Monday, November 01, 2010

Best GM since Cashen

I think Sandy Alderson was the best possible choice for GM. The Mets needed someone with enough age/experience/reputation to force the Wilpons to take a less active role in the baseball decisions. I don't know if Alderson will have relatively complete autonomy, but he has a much better chance of receiving it than Hahn, Byrnes, or Daniels would have.

It's been a long time since Alderson has been a GM, but all indications are that he'll be a modern, stat-friendly GM. Alderson was ahead of his time - an Ivy League grad without a playing/scouting background who was a GM well before that became a common resume for the position.

But, before we get too excited, I think it's important to realize that the Mets have dug themselves a decent-sized hole, and it won't be so easy to turn around the organization over night. Every other team in the division has at least one legitimate future superstar in his early 20s. In last year's rankings, Baseball America's top 3 prospects in baseball were all from the NL East (Heyward, Strasburg, Stanton). BA's mid-season rankings had the Phillies' Domonic Brown at #1. I assume the Nats' Bryce Harper will be joining him near the top of the list. Prospect expert John Sickels recently said about the Mets: "I am impressed with the depth in C+ guys. What the Mets lack are surefire elite types."

Fortunately, the Mets have more of one thing than any other team in the division: revenue potential. So, while players like Ike Davis and Jon Niese will never be superstars, the Mets can hopefully plug enough positions with these cheap young guys that they can afford to spend big on a few top free agents in the next few years and start contending for real in 2012.

In the short run, I'm pretty pessimistic about the team's chances in 2011, so I'm mostly hoping that Alderson starts spending big on draft picks and young international signings. The Mets need to build a much better farm system.

As for making bold moves, the only valuable trade assets the Mets have that could be dealt for prospects are David Wright and Jose Reyes. I understand it would be a very tough sell to the fan base unless the Mets got an elite young talent back in return for either of those guys. If I was Alderson, I'd seriously explore what the market for Wright and/or Reyes is, but might be hesitant to pull the trigger unless I was blown away by an offer. Trading Reyes makes more sense because he's a free agent at the end of the season. I'm not sure what a realistic return for him would be - Casey Kelly and Daniel Bard from the Red Sox would probably be both too much for the Sox to give up and not enough to please the NY fans.


coachie said...

obvi the return for hobbled-big contract guys like santana and beltran would be minimal, but it would be mutually beneficial if they both left.

as for spending money, is it ever worth investing $ in long-term contracts? The gints didn't need it (must be weird for baked ziti to take part in the partying) the phils of 2 years ago didn't get there with big contracts.

cannatar said...

I don't think there's any way to trade Johan without paying a significant portion of his salary. Maybe if he comes back healthy in the second half this year, that will change. Pretty much the same story with Beltran except there's only one season left on his deal.

The Giants drafted four good-to-excellent starting pitchers in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007. The 2007 Phillies drafted their key players in 1996 (Rollins), 1998 (Burrell), 2000 (Utley), 2001 (Howard), and 2002 (Hamels).
Building through the draft is a good way to build a team, but it takes 5-10 years before it pays off.
I think the Red Sox are the model for the Mets. Boston has done a great job in the draft, but also spends on free agents.
You need to get your stars from somewhere. As I pointed out in my post, the Mets don't have any in their farm system.

If we're using World Series teams as role models, the Rangers might be a better choice if we want to trade a star player near the end of his contract (Teixeira) for some useful prospects (Neftali & Andrus). But I don't think Reyes will bring back nearly as much.

cannatar said...

One more note - sometimes big contracts work out just as well as great draft picks.

Johan has thrown 600 innings in 3 seasons with the Mets and has a 2.85 ERA.
Lincecum over the last 3 years has thrown 664 innings and has a 2.83 ERA.

coachie said...

Which makes it all the more insulting that Johan finished third, THIRD, in the 2008 cy young voting. His numbers were comparable that year to Timmy's, and certainly better than Brandon Webb's.

Why is Wally Backman's name mentioned at all in the managerial discussion?

Fred Coupon said...

I like the hire too, but we all have to pay attention to next spring's draft and the contracts doled out. No more settling for cheap and crappy college relievers.

Omar had a knack for signing margin guys (Endy, Valentin, Tatis, Dickey), and I hope Sandy and his team can find value on the cheap (and it can be had, look at the Padres).

One thing that would really encourage me is if Sandy could bring DePodesta in. Didn't he help build the Dodgers farm system before Ned Coletti mortgaged it for the McCourts?

coachie said...

well, if there's one thing the padres and giants have proved is that you can win in a big park.

but i still find new shea's dimensions annoying.

cannatar said...

Good sign re rebuilding the farm:

"Ricciardi told us that the Mets will become major players Internationally and will also be able to over-pay slot for talent in later rounds"

-jim bowden on twitter