Around the Horn: Sandy Wants to Stay, Noah Impresses, Duda a Dud (Palindrome Edition), and Alderson’s 5 Best Moves

As I’ve told any team I’ve ever coached when they were flinging the ball around the infield, “If it ain’t snappy, it’s crappy!

New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

* Sandy Alderson wants to stay for another few years.

This might surprise some readers, but I think this is a good thing for two main reasons. First, it tells me that he wants to be around for the good times, and that he believes there will be good times ahead. Second, teams benefit from organizational continuity. Obviously, incompetent management, coaches, and players all need to be quickly moved out. But overall, it’s a positive when teams can forge consistency up and down through the organization — a “way,” so to speak. In baseball, as in life, there are many different paths to success. The important thing is to stick with an approach and work at it. Constantly rebuilding, rethinking, reworking often becomes a negative. Too many sports franchises overreact to every bump encountered along the road. While Sandy Alderson has been a source of frustration here at “2 Guys,” overall I’d give him a positive grade. (Aside: I do not feel this way about Terry Collins.)

* Regarding the annual Davis-Duda Debacle, a friend wrote in our comments section: “The only reason I can see for both still being here is that neither has any significant trade value and the front office is afraid that they may flourish elsewhere. But at some point you have to make a decision whatever the consequences are and move forward to the next option.

Sorry, but this is what a good bench player looks like.

Sorry, but this is what a good bench player looks like.

The thinking should be: Who is going to help the New York Mets win games? Then act accordingly. I believe that Sandy is determined to stick with Ike Davis at 1B. Duda may be the better option to start, but it’s not in any of the tea leaves that I’ve been reading. However, Lucas Duda is a terrible option for the bench. He’s simply too limited a player for that role, where teams essentially have four available players (the backup catcher is almost never used in a game). Duda can’t run, can’t help you in the field, can’t hit LHP. He has one skill, LH power bat, on a team that will already have Davis, Granderson, and Murphy in the lineup. Given the Mets’ overall construction — and we’ve been saying this for years — Lucas doesn’t bring enough to the table as a bench player. OTOH, I think he could be of use to several other teams, particularly in the AL, particularly if they need a LH bat. Right or wrong, he’s gotta go, because he’s not going to help the New York Mets in 2014.

Where's Jeff's fireman's hat? He loves that hat!

Where’s Jeff’s fireman’s hat? He loves that hat!

* To the surprise of no one, Noah blew them all away in camp.

Remember, a lot of these Mets coaches have never actually seen Noah Syndergaard throw a pitch. And predictably, the big fella impressed them. That’s great. Already some observers have called for bringing him up in April because, you know, the crazy notion of putting the best players on the field. Making winning a priority. Bringing in fans. And so on. As Earnie Palladino wrote, “Dollars and cents always seem to take priority over wins and losses, and there is where a lot of the Mets’ problems lie.”

My two cents? I’ve been beaten down by pennywise management. I’ve reluctantly come to accept that this is going to be another phony Super 2 deal. We’ll hear how Noah needs more work on his change-up, and he will come in July, maybe too late to make a difference this season. But it is all the more reason why the timetable for Mejia and Montero must move up. They can’t run along the same track as Noah. With Mejia, the guy debuted on April 7, 2010. The clock has been ticking for a while. If healthy, get him firing those bullets in the Bigs. Same with Montero, who has aced six levels of the Mets minor league system. The pipeline needs to open for the organization’s talented, young players. This includes Flores and Lagares, too. Alas.

* Todd Singer of Rant Sports provided this insane list of Sandy Alderson’s five best moves:

  1. Trading for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud
  2. Trading for Zack Wheeler
  3. Signing and Trading Marlon Byrd
  4. Signing Bartolo Colon
  5. Trading for Eric Young, Jr.

First off, notice anything missing? David Wright’s contract deserves to be on this thing, don’t you think? Or has spending money somehow become a bad thing? Is that where we’ve gotten to nowadays? I’d also add the Niese contract extension to this list. Trading Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey were both sad, necessary moves and it appears that the Mets GM came away with excellent hauls. But again: In Dickey, he was trading away the Cy Young Award Winner! He was set up for a great haul, and maybe Wil Myers would have been the better fit. We don’t know that now. I wonder if anyone would trade Syndergaard/d’Arnaud for Myers straight up today? It’s interesting to ponder. Alderson would be the first to admit that he got lucky with the Byrd signing, though he made an astute move by pairing Byrd with Buck in the Pirates trade. Signing Colon? That’s the fourth best move? Yikes. And trading for Eric Young stands as the type of minor, simple, obvious deal that we’ve been begging Alderson to make since the day he arrived. He gave up excess pitching for bench strength (it’s not my fault that Terry mistakes Eric Young for a starter). Again, acquiring Wheeler and Syndergaard could go down as highlights in Mets history. It could also go down as a footnote that in the process he dealt away Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey. Some of us might recall that they weren’t exactly chopped liver. And that sometimes the best GM moves are keeping the guys you’ve already got.


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  1. Eraff says:

    Alderson was Brought here for his most specific strengths in helping a struggling organization retrench financially. He also provides an excellent and substantial FACE for an ownership both toward the fan base and MLB itself.

    The premise that he would bring “Money Ball with Money” seems to have been an obvious distraction. Ownership and Sandy knew why he was here and what he needed to do.

    He WAS and perhaps remains the right Man for this Job….as Long as HIS biggest strengths are needed.

    When The Mets get back to being a Baseball Operation as a Fully Functioning Major Market Team, Sandy’s strengths will be of lesser importance. He has NEVER been a Baseball Guy. His assistants have had their shots with full run of organizations….they have failed as team builders when in Primary Leadership roles.

    This team will HOPEFULLY soon need a Transformative Leader as a Primary Baseball Man—- at least I hope they will. That person is not yet on Board. It is not Sandy, although that person may work under Sandy. It is Not Ricciardi or Depo.

    That’s NEXT…

    • Michael Geus says:

      Under Alderson the team has seen it’s Operating Revenue plummet, with some offsetting Expense saves. The team on the field has lost on the field, not one season over .500. The idea that has been floated all along is that this was all unavoidable due to the inheritance of large contracts gone bad.

      As a charitable guy then I give him an incomplete so far.

      Those contracts have now expired and Alderson has also had three full years to build the overall organization. And forget the total payroll, this offseason Sandy had a lot of money to spend on new players for 2014. That money was invested in Granderson, Colon, and Young.

      Going forward it is now time to judge him simply, wins and loses. Win 85 games or more this year, make the playoffs in 2015 and the overall job could be viewed as positive. Anything less and this team needs to see if someone more energetic and innovative can figure out how to win with the Wilpons.

      I also value continuity too, and would be sad if Alderson left tomorrow. But eventually there has to be tangible results, it makes no sense to just keep the wrong guy in the job because he is in it.

      As far as I’m concerned he is on the clock.

      • I would be shocked and delighted if the Mets win 85 games this year. Asking for that kind of improvement in the year they lose Matt Harvey is a very tall order. If pushed, I’d say this is a 77-win team (though it’s too early to make that prediction). I really think it’s about 2015; the initial timetable was unrealistic, given the budget and the time required for prospects to gain trade value and an ability to impact the major leagues. The Mets should have a couple of spare chips this next winter. BP’s Pecota system has the Mets at 73 wins. They are punting this year. However, I think the roster at the end of the season will be stronger than it is at the beginning.

        • Michael Geus says:

          The actions this offseason do not indicate punting to me. Three moves were made for new players, all at considerable expense. One, Young, was signed only for 2014. The other two are much more likely to have a good season in 2014 then 2015. In Colon’s case I would say much much more likely.

          On the other hand, I think these moves collectively hurt prospects for 2015, hopefully not too badly. Most of that I pin on how much Colon’s 2015 salary will hurt us. And if people think we are just going to flip the guy, who exactly do they think is going to assume that contract? We sure know Fred isn’t going to eat any of it.

          Now, to be clear I am not declaring this team an 85 win team or a 58 win team. It’s still February. But for me, anything less than 85 wins is a fail for 2014. From there would come a reassessment for 2015 etc.

          I’ve had to sit through 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Four straight under .500 teams. During that period the GM was very transparent that he needed until 2014. That is now.

          There are always a lot of bad teams out there, it doesn’t take a team of Hall of Famers to win 85 games. It’s a lousy three games over .500.

          And I’m rooting for him big time, I’m ready and willing to watch an exciting, winning, Mets team.

        • ERAFF says:

          i See 77-83 Wins

  2. Michael Geus says:

    Signing Wright to that contract was a great move. Look at what guys got this year (when David would have hit the market.)

  3. Eraff says:

    True enough…now let’s hope for Production ( HEALTH)

  4. Alan K. says:

    Sandy is staying is good for several reasons. Based on their past experience, it’s questionable whether DePodesta or Ricciardi are equipped to take the reins as full time GM. Secondly Alderson has been reasonably effective as a company spokesman who has given the organization some badly needed gravitas. Finally and most important, he prevents Jeff from having the ability to meddle into personnel decisions, something Jeff might be more apt to do if DePodesta or Ricciardi were the GM.

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