October 17, 2013
Sandy Alderson's Defining Moment
A quick overview of Alderson's tenure looks more like a man trimming the fat than anything else. Senior players were jettisoned in favor of younger, cheaper talent with more potential down the road. If Alderson was going to put a winning team together, certainly he wasn't going to do it with the $150+ million dollar payrolls of yesteryear. Perhaps that's by design or maybe its out of necessity, but it is without question his business model.
Alderson's successes can be debated (and they are). Personally, I think he shining moment to date was sending RA Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for the likes of Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, amongst others. While that trade will only begin to fulfill its prophecy in 2014, I honestly believe it will go down as a steal for the Mets. A close second would have to be the acquisition of Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for the rental services of Carlos Beltran. While Wheelers does seem to be of Matt Harvey quality, he definitely has the goods. There have been other trades, which will stay under the radar for years to come, but I would have to say that Alderson's greatest strength is navigating the trade market.
His tenure however is not without failures. First and foremost, the fact that he received nothing but a compensatory pick for the departure of Jose Reyes was abysmal. Having either grossly misread Reyes free agent value or simply decided to keep him around to sell seats that summer, Reyes walked..for nothing. Alderson has also struggled in the free agent market, having allotted too much money to Frank Francisco and taken far too many chances on lower end free agents to fill out the roster, with the lone bright exception being Marlon Byrd.
Three years have come and gone, and Alderson has done quite a bit over that time. He has bolstered the farm system and shed an excessive amount of payroll in an effort to be ready for this winter. How much money he really has to spend in the coming months remains a mystery, but you can be certain that this offseason will be his defining moment.
If he is able to restructure this roster in a way to produce meaningful fall baseball in Queens, few will remember how sad the past few seasons were. If he can bring in the players..on the contracts necessary to maintain a liquid payroll and a competitive team for years to come people will remember him fondly. However, should he fail this winter and field another 70 something win team, Sandy Alderson's legacy will have been written as a man incapable of navigating big market baseball. A man who failed to save an already floundering baseball organization. A man who may have possibly done more harm than good to this brand.
Sandy Alderson is a smart man. Smart enough to know the task ahead of him. Smart enough to know that this winter is it for him. The last three years were simply a dress rehearsal for this offseason. The time has come and his defining moment is now.
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