was a pleasant surprise for the Mets as he ended up leading the National League in stolen bases. Young, Jr. will definitely play a sizable role for the 2014 Mets, making this a significant win for Alderson.
4. Signing Bartolo Colon
This offseason, finally armed with some money to throw around, Alderson inked soon to be 41-year-old Bartolo Colon to a two-year pact worth $20 million. On the surface, this might seem like a head scratching move, until you realize that Colon was second in the better hitting American League in ERA last season (2.65). The past three seasons, Colon has been very durable and effective even though he no longer throws in the high 90s like he used to. Even if Colon regresses a bit this season, he figures to win double-digit games, post a sub 4.00 ERA for New York and could be used as a viable trade chip come July 31. Given the price that pitchers are going for these days, this contract looks like a bargain.
3. Signing and Trading Marlon Byrd
When the Mets signed Marlon Byrd to a minor league deal in February 2013, fresh off a season ending PED suspension, most met the move with a collective shrug. Few could anticipate that not only would Byrd make the team and entrench himself as the everyday right fielder, but he would also hit 20+ home runs and serve as the Mets' cleanup hitter for a good portion of the season. To make things even better, Alderson was then able to flip Byrd, an impending free agent, to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the waiver trade deadline at the end of August for two solid prospects. Vic Black figures to be one of the primary setup men in the 2014 bullpen and Dilson Herrera has already found himself in the top 10 of many Met prospect lists, a great haul for a guy who was signed on a minor league deal.
2. Trading for Zack Wheeler
Alderson's first significant task as Mets GM in 2011 was to obtain adequate value for free agent to be Carlos Beltran. To make matters even more difficult, Beltran's contract stated that he couldn't be offered arbitration, meaning the team that ultimately traded for him would not receive a compensatory draft pick if he chose to sign elsewhere. Even with these factors playing against him, Alderson managed to extract one of the top prospects from the San Francisco Giants' system, former first-round pick Zack Wheeler. After a few years of seasoning, Wheeler figures to be a stalwart at the top of the Mets' rotation for years to come.
1. Trading for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud
Coming off a Cy Young winning season in 2012, R.A. Dickey was one of the Mets' most valuable trade chips but also one of their best pitchers. For much of the offseason, the debate raged as to whether Alderson should trade Dickey, a free agent after the season, or try to re-sign him to an extension. Finally, Alderson struck a deal for Dickey with Toronto GM Alex Anthopolous that could potentially go down as one of the best in Mets' history. Alderson landed not one, but two impact prospects in Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud (the jury is still out on the third player in the deal, Wuilmer Becerra) in exchange for the 38-year-old knuckleballer and both players are regarded as being top prospects at their respective positions. Dickey struggled in the AL and Syndergaard and d'Arnaud will open 2014 as New York's two top prospects, making this deal look more and more like a heist.