MLB: Grading Sandy Alderson's First Season with the New York Mets

Nick CarloAnalyst IIFebruary 3, 2011

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  Sandy Alderson poses for photographers after being introduced as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Sandy Alderson was named the New York Mets' new general manager early in the offseason.  Alderson has a big challenge ahead of him, as the Mets have bad contracts at many positions, not to mention Omar Minaya's mess.

The Mets have recently been big spenders in the offseason, but due to financial constraints, they couldn't make any big signings this year.  Alderson watched top-notch free agents fly off the market while he was forced to go searching in the bargain bin.

He managed to sign players such as D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Bucholz, Ronny Paulino, Chin Lung-Hu, Chris Capuano and Chris Young.  None of these guys were "sexy" signings, but they all have one thing in common—a high ceiling.  All of these players have the potential to greatly contribute to this franchise.

The best thing about these players is that they were cheap.  Alderson didn't sign any players to long-term contracts this offseason, following through with his plan to not tie up the Mets with any long contracts. 

His main goal all offseason was to sign low-risk, high-reward players so as to not make any long-term commitments.  He did exactly that.  Alderson followed through with his plan, and it seems he is done acquiring new players.  There may be a few minor league signings, but now Alderson is concentrated on spring training.

It has been a long offseason for the Mets, but Alderson has helped New York fans enjoy it.  Not much was expected from the Mets this offseason, and even though fans knew the team wasn't going to be bringing in any big-name players, they were still interested in seeing how Alderson would operate.

He carried out his offseason vision and impressed Mets fans with many smart signings in the process.  This offseason was all about next offseason.  Alderson and the Mets had to find a way to spend a minimal amount of money so New York could spend big next year.

It's not easy watching players like Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee go to different teams, but the reality is that the Mets had no shot at those players this offseason.

It's hard to grade the Mets' offseason this year because of the different circumstances.  In the past five offseasons, the Mets have made big splashes, but those moves didn't result in much winning.   

Given the current circumstances, Alderson did exactly what the team needed during this offseason.  Almost every single one of the players he signed can contribute.  The best part is that if a player doesn't pan out for the team, it won't hurt the Mets.

None of the Mets' signings put a dent in their wallets either.  Alderson deserves an "A" for his performance.  The grading rubric for him is totally different than what it would have been for the Mets in the recent past.

Given the task at hand, Alderson did exceedingly well.  He wasn't tricked by Scott Boras, and he stood his ground to wait for the right free agents to fall to him.  He signed players to cheap, short contracts, but added in just enough incentives for players to come to Queens.

A new era has begun for the Mets with Alderson's long-term vision for the team.  Mets fans should be looking forward to seeing this team get on the field.  After all, the most important day of the Mets' offseason isn't when they sign a player or make a trade, but the day before spring training begins.

When Alderson and his sidekicks Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi pack away their winter coats and break out their shorts and t-shirts, they will ultimately realize what they accomplished. 

They put a quality team on the field for the upcoming season and most important of all, allowed themselves the flexibility to have a huge offseason next year.  Like they say, "Slow and steady wins the race."