What Is Sandy Alderson Watching?

Most of us didn’t expect the Mets to be active at the trade deadline, a thought emphasized by a stretch in which they lost 11 of 13 games. But, to hear GM Sandy Alderson say he opted not to trade Scott Hairston, or anybody else for that matter, by saying: “We haven’t given up on the season. We didn’t move players off the team for a reason. We think we have lots of good baseball in front of us, and Scott can be part of that.”

ALDERSON: Blowing smoke.

Of course, the Mets could have been more a part of things had they not waited for their collapse, which somewhat slowed in Arizona with the split, but in reality did it really? Since hitting the West Coast time zone, the Mets are 3-3, hardly a stretch to sound the trumpets.

When asked on a conference call why the Mets didn’t act sooner, Alderson said: “There really wasn’t availability. If you’re talking about an impact reliever at the end of the game, and you go back to right after the All-Star break, the market really had not fully formed. … Would a reliever of some renown, some ability, have made a difference? It’s possible.

“But, about the same time that it would have been nice to get a reliever, our starting pitching went south and we weren’t scoring quite as many runs as we had. So there was a period of time until very recently that we had a number of problems that could have been addressed. The bullpen was just one of those.”

The demise of the starting pitching and offense is true, but to say there was nothing available isn’t accurate, at lease not on the surface. Not all deals were made at the deadline. The Dodgers and Yankees made acquisitions a week ago. The fact is, and Alderson knows this, that there are few untouchables.

It is understandable the Mets didn’t want to purge their farm system, but not all deals would have meant trading Matt Harvey and/or Zach Wheeler. And, if Alderson really believes the Mets are still in it, then why didn’t they act in the last few days? Jonathan Broxton (to Cincinnati), Wandy Rodriguez (to Pittsburgh) and Francisco Liriano (to the White Sox) were done recently.

The fact is the Mets didn’t want to part with their farm system – and, it better turn out great after this – and/or don’t really believe they are in it. All acceptable explanations. But, please don’t tell us you’re not giving up on the season and then not do anything. There’s no way, barring a long-shot miracle the Mets can win anything this year with their present roster.

If Alderson really believed there is a chance he should have done something. By not doing so, he let down all those fans who were on the Mets’ bandwagon in the first half, and all those who bought tickets for games in the second half.





24 thoughts on “What Is Sandy Alderson Watching?

  1. I want to see the team play good baseball and be a better than 500 team.

    That is still within reach.

    Baby steps. They may not make the post season and it would be nice. The early part of the year gave hope for that. But the bats cooled and the starters got injured.

    I still want them to fight and play hard and win.

    Trading the players would send a bad signal to the young guys and maybe he is protecting from that.

    Harvey didn’t pitch badly last night but got killed by errors.

    • dave: I didn’t want them to trade Harvey or Wheeler, but just do something. Perception is Alderson gave up on the team and you hate to see that after how hard they played in the first half. I’m not privvy to every phone call Alderson made or took, but the appearance is he didn’t have faith in his team and that can’t be from a GM.-JD

      • I agree. The team should have made a move earlier to improve the team when they were still rolling.

        Perhaps the market was not there without giving up a lot. Who knows.

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  3. I gotta agree with Sandy here.
    Trading Hairston for a marginal prospect only hurts the team as they would need to replace him. That would entail calling Kirk back up, which is not a good idea as he needs AAA at bats to get out of his funk and continue to mature. Calling up guys early hurts their development (see, Pelfrey, Mike; Gomez, Carlos; Milledge, Lastings; et al). Hairston gives the Mets the best chance to win more games. You want to keep the fans interested, you do that by winning baseball games, not by acquiring a middling minor leaguer and harming your ML roster.

    Trading farm pieces for a short term fix is not wise because you want them to either be available next season or later in NY, OR you can use them in the offseason in a deal for a longer term fix (like say, and I know this won’t happen, Josh Johnson).

    The farm, while improving, still lacks a lot of depth in the middle and upper levels at postion players (pitching on the other hand is better). Trading what little depth you have for a rental hurts the team long term. You can spend cash for bullpen arms in the offseason.

    • Ed: Yes, the farm doesn’t have depth, but couldn’t the Mets have matched what Cincinnati gave to get Jonathan Broxton? Did the Mets even make that call? … I don’t expect the Mets to deal with the Marlins for Johnson.

      I don’t disagree the Mets rushed prospects in the past, but so far the reviews are good on Harvey.

      Hairston is somebody who could have helped a contender and brought something. I would have preferred they keep him, but they needed bullpen help and some was available.

      They played so hard in the first half and showed something on which to build. Doing nothing seems like such a waste.-JD

      • But John, Sandy said he spoke to teams about Hairston, but the return was not what he wanted. I took that to mean the offers were for middling prospects, not arms that could help the pen now.
        Broxton worries me. his injury history is poor.
        The other thing to remember here is that just because a team accepted what we may feel was a poor return, it may either be that they rated those guys better than what Sandy offered, or what they wanted back from Sandy was a package more than he was willing to give up.
        Like I wrote earlier, I prefer he save his pieces from the farm for a bigger splash in the offseason as opposed to wasting them on a rental now.

        • I would like to add that although Hairston has been defensively challenged at times, the team seems to value his versatility and he has been a pretty good hitter in the time he has been here.

          He is a good bench player for us. One piece in the pen won’t fix this team. As I have said many times the problem with the pen is the starters. They need to be starters and not long relief pitchers. If they can stay in the game into the 7th inning then the pen won’t burn out and they will be more effective. If we are to be a good team we need a better closer.

  4. Does it really matter if this team wins 78 games instead of 75? They expect people to go spend top dollar to watch a lousy team. Everyone trumpets the farm, and the kid pitchers do give some hope. But is there any outfield prospect that is a impact bat anywhere in the system? This team has a very long way to go, and unless they spend some money in the offseason next year will be more of the same.

    • Rudy: Thanks for stopping by. No, there’s no difference between 75 and 78 wins, but a second wild card changes things, doesn’t it? Alderson said he had the resources to add, but nothing happened and they were a contender. Hell, they still are, but the odds are getting longer. … No, there is no outfield prospect with potential impact. …. You are right, this is a key offseason. They showed promise. If they don’t fade away entirely, then build on it. And, let’s not forget, .500 is within reach and we’d all have taken that at the start of the season.-JD

      • John I truly believe .500 is a pipe dream. When was the last time the bull pen came into a game and didn’t allow a run? In April I predicted a record very similar to last year. Yesterday Sandy tried to convice the fan base, that the season wasn’t over and they could still be good. After watching this team implode for the third straight July, it was almost insulting. My biggest problem is when they say they need to increase attendance before they can spend again. Well exactly how are they going to increase attendance without spending to bring in some real talent? I used to go to about 10 games a year. I promised myself that I will not go back until they are truly competitve in August. The only money they will spend this offseason will be to try and keep Wright and Dickey. The will bargain basement shop for the bullpen and try to convince the fans that an outfield combination of Valdespin, Duda, Hairston and Kirk, will be good enough to compete. And 2013 will just be more of the same.

      • I think there are potential quality OF in the system. In the upper minors there are 2 CF that seem to be good defensive players. The question is will the bat be good enough?

        Further down in A or lower there are bats with some power. We shall see. The OF they drafted last year seems to be doing well in Brooklyn. It is a long way away and will take longer than the top pitchers we have, but we seem to have a pipeline again.

    • Den Dekker is an outfield prospect, though perhaps not a power bat (which is what I assume you mean by an impact bat).
      Nimmo has potential to be an impact player, though I grant he is probably not in Queens prior to 2015.
      What the Mets have to offer is not going to bring back an impact bat. You are right, the only way to solve that is to spend some money in the offseason. I wonder what the FA pool looks like, outside of Josh Hamilton.

      • I have posted this before. I too was excited about den dekker but he is striking out one out of three times and that does not bode well for his future. Nimmo not exactly making people in Brooklyn forget the Duke either. sorry to say. As a matter of fact, it looks like the entire minor league system has taken a step back this year. the only exceptions being Harvey and Wheeler.

  5. Sorry John, but I disagree entirely. Sandy Alderson is being the “adult in the room” by not trading for the sake of trading. There is an old but very true saying in baseball that the best trades are sometimes the ones you don’t make. Even if the Mets had gotten Jonathan Broxton or any of the other releif pitchers that may have been available, how many wins more would they have accomplished? 2? 3 maybe?

    The kind of deals this team needs to make need to be done in the offseason, especially now that the Madoff situation has stabilized and they have all of their investors in place.

    When the season first started, all I cared about were two things: progress and finishing the season with a winning record. If this team can do that, then that’s a monumental leap forward in this team’s eventual success.

    • Mets fan 69: Thanks for your comments. You’ve followed this team a lot longer than I have, so I defer to your frustration level. … I don’t know how much Broxton would have helped as there are no guarantees. … It might be semantics, but what is your definition of deals? Is it FA signings or trades? If it is trades, the Mets don’t have much to offer that will be an impact. FA signings is something else. Supposedly, the Mets’ financial problems are being resolved and they have more resources. Let’s see what they do with them.

      Your definition of progress is within reach. Let’s see if they reach it.-JD

  6. The Yankees made a trade a week ago… for Ichiro. This is somehow relevant to the Mets’ search for bullpen relief.

    The fact is, before the Mets were mired in this losing streak there weren’t good deals to be made, because it’s a massive sellers’ market for relievers and smart sellers wait until their buyers get frenzied and desperate towards the deadline, and once they were mired in this losing streak then getting a reliever or two wouldn’t have made any difference. Unless you really think we’d be better off having lost 11 or 12 rather than 13 out of 16.

    I agree with the other commenters; this wasn’t our year. Sandy recognizes that. Good for him for not flailing desperately to try to prove otherwise, and for not trading off a player for marginal returns just for the sake of making a trade. Make a trade when it tangibly improves the team in the short or long term, not when bored fans get jealous of other teams in July.

    • Adam: No, Ichiro doesn’t help the Mets’ need for bullpen help. But, it does reflect trades could have been made earlier. Would the Mets have had to overpay to improve their pitching? Most likely.

      Not doing anything indicates a lack of depth in the minors to use as chips. That much, we can agree on.

      One thing I repeatedly have said is there are no guarantees. Had the Mets traded for pitching help perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe I got caught up in the first half optimism, but I would have like to have seen a move.-JD

      • Perhaps Ichiro would not directly address the pen. However he would be good defensively and add speed to the team. I hear his bat is down this year, but he would have been a cheap improvement to the team and would cost us a few million which the team contends is not a problem.

        Having a better lineup and a better defense helps the pen because the pitchers can last longer in the game saving the pen from over use.

  7. The time to deal was when they were still in it. It was obvious the bullpen was the weakness that needed to be addressed. Losing Francisco made it that much worse. Nothing was done and the losses piled up and now there is no hope for this year. Hairston has been the best hitter the last month along with murph and has been a reliable power source all year. I am glad he is still on the team. The mets still have a chance to finish in 3rd place and above .500. We all would have taken that at the start of the year.