Grading the New York Mets' Offseason Moves
But they haven't been exactly stagnant either. With some bad contracts finally coming off the books and the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme finally dissipating, the Mets entered the winter shopping season with a slightly higher budget than in previous years.
And with those funds, Alderson didn't necessarily make the flashiest moves, but he made the moves he felt would help his club, both short and long term.
So, as we enter spring training, let's take a look at how Alderson's offseason report card looks right now.
Curtis Granderson: A-
Outfielder Curtis Granderson was the recipient of the biggest contract the Mets handed out this winter, agreeing to a four-year, $60 million deal in December. The "Grandy Man" will supply the Mets with a much-needed power/speed combination in the middle of the lineup, as well as solid defense in their outfield.
Granderson had a down year in 2013, the last of four seasons with the Yankees. He played in just 61 games after being plunked on two separate occasions, each resulting in a broken bone (pinkie and forearm).
But, fully healed, if Granderson can revert back to something close to his 2011-12 production, in which he totaled 84 home runs, the Mets will be reaping some serious rewards while paying him a relatively low salary.
Bartolo Colon: B
In a rather desperate need for a front-line starter, the Mets inked right-hander Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million contract in December. Colon, 40, is coming off another remarkable season in Oakland where he went 18-6 with a sparkling 2.65 ERA. He flashed impeccable control as well, walking just over a batter per nine innings, earning his third career All-Star nomination in 2013.
The question is, pitching into his 40s, how much more does Colon have left? It's quite possible Colon has two good years left and Sandy Alderson could look like a genius with this signing. But there's always the chance that Colon breaks down and misses significant time as well.
At $10 million per year, the investment in Colon is too extreme. And there was no question the Mets needed a veteran to help anchor an otherwise young pitching staff. Mets fans are certainly hoping, however, that this doesn't backfire like so many free-agent signings of theirs have before.
Chris Young: B
Early on in the offseason, Sandy Alderson signed Chris Young to a one-year, $7.25 million contract, looking to add some more speed and athleticism to his outfield. And, with any hope, he will provide that and much more for the Mets.
Young has shown in the past that he can be a quality bat in the lineup. From 2007-12 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Young belted 130 home runs and amassed 110 stolen bases.
After the 2012 season, Young was dealt to Oakland where his offense took a dip. He hit just .200 with 12 home runs in 335 at-bats.
He should supply the Mets with enough speed and power to boost the club compared to its incumbent set of outfielders, but unless he can rebound to where his level was in Arizona, it may turn out that Alderson could have done better.
Jose Valverde: B-
The Mets recently retooled their bullpen by adding Jose Valverde to a minor league deal. "Papa Grande" appeared in just 20 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2013 before being designated for assignment, due in large to his 5.59 ERA and 8.4 hits-per-nine-innings.
But Valverde has been a dominant closer in years past, eclipsing 40 saves three times in his career. Going into his age-36 season, Valverde represents a low-risk, high-reward option to help solidify an otherwise questionable bullpen. Should incumbent closer Bobby Parnell not be ready for the start of the season—he is recovering from a back injury—or falter, Valverde would likely be first in line for save opportunities.