Monday, March 16, 2015

Sandy Alderson and the 'revived' Mets

There's a new book called: "Baseball Maverick: How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets." Apparently, Alderson has revolutionized the concept of "reviving" as well. When he took over as general manager after the 2010 season, the Mets had just finished 79-83 with an attendance of 2,559,738, eighth best in the National League. In 2014, the "revived" Mets finished 79-83, with attendance of 2,148,808, 13th best of the 15 NL teams. 

We are told that the Mets are "revived." We are told that they expect to contend this season. We are told that there are no restrictions on payroll. We are told a lot of things.

Another thing we were told is that the Mets have a surplus of starting pitching, but it is very rare for a team to have all five starters stay healthy the entire season. Dillon Gee was not surplus - he was necessary insurance, and with Zack Wheeler needing Tommy John surgery, the Mets are lucky Alderson was not able to trade Gee.

By all accounts, what Alderson has revived is the Mets' farm system (though players such as Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom were drafted by Omar Minaya), But Wheeler's injury emphasizes that there are no guarantees with prospects.

Alderson's trade of Carlos Beltran for Wheeler in 2011 was supposed to start the Mets' eventual revival. Last year, Beltran played only 109 games, a majority of them at DH, and hit .233.  Now Beltran, who turns 38 next month, is nearing the end of his career. But whatever he manages to contribute to the Yankees, it will still be more than the Mets get from Wheeler this season.

Wheeler's torn UCL is bad enough, but it will be even worse if the Mets use it as an excuse to punt yet another season. With Gee on the roster and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in the wings, starting pitching still figures to be the Mets' strength, even without Wheeler. A lot still has to go right, but Alderson could still achieve his Mets revival this year and justify his book's title.

If not, it's wait till next year - and the paperback.

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