New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson is making all the right moves in his first year with the team, but does this mean the Mets are set for the future?
Since being hired in October 2009, Alderson has successfully done what both Steve Phillips and Omar Minaya failed to do: use payroll wisely. He has successfully dumped the contracts of busts Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, who combined cost the Mets $61 million, and most recently sent hot-headed closer Francisco Rodriguez and his $12 million option to Milwaukee for two players to be named later.
Alderson is also growing as a fan favorite, saying in March that the release of both Castillo and Perez were moves made to "boost fan morale" and get rid of any "fan negativity towards his players."
Even now, with the trade deadline two weeks away and star OF Carlos Beltran on the block, Alderson was quoted in New York magazine saying, "I think far more important in [whether or not the Mets will trade Carlos Beltran] will be realistically how we play over the next week, two weeks, three weeks, and how the season develops."
In other words: Sandy gets it. He knows that the number one priority is to re-sign SS Jose Reyes, but he also understands that underachieving players like Beltran and Rodriguez must be moved to save money. Alderson is not going to go out and sign big contracts if he doesn't think the player is going to perform well for the organization, something that Minaya and Phillips didn't comprehend.
How would you grade Sandy Alderson's performance as a GM thus far?
But are Mets fans jumping on the bandwagon too soon? Alderson was hired after one of the most disappointing Mets seasons in a decade, and he replaced a GM who, up until his final season, was considered to be making "all the right moves."
In 2004 Omar Minaya, the same man who was replaced by Alderson in 2010, found himself as the new GM of the Mets after a similar disappointing season. He started off his regime by signing big names like Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran and naming former Yankees bench coach Willie Randolph manager, which led to a win increase of 14 games between 2004 and 2005.
After the 2005 season, Minaya acquired names like Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, and Duaner Sanchez. He also, like Alderson, kept an eye on payroll by trading away the big contracts of Mike Cameron and Kris Benson. Finally, in 2008, Minaya acquired the highly touted ace Johan Santana from the Twins for almost nothing and signed closer Francisco Rodriguez to a three year deal, adding to the fans excitement as they headed into the 2009 season.
But Minaya also made bad moves, which ultimately led to his demise and overshadowed all the great moves he made for the organization. Signings like Jason Bay and Moises Alou ate up payroll that the Mets couldn't afford if the team wasn't performing, and Minaya also made trades that sent players like Heath Bell, Matt Lindstrom, and Brian Bannister to other organizations.
It seems as though the Mets are going down the same road they did in 2004. Following a dismal season, they hired a new GM to make the fans happy and try to turn around the organization. So far, Alderson has done a spectacular job acquiring players and getting rid of contracts the Mets can't afford, but we must remember that Minaya did the same thing when he started in 2005.
As much as fans want to like Alderson, they must wait and see how the first three years of his contract pan out. He may be great now, but Mets fans might once again find themselves heartbroken and disappointed if they put their all into someone who hasn't proved anything.
Minaya is an example that shows there is a difference between what a GM can do in one year and what a GM can do in five, and although Alderson has made great changes in his first year, fans will have to see what else he can do before they decide if he is a hero or a zero.