The Mets aren’t exactly sprinting out of the spring training gate – and their outfield remains a question – but GM Sandy Alderson doesn’t have any regrets about not signing Michael Bourn or trading for Justin Upton.
Parting with either, or the pick, was contrary to the Mets’ plan of building from within. Now wasn’t the time to regress in that objective.
“We’re not that far away,’’ Alderson said in a phone interview. “I hate to deal in speculation, but let’s just say for example that we had signed Michael Bourn or we had traded for Justin Upton if things had fallen and we were able to keep Wheeler or keep Harvey, people would be looking at the Mets very differently.
“We’re not going to do anything unless we look like we’re smarter than the other guy. No. But right now, we have to be careful before we pull that trigger.’’
The dilemma Mets faced was they believe they have future difference makers in Wheeler and Harvey, with the latter potentially proving that this summer. Meanwhile, as good as Bourn and Upton can be, Alderson doesn’t think either would have raised the Mets to contender status.
Alderson insists the Mets have the resources in money and prospects to add at the trade deadline. Last year he hesitated; this summer he might not if the Mets are ahead of schedule.
“We have the currency,’’ Alderson said. “The financial situation is very different today than it was two years ago for a lot of reasons, including contracts coming off the books. We’re in a different situation development-wise, we have players to trade if we desire. There are things we can do.
“I understand people look at the outfield. Things just didn’t work out there, and I certainly take responsibility. Could we have jumped earlier and gotten someone who was a marginal improvement over what we have? Yes, probably we could have, but it would be marginal improvement as opposed to something significant.’’
I see the holes in the outfield, but still believe this team will compete with its pitching, and there’s considerable work to do in that area. Johan Santana likely won’t be ready for the season and will be gone by next year; Dillon Gee is coming off surgery; Jon Niese is the de facto ace with a career-high 13 victories; Harvey remains a prospect; and the bullpen is patchwork to be comprised of veteran castoffs and Bobby Parnell.
I’ve always believed it is easier to add in the outfield than with pitching. If the Mets insist on building with pitching that’s fine because there will always be someone like Bourn or Upton they could add later if the gap to the next level isn’t as wide.