Sandy Alderson spoke Sunday in Orlando and said the Mets are unwilling to pay top dollar for a relief pitcher; acquiring a starting pitcher is fourth on their list of three priorities; and he is not likely to acquire a first baseman who would block Dominic Smith.
Similarly, while the Mets have reportedly expressed interest in trading for second basemen Josh Harrison (Pirates) and Ian Kinsler (Tigers), two New York beat reporters said Sunday they are skeptical the Mets have enough talent or financial flexibility to match up for either player in trade.
Is Alderson serious, or is he saying these things as a negotiating tactic?
I suppose anything is possible. I mean, like most GMs, Alderson does have a history of saying one thing to reporters then doing something entirely different...
For instance, last winter, he and his front office were so loud and consistent when downplaying their chances of re-signing Yoenis Cespedes that reporters resulted to fighting with fans on Twitter trying to convince people that the Mets were not going to spend the necessary money to get a deal done. The next day, which followed a night of reports indicating the Nationals were moving in on him, Cespedes accepted a four-year, $110 million contract from the Mets, which his agent later said had been on the table for several weeks.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson and OF Yoenis Cespedes (Image Credits: USA Today Sports)
My other favorite back-and-forth occurred five years ago when, after spending weeks telling local media that R.A. Dickey's contract demands were more than the Mets had in mind, Alderson told multiple reporters that the potential for a contract extension had emerged. Fans grew excited about the idea that Dickey would not be traded and return to Citi Field in 2013, at which point Alderson sent Dickey to the Blue Jays for Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, and others.
Similarly, after taking over in 2010, Alderson first hinted then eventually said on record that Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and Jason Bay were all likely to be in camp with the Mets the next spring because he had no interest in eating their salary. In less than a month after making each statement, Alderson cut all three players from the roster and absorbed every single penny of their respective contracts.
Alderson's comments on Sunday felt different to me, though. He doesn't usually cover that much ground with the same tone and similar message for every question. I'd love to think he's simply lowering everyone's expectations, while strategically manipulating agents and colleagues in advance of an amazing counter punch.
This time, I don't think it is spin. I'm afraid it may prove to be true...
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Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...