Mets' Sandy Alderson Says 'Some' NYM Players Aren't 'Defensive Geniuses'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 5, 2021

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 file photo, New York Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson speaks at a news conference at Citi Field in New York. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is taking a leave of absence because his cancer has returned. The 70-year-old made the announcement before the game against Pittsburgh, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Despite acquiring some previous Gold Glove winners during the offseason, New York Mets president Sandy Alderson doesn't seem overly confident in the team's defensive capabilities.

"While some of our players aren't defensive geniuses, we think that the overall blend that we have is pretty good," Alderson told ESPN during the network's telecast of New York's spring game against the Washington Nationals on Thursday. 

Defense has been a problem for the Mets in recent seasons. The 2020 team ranked 18th in FanGraphs defensive value (-3.5) and 26th in defensive runs saved (-22). It was their best finish in both categories since 2016, which was also the last year they made the playoffs.

Even though the Mets didn't completely reshape their defensive core during the offseason, the moves they did make should provide a significant boost in that area.

Francisco Lindor is a two-time Gold Glove-winner and led all shortstops in defensive value (8.4) last year. He's been credited with 46 defensive runs saved since making his MLB debut for Cleveland in 2015. 

Free-agent signings Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr. are lauded more for their defensive ability than what they can do with the bat. The 32-year-old isn't as good with the glove as he was at his peak, but his 0.7 defensive value last season was superior to all Mets center fielders in 2020 (-2.9). 

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Almora has saved eight defensive runs in the outfield during his five-year career. 

As long as Lindor at shortstop and the combination of Almora and Pillar in center play defense close to how they have throughout their careers, the Mets will be fine at two of the most important positions on the field. 

That will allow their loaded lineup, which features Lindor, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith, to beat up on opposing pitchers in their quest to help the Mets win the National League East for the first time since 2015.