Mets GM Sandy Alderson was on with Mike Francesa yesterday to answer some questions about where the 2013 Mets currently stand. The team stands in the same spot as it stood since the R.A. Dickey deal, stalled. The picture Alderson gave of this upcoming Mets team was not very rosy but seriously what did you expect? Some of you in the fan base love having smoke blown up your ass, all you want to hear is positives and unfortunately for you the GM is not the smoke blowin’ type. Others are shocked; SHOCKED when the Alderson is candid and tells you the truth, that the outfield is not one he wants to put on the field and that he is having a hard time constructing a bullpen that doesn’t contend for the worst in baseball. He also is on the level when he tells you there isn’t much out there in either trade or free agency that would make a whole helluva lot of difference so why just spend precious Skill Sets Bucks to prove that he has precious Sill Sets Bucks to spend.
Let’s look at some of the highlights from Alderson’ call with ’ ZAUN:
On what his ball club looks like right now and how he’ll improve it going forward Alderson said:
Well I’d say right now it’s an incomplete. But there’s still time in the semester, to give an educational metaphor. We’ve been watching the market, we know what’s available, we’ve known what’s available. We reconvene and review periodically, meaning every couple of days. There are a number of things that we’re currently involved in pursuing. But we’re hopeful we’ll have some additions before spring training starts, and I expect that we will have some additions, but at this point to say we’ve been patient is probably an understatement but that’s what we’ve been.
I get the idea that Alderson would have loved to have made further renovations to this roster but the over value of many of this year’s uninspiring free agent class and unreasonable trade options have hinder that plan. Would Alderson like to trade for Justin Upton? Sure. Would he deal away Zack Wheeler for him? Hell no. Would he like to bring in a veteran outfielder? Of course. But would he go 3years/$39mil (Shane Victorino to the Red Sox) or even 3 years/$26 mil (Cody Ross to the D’Backs) ? Nope, and if he did you know you’d scream holy hell.
On Travis d’Arnaud making the club’s opening day roster:
Yeah, I think it would be unfair given his situation, the level of his development to say, look, he can’t make the team out of spring training, but we had a somewhat open situation with Matt Harvey last year, too, and he had a fairly good spring training, and yet he opened the season at the minor league level. I just don’t want to rule anything out. At the same time, I don’t want to create false expectations on the part of our fans or any sense of pressure on Travis himself. But look, he hasn’t played since last June, he was out all the second half of last season with the knee injury. He would have been in the big leagues last year had he not been injured. Had he not been injured and played last year, I doubt he would have been available to us in a trade. So you take the good with the bad. But as far as Opening Day is concerned, he could be with us, but we do have a very capable veteran in John Buck as well.
Ok now Alderson is blowing smoke up your ass. d’Arnaud only breaks camp with the team if Buck gets hurt, otherwise his arbitrational clock is more important than early season big league at bats. Last season’s knee injury and lack of playing in the second half of last season will come in handy to justify this decision.
The next topic to come up from ‘ZAUN was the outfield:
Well, the outfield is not a strength at this point, there’s no question about that. There’s a need for an upgrade at almost every one of those positions. Some of it could come internally. We may see Lucas Duda substantially improve defensively and offensively.
Or we may not see Lucas Duda substantially improve defensively and offensively. Duda is a liability in the outfield and would be a perfect DH if he could…you…know….HIT! Is it me or does Duda also strike you as a guy you makes playing baseball a chore?
Alderson then laid out what the outfield could look like on opening day:
We’re looking at him(Duda) in left. Center field right now is probably [Kirk] Nieuwenhuis and a player we obtained from the A’s, Colin Cowgill, who I think will be an interesting player to watch in spring training.
Ah yes Colin Cowgill. I too am interested in seeing Cowgill play as he looks to be the player that Mets have been waiting for the Alderson regime to bring in, the under the radar AAA to AAAA player who gets a chance to play regularly and makes an a strong contribution. From looking at Cowgill’s minor league numbers he’s shown the ability to get on base, to steal a base and not get caught hit with a bit of power and his defense is a major plus and he bats right handed. Cowgill is an upgrade over Scott Hairstion and speaking of Scott Hairstion he is the exchange between ‘Zaun (‘Zaun is a play on the name of Francesa’s show Mike’s On but when the singers of his theme song make it sound like “MIKE ZAUN”) and Alderson:
Francesa: You expect to have a Hairston back or another player in the mix before the season starts?
Alderson: Oh, we’re working on it. Yeah. And I think there’s been speculation about Scott. I think that…
Francesa: That he asked for too much money…
Alderson: You know, money’s always an issue and I wouldn’t deny that, but it’s also a question of playing time and he wants to play — we understand that — and one of the things that exists for us right now, the dynamic is, that in order for us to sign Scott we want to be able to commit a certain amount of playing time. This is where you balance two or three things going on at the same time. If one or two other things were to happen, it might affect his playing time. So it’s not just about the money, it’s also about playing time and what we can readily commit to Scott.
Francesa: You want to see what you can pull off before you commit to him?
Alderson: [Pause] … Uhh, yeah.
Francesa: Okay, that’s fair. I think that’s fair. I mean, it is fair. I mean, so it’s not a case of it just being a price, it’s also a situation of a couple other things actually can still happen or not.
Alderson: Yeah, absolutely.
Trying to read between the lines here, it seems Alderson is waiting and hoping that some GM out there (Kevin Towers) panics and will trade from an over stocked outfield for some fringe prospects. It goes back to the Upton talk I think Alderson believes he still has a shot at Upton and at his price but it’s going to take some more time and some more patience’s to pull it off. Even if it’s not Upton he gets it, seems before he commits those precious Skill Sets Bucks to Hairston, he leaves no options uncovered. No one is giving Scott Hairston 2ys/$8mil.
Alderson goes on in the rest of the interview to talk about how he sees both Johan Santana and Dillon Gee bouncing back from injury, how he hopes the younger bullpen arms he has will make an impact, how he has an eye on 2014 but his ‘dominant eye” is on 2013, and how he’s not happy with the way the Mets have finished that lase few seasons.
Big tip of the Mets cap to Amazin’ Avenue and Eric Simon and Steve Flanagan who posted a transcript of Francesa and Alderson’s conversation. Great job guys !