Reese Kaplan -- Taking the High Road: Sandy Alderson's Positive Mets Accomplishments


For a great many people looking at the sad state of the New York Mets, it’s easy to point fingers at many of the personnel decisions made that have led them to a struggle with the Miami Marlins to stay out of the cellar.  I was as vocal a critic of Sandy Alderson as anyone.  However, there were some highlights during his Mets career as the GM that suggest all was not bad while he called the shots.

The draft in particular has been the focus of many people claiming no eye for talent.  Upon perusing his selections over the past many years, while there may not be any Aaron Judges or Corey Klubers, there were some highly credible selections during his tenure:

Draft Picks

  • Pete Alonso – Fighting Jeff McNeil and Jarred Kelenic for number one prospect status
  • Matt Bowman – allowed to leave unprotected but has been very solid for St. Louis
  • Trey Cobb – Looking very good in the minors
  • Michael Conforto – Already made his first All-Star appearance
  • Justin Dunn -- Starting to show why he was picked when he was
  • Michael Fulmer – Went onto become Rookie of the Year and the centerpiece of the Yoenis Cespedes trade that secured the 2015 NL championship
  • Robert Gsellman – Lately he’s been in a slump but he was rock solid earlier this year
  • Seth Lugo – A solid major league pitcher
  • Brandon Nimmo – He gambled big and it’s looking like it’s paying off big, too 
  • David Peterson – He looks to have promise
  • Tim Peterson – It took awhile to get here but it looks like he was worth the wait
  • Kevin Plawecki – Injuries and a sinus condition stalled him, but he is a major league player


There have not been nearly as many trades made during Alderson’s tenure as some might have wished, but several stand out in the win column for him:

Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler Jon Niese for Neil Walker
Matt den Dekker for Jerry Blevins
R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas for Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, Travis d’Arnaud and Wuilmer Becerra
Miller Diaz and Matt Koch for Addison Reed
Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa for Yoenis Cespedes
John Gant and Robert Whalen for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson
Casey Meisner for Tyler Clippard
Max Wotell and Dilson Herrera for Jay Bruce

FA Acquisitions

Many will point to the bad deals such as Michael Cuddyer and Frank Francisco as representative of Alderson’s eye for the free agent marketplace, but he’s had some wins in this column as well:

Marlon Byrd

Asdrubal Cabrera
Bartolo Colon
Curtis Granderson
Scott Hairston
LaTroy Hawkins
Carlos Torres

Finally, there are those deals which are in separate categories which indeed show good judgment as a baseball executive:

  • Choosing Lucas Duda over Ike Davis when they had redundant slugging, slow-footed first baseman came as a surprise to many, but Duda relatively flourished while Davis has had to reinvent himself as a pitcher
  • Sean Gilmartin was a Rule V draft selection who in his first year with the Mets delivered a rock solid 3-2 record over 50 games with a 2.67 ERA
  • Taylor Bucholz was a seemingly talented pitcher with a bad shoulder who came to the Mets as a free agent from the Rockies.  He was left on the DL ostensibly to recover but as it turns out he was actually suffering from depression.  Alderson humanely allowed this narrative until Buccholz gave the green light to reveal to the baseball world what was really happening
I certainly don't wish Sandy Alderson any further suffering and have to wonder how much his health impacted his focus on the team, and the corresponding pressure and stress negatively impacted his health.  Yes, it's fair to say that often the bad outweighed the good, but he did have many accomplishments on which he can hold his head high.

Here's hoping the three-headed GM monster can make some productive moves while they pay lip service about searching externally for a GM before handing it over to John Ricco permanently (the figurehead behind the Jeff Wilpon decision making).  


Thomas Brennan said...

Nice summary...Sandy did get quite a few things right...and rookie ball hitting currently shows that several more hitters may be moving towards the kind of recognition Jeff McNeil is now getting as a real prospect (McNeil was on twice last night, including yet another homer).

Hopefully his biggest win is stop to come, in his current health battle.

TP said...

Reese, excellent recap. While most of his tenure he presided over a losing team, albeit with severe financial limitations at the get go, he did have two playoff teams and a magical World Series run.

I wish him all the best an a full recovery.

Erica Lay said...

Great job Reese. I always liked Sandy. He hasn't been perfect but I always thought more of our problems were caused by the Wilpons than by Sandy.

Thomas Brennan said...

Corie Oswalt's initials are CO. After last night's miserable performance, there will not be a CO2.

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