Sandy Alderson believes waiting out the free-agent and trade market is the best way to get the Mets back to being a playoff-contending team, according to Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert.
"Sometimes, you can get the better deals after the meetings by waiting and going into January," a rival NL East executive told Ackert. "It's a gamble, but for us, we'll wait and see what happens."
In addition to adding a new manager and coaching staff, the Mets this offseason have retained Jerry Blevins and Asdrubal Cabrera, and signed free-agent reliever Anthony Swarzak. They remain focused on acquiring a starting second baseman and possibly a corner outfielder that can play first base.
Jul 21, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jerry Blevins (39) (Brad Penner)
"Alderson has already proven he's willing to roll the dice, now he's willing to wait and see how the rest of the winter plays out," Ackert concludes.
I'm glad Kristie added the above quote to her article. Because, though I know it seems like it, it's not just the Mets that are slow-playing the market and spending less. In fact, I've been told by three different player agents that more than half of the league's teams say they've been given less money to spend this winter when compared to a year ago.
This is why, for me, the issue with Alderson isn't so much the idea of spending less or even reducing payroll, it's my worry that he may do it by shortchanging himself at every position.
Initial reports indicated the team should have up to $30 million remaining to spend on new talent, but Alderson's recent comments and behavior suggests that number could be a significantly less.
I have no issue with hunting for bargains, especially when in need of multiple players to solve multiple problems. However, there can be a significant difference between getting a good deal and getting what you need to win.
The Mets currently need at least one legitimate, every day, durable hitter for their lineup, especially because there is no guarantee Michael Conforto is ready for Opening Day.
The Mets also need an experienced, professional starting second or third baseman. They almost certainly will need another experienced, durable starting pitcher, and if they don't bolster the bullpen further, they're going to wish they added more than just Swarzak.
There is no team in baseball that gets the exact player they want to fill every single need. I don't care if a team spends $250 million or just $50 million, they all settle at some positions, they all bargain hunt, and they eventually all use Plan B to solve problems.
Is Alderson executing his Plan A right now, or has he moved on Plan B, C or maybe even D? I don't have the answer.
I find it hard to believe that -- if money were not an issue -- he'd choose a Jay Bruce and Dominic Smith platoon over Carlos Santana or Eric Hosmer. I can't buy that he'd rather a team full of utility guys over having Jason Kipnis and Logan Morrison on the right side of his infield. I actually do think Swarzak was a top target, based on how the team's description and hope for him match with how other teams talked about him in Orlando. But, I can't imagine Alderson entered this winter thinking Swarzak would be his top addition to the bullpen.
I hope Alderson wants another reliever in addition to Swarzak, as well as more than a platoon for his lineup, a utility guy for infield, and a journeyman, reclamation project for his rotation. I realize Dave Eiland with Mickey Callaway's strategy and tactics combined with a healthy pitching staff may be enough to get the Mets to a .500 season regardless of what happens in the field or batter's box. However, if the Mets want to do get as close to fielding a team that has an honest chance to get to the postseason as they can, Alderson has to fill at least one or two holes with more than just bargains and Plan B.
Is it going wild for Hosmer? Is it giving the extra player to the Indians to get Kipnis? Is it taking on all $82 million in salary to get Evan Longoria from the Rays? Is it doing a 180-degree turn and signing Jake Arrieta or Wade Davis? I have no idea, but it would help to pick one, Sandy. Just one. I'm not saying the Mets need to acquire all of the above. I'm simply wanting one guy -- one legit, established producer that pulls the team up, not sideways or down.
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...