New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is in the midst of the final year of a four year contract. Since taking over for former GM Omar Minaya, Alderson has been able to build the team from the bottom up in spite of several obstacles. Foremost among the issues Alderson has had to deal with is the continuously dropping team payroll. Since Alderson’s first year in 2011, when the Mets sported a $142 million price tag on their roster, they have dropped payroll each season to its current level of $85 million. In spite of this, Alderson has turned over the roster in just a few years.
As is obvious to any of their fans, the team has not actually been good under Alderson. However, he has spent much of his time and resources rebuilding as a younger squad. The Mets’ best player, David Wright, is locked up through 2020 on a very reasonably priced deal. Alderson’s drafts have yet to pay huge dividends, but the Mets farm is solid, and that is after the graduation of one of Alderson’s best acquisitions in Zack Wheeler. Alderson traded Carlos Beltran for Wheeler when Beltran was about to hit free agency, getting back a near major league ready arm who has physical tools and has shown improvement in his approach and mental game.
In reality, the Mets could probably be fielding a playoff favorite if their payroll was expanded closer to the level it was in 2011. A $60 million drop is enormous, essentially an entire roster’s worth of players. For an exercise in frustration, imagine where the Mets could be with the addition of Robinson Cano, Shin-Soo Choo, Joe Smith, and Matt Garza. It is tough enough for fans, let alone the general manager whose job it is to field a competent team.
As it is, Alderson is not to blame for the losses the team has compiled, though that is not to say the GM is without faults. In an attempt to find something that works this year, Alderson has made a series of call-ups and demotions that have not seemed to jive with what manager Terry Collins envisions for his lineups. That lack of communication has resulted in long stretches of inactivity for young players on the team, notably Wilmer Flores after he was first recalled. Dysfunction runs rampant in the Mets’ organization, but Alderson has done as well as someone piloting a one-winged plane possibly could.
Alderson has said he wants two or three more years in his current place, and it seems like the Wilpons are inclined to keep him. That may not even be enough time to see this year’s first round draft pick Michael Conforto make the majors. If all goes well, though, the Mets could be in much better contending shape in 2015. They also have not given up on 2014 yet, hanging tough despite inconsistency. The Mets need to make sure they give their GM enough resources and time to complete his job, as his loss would be a big one for the team.
Commentary by Brian Moore
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering New York Baseball