Jul 13

Alderson dances around trade and future.

What else was Sandy Alderson going to say?

In a classic case of GM-Speak, Alderson said today in a conference call, “I certainly wouldn’t draw any conclusions from this transaction,’’ regarding this morning’s trade of Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee.

ALDERSON: Dances the dance.

 

 

He might be the only one.

This was about dumping salary, totally understandable considering the Mets didn’t want to pick up Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option. How well the Mets have played was irrelevant because clearing themselves of the option was their primary objective, although Alderson downplayed this issue.

He wasn’t believable.

Alderson insisted the Mets’ goal the rest of the way will be winning games, but that’s a tough sell considering he just traded their closer, and is actively looking to move Carlos Beltran, and wouldn’t say no to anybody asking about Jose Reyes.

Trading Rodriguez offers payroll flexibility, but realistically we’re only talking about 2012, and Reyes reportedly will seek six or seven years.

Alderson said there’s no connection between Rodriguez and possibly trading Beltran, but what other conclusion can you make? The Mets want to shave payroll and aren’t a realistic contender, so the fire sale seems the only realistic way for this season to play itself out.

Anybody can see that, so why can’t Alderson just admit it and spare us the GM-Speak?

 

Jun 16

Sandy Alderson speaks, but what is he really saying?

ALDERSON: What's he really saying?

As usual, there’s a lot of issues floating around the Mets, and general manager Sandy Alderson touched on several this morning on WFAN.

Not all his comments can be interpreted in the positive, and for the most park he spoke in GM-speak, which means more smoke than fire and nothing definitive.

Among the issues:

Jose Reyes: Alderson recognized the year Reyes is having, but said he doesn’t know if the shortstop intends to test free agency and hasn’t determined the parameters of a contract offer.

This seems incomprehensible. First of all, How can Alderson not plan on Reyes testing the market? He can’t be naïve enough to believe the player will take what the Mets offer in the offseason without testing the market. The only way he won’t is if he commits to the Mets now and he certainly won’t without a contract offer.

For an offer to be made, Alderson has to have limits and I can’t see how an opening offer hasn’t already been determined, even with the Wilpon’s financial troubles. The Mets must know the price keeps rising the better Reyes performs and they need to make a decision now on whether they want to keep him.

Reyes has played well enough, and long enough, so far for that decision to be made. If the Mets are waiting to see if he’ll make it through the year healthy, then they seriously risk losing him. The longer this drags on, the odds get longer on him staying with the Mets.

As far as trading him, Alderson won’t tip his hand, but must realize that with how well the team is playing he risks the fans losing interest if the Mets deal Reyes.

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May 25

How much does Alderson know about Wilpon’s finances?

GM Sandy Alderson said a $100 million budget is news, and he hasn’t spoken with owner Fred Wilpon about next season. Alderson anticipates a payroll between $100 million and $145 million. That’s a wide berth, and the spectrum ranges from being able to compete to being a bottom feeder.

ALDERSON: How much does he know about Wilpon's finances?

When he took the job, Alderson said expectations are high in this market and meeting them means spending. Alderson said it is not guaranteed the Mets won’t make an offer to Jose Reyes. There can be no assumption made, Alderson said, Reyes will be is gone.

Alderson has made some conflicting comments regarding his role and the Mets’ financial picture. He said going in he knew money would be tight around the Mets, and indicated just because money will be come off the books doesn’t mean there will be wild spending next winter. He also said he’s been assured there’s enough money to make a contract proposal to Reyes.

How big that proposal is uncertain, but there doesn’t appear to be any indication it will be made any time soon.

Considering Alderson’s reputation, I find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have greater knowledge of Wilpon’s financial problems then he is letting on. Maybe not to the penny, but definitely with a handle on next season’s budget.

How do you take such a job without knowing that information?

Or, considering he took the job at the urging of commissioner Bud Selig, maybe he knows it all and is just minding the store until it is sold.

May 04

Reyes trade rumors simmering again.

There’s buzz today after Jose Reyes’ stellar game Tuesday night when he reached base six times, unbelievably three times on walks.

REYES: We like his uniform dirty.

It is the kind of game the Mets routinely expect from Reyes, but one not often received the last two seasons because of a variety of injuries.

That the Mets couldn’t parlay such a performance into victory says that as potentially potent Reyes can be, this team still has weaknesses it must fix before it can return to contender status. These are holes that can be filled in part by what Reyes might bring back in a trade.

Bottom line: The Mets aren’t a contender now with Reyes and likely won’t be one if they deal him without making complementary deals.

Reyes passed the audition in the eyes of the San Francisco Giants, who, like every other team are discussing their options, of who interests them and whom they are willing to offer.

It is too early for serious trade discussions, but not too early to laying the foundation for when things heat up in June and July.

The Giants have not made and offer to the Mets for Reyes, but are doing their research. For the Giants, they will undoubtedly ask for a negotiating window, but if denied, San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean should have already decided whether he will sacrifice one of their top pitching talents or prospects to acquire Reyes as a rental.

From the Mets’ perspective, general manager Sandy Alderson must decide whether the return off prospects from the Giants, or Boston, or whomever wants Reyes, is greater than the draft picks they would get should the All-Star shortstop leave via free agency.

Alderson wanted to see two things from Reyes before deciding the 27-year-old shortstop’s fate in New York. The first was Reyes’ health, especially his legs and the first returns have been positive, although I find it puzzling as to why he didn’t try to steal second late in the game.

Secondly, Alderson wanted to see Reyes perform and for the most part he has with a .325 average and 11 steals in 29 games, but there were concerns about his on-base percentage before it surged to .377 last night. Still, an elite leadoff hitter, as Reyes is supposed to be, should be north of .400.

Reyes’ career on-base percentage is .336 and he has averaged 81 strikeouts and 51 walks a year during his career. The latter two numbers need to be reversed.

Reportedly the asking price for Reyes is a package of $100 million-plus, which Alderson said the Mets can afford, although they might not have much left for little else. With Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and likely Francisco Rodriguez off the books there should be plenty of money left after this season to bring back Reyes if they really wanted.

The Mets don’t appear inclined to push things with Reyes. Alderson said he’s not adverse to talking contract during the season, although Reyes has said to the contrary.

Alderson still has time to see if Reyes remains healthy and productive. Whether Reyes stays or not, the Mets will receive something in return.

What they really must decide is if they want Reyes instead.

 

Apr 19

Dealing Beltran, Reyes will be difficult.

The more I think of it, the less I believe the Mets will pull off a significant deal at the trade deadline involving Carlos Beltran and/or Jose Reyes.

REYES: Don't see him, Beltran, going anywhere.

The Mets would love to rid themselves of the balance of Beltran’s contract, but several scouts have reportedly said they couldn’t recommend a trade for the often-injured outfielder based on his age, salary and injury history. Even should Beltran stay upright and hit until late July, there is the fear he could break down as he has in each of the previous two seasons. I see a team not going overboard on the players it would send the Mets, but also envision the reluctance or not wanting to pick up the rest of Beltran’s $18.5 million contract at the end of July.

It would be too risky a move for a contender, especially if there are other alternatives on the market. Why take that risk when the odds are Beltran will hobble again between now and the end of the season? Any team interested in Beltran is likely to wait until the winter when it wouldn’t have to surrender talent and would have the leverage in the money.

For now, the Mets are waiting for a desperate team.

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