Given the constraints placed on him by ownership, here’s why Mets General Manager, Sandy Alderson, should be given the benefit of doubt considering the strength of the team he has put together for the 2018 season.
No one more than Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, took the wrath of fans and writers like myself over the past winter. The inaction and seeming complacency got to me more than once, and I was almost ready to pack it in, preparing myself for yet another ho-hum Mets season.
The True Father Of Moneyball when he was with the Oakland Athletics appeared to have lost the enthusiasm and competitive edge, and it seemed like the penny-pinching Wilpon team had finally beaten him down.
To his credit, Alderson didn’t panic as it became clear the Nationals were the overwhelming favorite to win the NL East and the Phillies were making moves that would culminate with the signing of Jake Arrietta. Meanwhile, Alderson made himself clear saying he was done with making moves for the sake of making moves. All fine and dandy, except there, were holes in dike everywhere on the Mets.
Methodically, Sandy Alderson quietly took action to fill most of those holes until he reached the point where the Mets can send a legitimately competitive team out there in 2018.
Alderson raised some eyebrows with his first move by signing Adrian Gonzalez, a degenerating hitter with a reputation for controversy as pointed out in this stinging article appearing in the New York Post back in January. But we’ve seen none of that, and at least for the moment, Dominic Smith has become an afterthought.
Jason Vargas was a good signing too, and no one could forecast the injury Vargas would suffer putting the Mets right back to where they started in trying to fortify their starting rotation. With the help of Mickey Callaway, the Mets were able to weed out the staff, making major moves in sending Zack Wheeler to the minors and “promoting” Robert Gsellman to the bullpen, where he has become an invaluable piece of the puzzle.
But perhaps the biggest, most intelligent, and needed move by the Mets and Alderson was bringing in Todd Frazier, a player who gives Nick Swisher a run for his money in terms of the enthusiasm he brings to a team. Frazier’s value this season will not be measured by his .230 batting average or lack of speed on the basepaths, but in the Mets clubhouse where an overhaul and influx of a new face to replace David Wright was in dire need.
Alderson also did a credible job in strengthening the Mets bullpen. The Mets’ relievers entered Saturday with the best WHIP (0.94) and batting average allowed (.160) in the majors. Their 1.16 ERA was second behind the Cubs’ 0.62. Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins, converted starters Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, and even Hansel Robles — have yet to allow a run this season, causing Callaway to observe:
Another crunch will come in July, though, especially if the Mets continue to play at their current level, maintaining themselves as a legitimate playoff contender. Alderson will at least have some bullets to fire at the Wilpons, pressuring ownership to fork up the money to trade for major league ready talent that is geared to push the team over the top, a la the Astros and what they accomplished by landing Justin Verlander.
It’s not likely the Mets will crack the top five, in the Power Rankings this season, although the team now sits at #8 according to The Sporting News (April 5). But the club Anderson has put together is well balanced and capable of making continued noise. More importantly, there’s no ho-hum in the Mets anymore.
Footnote: The Mets won their second consecutive game against the Washington Nationals by a score of 3-2 to up their season record to 6-1.
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