Mets new general manager Sandy Alderson is well respected across Major League Baseball. He's supposed to be smart, and is known for building some good teams.
He admitted at his inaugural press conference that the team wouldn't be spending for high-priced free agents like the three that were out there. The Mets didn't have room in their outfield for a Werth or Crawford in the first place and Cliff Lee would be too expensive for the Mets budget. Heck, Lee didn't even want the Yankees' money, so forget about the idea of him taking Mets money.
None of that is the problem with what Alderson has done or hasn't done. The problem is the moves he's made that will certainly effect the roster in 2011.
Yes, next offseason will be big for the Mets as they'll have a ton of money to spend. But, Alderson has been quoted telling certain media members that he feels this Mets team can be competitive in 2011 "if everything goes right."
The Mets have always had that mindset. It's what hurt them mightily in 2009 when then-manager Jerry Manuel insisted his injured players would return in time for a playoff run. The team never got any players back, and in fact kept losing guys to injury.
Now, Alderson brings his talents to the Mets front office, but his moves so far better not be an indication of what's to come during his entire tenure. He's hurt the bullpen, while adding absolutely no starting pitching to an extremely depleted rotation.
Which move has been Alderson's worst so far?
He's made all but two moves thus far, both during the Winter Meetings and both very minor—although the players will be on the Major League roster.
He signed veteran backup catcher Ronny Paulino—who by the way was suspended for steroids this past season. Alderson's entire Oakland A's team were players who were on steroids, but at least they were more talented than Paulino is.
Paulino is only going to turn 30 during the season, but hasn't really done anything extraordinary in his career. Last season in 91 games with the Marlins, he hit .259 with four home runs.
He had a couple of good seasons under the pressure of playing in Pittsburgh in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, he hit .310 in 442 at-bats, which is great, but it was in Pittsburgh and he was younger.
He is much younger than Henry Blanco, but Blanco arguably had a better season than Paulino last season.
Alderson insists that Josh Thole will be the team's starting catcher but that a platoon is possible with Paulino starting against left-handers. Paulino is the team's lone offensive signing, which isn't anything, to be frank.
Then comes the big signing of veteran reliever D.J. Carrasco. He'll be 34 when the season starts, and he pitched in a career-high 63 games last season with the Pirates and Diamondbacks. He was part of the trade that also sent former Met Ryan Church to the Diamondbacks.
Carrasco wasn't bad at all, and in fact is a decent signing to help in the bullpen. Last season with the two clubs, Carrasco pitched to a 3.68 ERA and allowed only 68 hits in 78.1 innings pitched.
But, once again, he's never pitched in more than 63 games and should be happy that Willie Randolph or Jerry Manuel isn't the manager. Those guys pitched their relievers in 80-plus games on a yearly basis.
Which leads us to the continued bad moves by Alderson. It was reported on Thursday that long-time Mets lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano is close to signing with—of all teams—the Yankees. So, the Mets have essentially replaced a quality left-hander with an average right-hander. Also, Hisanori Takahashi was let go and has signed with the Angels.
Alderson has damaged the bullpen to an extent and made an irrelevant signing by getting Paulino.
Then comes the starting rotation. The way it is right now probably has the Phillies laughing right in the Mets' faces. While they have the second coming of the "Four Horsemen", the Mets don't even have four starters.
Johan Santana is to be sidelined until perhaps the All-Star break, having undergone surgery on his left shoulder, and the Mets' opening day starter will be Mike Pelfrey.
Now, there's nothing wrong with Pelfrey starting on opening day as he did win 15 games last season, but R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese as starters two and three? That doesn't quite cut it.
The Mets didn't have to sign Lee. They needed to—and still could—sign some starters to at least add any kind of rotation depth. Whether it be taking a flyer on Carl Pavano or signing Chris Young and/or Jeff Francis, the Mets need to throw out more than three starters next season.
It's almost Christmas and they have three starting pitchers and a below-average bullpen led by head case closer Francisco Rodriguez.
So far, Alderson receives an "F" as a grade as he's failed. He can improve upon that in the next three and a half months, but he doesn't seem to be concerned about where his team is at now, which is nowhere.