The Mets Hire Sandy Alderson

Hope is a cheap harlot to employ whenever a mediocre team changes general managers, meaning few should be surprised to see the Mets fan base embrace Sandy Alderson. Reassuring for those fanatics is how Alderson’s history suggests the admiration will be more than a fling or temporary affair. What Alderson means to the position depends on perspective. Call him the perfect compromise to the old and new school. A well-connected quantitatively conscious forward thinker, Alderson is not without his question marks, making him an embodiment of the roster he inherits.

Pick the most skeptical question asked of Alderson’s candidacy and one can find a match on the Mets. How long will you be here? Easily could be asking David Wright the same. How is your health? Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay. Can you recapture that success from way back when that made you special? Jose Reyes. How will you deal with change? Okay, that question is best asked to opposing forces by Johan Santana. Clearly, the metaphor has run its course.

The point to take away is that while Alderson and his roster have question marks, they also have the star power to intrigue. The supporting cast for those stars needs work and that’s fine. That’s why Alderson is there. His ability to find talent for marginal costs should separate him from previous Mets’ general managers. This will make the snarky parts of the Mets’ fan base cringe a bit, but Alderson’s job does not deviate greatly from the one Jack Zduriencik walked into. The difference being that Alderson’s starting roster is in better shape.

Who knows what the Mets’ roster is going to look like in three months or six, but there are enough options to create some moist spitballing sessions. Alderson’s comment about not writing players off without considering everything raises the possibility of a Luis Castillo platoon alongside someone like Joaquin Arias. Unsexy off the bat, Castillo will make $6 million next season whether the Mets release or play him. Playing him against righties isn’t the worst idea in the world, as he’s reached base against them roughly 38% of the time since 2008.

An outfield with Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, and Angel Pagan is not hard to imagine. Pagan’s inability to hit left-handed pitching means someone like Nick Evans will likely get a share of at-bats, too. Would the Mets tamper with the thought of sliding Beltran to right field on the days Pagan plays, or do they err to keeping the number of moving parts to a minimal, thus leaving Beltran in center regardless of Pagan’s presence.

Josh Thole figures to catch most days and Ike Davis will play first base. That’s about it for the starting nine, with whoever the day’s starting pitcher is filling in the blank. Don’t forget about the farm system and encroaching talents like Fernando Martinez, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda, Reese Havens, and Jenrry Mejia. Not elite talents (minus Mejia) but enough to potentially land the Mets a starting pitcher if need be – and need most certainly be with Santana out for at least a little while.

The ability to focus on the pitching and bench side of the roster is one of the more incredible aspects of this situation: how often does a general manager take over with the ability to make minimal changes to his starting lineup without settling for below average play? The Mets are unlikely to challenge the Phillies or Braves legitimately next season. Some meaningful baseball late, though? That is not out of the question.

Keep in mind: this team won 79 games despite 20-year-old Ruben Tejada tallying as many plate appearances as Beltran, and despite Rod Barajas, Jeff Francoeur, Alex Cora, Jesus Feliciano, Gary Matthews Jr., Mike Jacobs, and Frank Catalanotto combining for 1,139 plate appearances (more than Bay and Wright’s sum) and a .276 on-base percentage. Additionally, the Mets had a dozen different pitchers getting a start, including Raul Valdez and Fernando Nieve, and Elmer Dessens (4.72 FIP, 5.56 xFIP) made more high leverage appearances than Hisanori Takahashi (3.65 FIP, 4.01 xFIP). Offensively, Wright had a career worst season in high leverage spots, while Beltran having his worst batting average (on balls in play as well) since 2000.

There’s talent in these here waters. Alderson just has to clear up the algae around the edges.




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30 Responses to “The Mets Hire Sandy Alderson”

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  1. Ryan H. says:

    At least Alderson will not have overwhelming Latin pride steer him into signing up a marginal starting pitcher who had 1 good year in 2004, among other GREAT organization moves.. As a Mets fan, I can only hope…

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    • this guy says:

      hindsight is 20/20. There was a lot of pressure to sign Oliver with his performance in big games, a thin market for pitching and underdeveloped minor league talent. Lots of posters on from Mets Blog to Amazin Avenue was calling for him to be signed.

      Omar was treated extremely unfairly. He did quite well with what he had, and without his expertise with young talent, our farm would be pathetic right now. As it stands, it’s middle of the pack, and that’s all Omar.

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  2. this guy says:

    If Reyes and/or Beltran stay healthy, this is a playoff caliber team. They add a single #2 or #3 caliber starter, and we could be talking World Series.

    Pelf and Niese are good for 400 solid innings or better. The team is in great shape except for the 2 main lineup pieces being injured. The farm is stocked with underdeveloped talent, but that benefits Alderson. I like the move, but Sandy is going to get credit for a lot of things he didn’t do. Omar is responsible for the key components of this team, which if healthy, are plenty good enough to win it all.

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    • Bubba says:

      Most GMs are not completely responsible for his team. You mentioned Reyes a few times, he was here before Omar.

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    • Steve says:

      Don’t forget that Johan probably will be a non-factor for 2011. That’s a huge step backwards. Color me skeptical that a healthy Mets team plus another mid-level starter are World Series contenders. I still see them as the third best team in their own division.

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      • this guy says:

        Pretty broad, unsubstantiated statement there. (par for the internet)

        Johan has been one of the best free agent pitcher signings in the history of the game so far.

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      • Steve says:

        Wait, the guy who wrote this:

        They add a single #2 or #3 caliber starter, and we could be talking World Series.

        just accused someone else of making a “broad, unsubstantiated” statement?? hilarious

        and this:

        Johan has been one of the best free agent pitcher signings in the history of the game so far.

        is insane. Most free agents look good halfway through their contracts. It’s the second half that dooms most FA contracts, and Johan doesn’t look like he’s going to buck that trend.

        Johan’s first 3 seasons as a Met (WAR) – 11
        CC’s first TWO seasons as a Yankee – 11.4

        I’m sure if you looked up the first 3 seasons for big time pitching FA’s like Mussina, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, etc. they would blow Johan away. There has been nothing historically special about Johan’s time in Queens so far. The only notable aspect is how little they gave up in the trade.

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      • Lets Go Mutz says:

        Johan was a free agent signing?

        interesting…

        Oh, you mean best signing by the Twins right?

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      • this guy says:

        Your “analysis” is a very good example of “selection bias”. Stupid is as stupid does.

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      • Steve says:

        The Mets traded for Johan, but they essentially replaced his old contract with the Twins. He had one year left at $13M, and the Mets basically tore that up and paid him $17M in 2008.

        It was a trade, but I don’t have a problem viewing the massive extension as a FA contract.

        What I do have a problem with is all the other nonsense this guy is spewing.

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      • this guy says:

        He’s basically a free agent acquisition. The trade only worked to facilitate the contract. Sure, technically he wasn’t a “free agent”. You’re either here to examine reality or to debate semantics, grammar and meaningless technicalities. The internet is broad enough that good points are lost in the noise.

        It’s annoying, but the world needs people like you too.

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      • this guy says:

        @Steve

        I’m sorry to fluster you by refusing to sheep along with all of you, but I have a bad habit of thinking and putting things into context.

        Not sure why it bothers you. No matter how much information you have, you will find a way to believe what you want. You’ve been doing it your whole life.

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      • Steve says:

        Are you insane or just a troll?

        You haven’t offered a single lick of evidence anywhere in this thread to back the many outrageous claims you have made, and when people disagree, you start throwing around crazy insults.

        You are either mentally ill or just a bored a-hole, but either way I’m done with you.

        Have fun rooting the Mets to 82 wins this year!!

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      • Lets Go Mutz says:

        Johan was not technically a free agent, we wasn’t basically a free agent, he wasn’t kinda a free agent. He was acquired in a trade. End of Story.

        if Reyes and /or Beltran staying healthy = Playoff team …is a pretty broad unsubstantiated statement. Especially the and/or part.

        Here is my empirical evidence 2007 through 2010. Either Reyes was healthy and they missed the playoffs or they both were hurt (and they missed the playoffs). Reyes and his 600 ABs healthly in 2010, no playoffs though. 2007 Both healthy, no playoffs.

        The mets are in a tough division looking up at better SP staffs in the Braves and Phillies. I don’t see them making the playoffs next year.

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      • this guy says:

        My point was too abstract for such a simple minded audience. Ok, let’s go back to “Bumgarner is good because he’s young” discussions. I’m sorry to have wasted any time here.

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      • Lets Go Mutz says:

        I dunno, simple minded could also be “Reyes AND OR beltran staying healthy = Mets in the Post Season”

        Listen, Phillies are old and getting older and may fall off a cliff soon, I don’t know when, but I wager they will be better than the Mets next year. Braves are generally young and also pretty good. I don’t see the Mets closing the gap next year. I don’t know where, or how, they could possible luck into a #2 starter. Sandy has his work cut out, and I think the 2011 team is going to more of the 2010 team.

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  3. PTS says:

    Santana was acquired in a trade; the fact that they gave up little that turned out to be of value (especially compared to what was being asked of the Yankees and Red Sox to part with for him) makes it seem like they signed him as a FA.

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  4. ritz says:

    Damn and I thought there were going to be 17 replies talking about the Mets hiring of Alderson. What a let down.

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  5. SF 55 for life says:

    i think rick hahn should have been hired as the gm for the Mets.

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  6. noseeum says:

    Best rule 5 pick maybe, but best free agent signing? I agree that one would have to be a free agent to be eligible for that award.

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    • this guy says:

      It’s funny. When shitting on Omar, then “they only got Johan because of the money”. When shitting on Johan, he was acquired via trade, so he can’t be compared to a pool of free agent signings.

      They got one year via trade. The rest was BOUGHT.

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  7. Phantom Stranger says:

    As a lifelong fan of the Braves, I will be sorry to see Omar leave as GM. He truly was awful, being barely competent with a team that should be a perennial contender with its market advantage over the other NL teams.

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  8. NBarnes says:

    Lotta venom in this thread.

    I think that it’s absolutely true that if things break well for the Mets, they could go to the playoffs and, once there, are a simple hot streak away from a World Series title.

    Such a statement is true of about 2/3rds of the teams in the league, however. Who saw the Giants winning it all at the start of the season? Every year, some team is going to see its stars perform well and stay healthy, its role players do surprisingly well, and end up in the playoffs. It happens every year. It could happen to the Mets.

    Or it could happen to the Marlins.

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  9. Horace says:

    This Guy, you’re just coming off as foolish in this thread. Johan the best free agent signing (we know, he wasn’t a free agent) ever? That is insane. Especially considering his injury and the fact that he basically throws 89 mph now. Yes, his ERA has been spectacular but look beyond that and you see his average of roughly 7.4 k/9 with the Mets. With the Twins it was more like 9 k/9 at least. He has slipped from the rank of the elite and will continue to be paid like the best for several more seasons. Same thing with Beltran.

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  10. WC says:

    Venom in a Mets related fangraphs comment? Shocking!

    Should be short lived though. Sandy’s on the lookout to hire DePodesta and friends, from there they’re just one mention of win values or run prevention from the Mets becoming FG darlings.

    Phillies aren’t falling off a cliff quite yet, and the Braves might stay around the same. The Mets as a playoff team isn’t probable.

    “this guy” is stretching things. Best you can say for the Mets is a load of ifs. If Sandy can pull off a trade for a decent starter without giving up Mejia or young ML roster pieces, if Beltran can manage 120 games in RF, if Santana isn’t out for more than half the season and is relatively effective when he comes back, if Jason Bay plays to his history instead of his 2010 stat line, if Sandy plays the FA bullpen market well… sure, they have a shot at the playoffs.

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  11. Kev says:

    This Guy,
    Pelf and Niese booked for a, “solid” 400 innings? dream on.
    Santana pitching effectively for 150, not likely.
    Old man Dickey fooling the National league again with his Knucklehangingcurveball, Right.

    That’s four starters btw

    Mets fans should be looking to 2012

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