With at least the Mets pitching looking reasonably strong and the competition in the NL East relatively weak, a lot of people have been critical of Sandy Alderson for not “going for it” this off-season. But I think I know why, and I can’t believe no one saw it a year ago — he actually went for it in 2014.
Think about it — 2014 was always circled on Alderson’s calendar as the year the Mets were supposed to be competitive. The Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts would finally be off the books, freeing up some $50 million to spend. Now Alderson could finally build his team.
A wrench was thrown into the plan when Matt Harvey was going to miss the season following Tommy John surgery. And here is the evidence Alderson was going for it — he signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year contract. If Alderson did not think the Mets would win, he would not have signed Colon at all. He just would have used a patchwork rotation as he had in years past.
I have been very critical of the two-year deal. After all, Colon admitted the Mets were the only team to offer two years and he would not have signed on just for one season. But perhaps Alderson’s thinking was “if he can deliver a post-season for us in 2014, I’ll take the hit in 2015.” We all would have been okay with it if that was the result.
Need more evidence? After years of “what outfield?” Alderson signed Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to sizeable contracts. If he did not think the Mets would win, one or both of those deals would not have happened. Why would they? Why fill your losing team with expensive pieces? Alderson never did that prior to 2014; he was waiting until the Mets were ready.
And of course, there was Alderson’s instantly infamous 90-win prediction. He almost immediately backtracked on it when it became public, but make no mistake, Alderson believed he had built a winning ballclub.
Of course, he did not. Young and Granderson failed — spectacularly in Young’s case — and while Colon led the team in wins with 15, he did not lead them to the October promised land. Now that hit is not worth it.
Which brings us to this off-season’s inactivity. There are several possible reasons — Alderson fired all of his bullets last year, and he cannot reload because of finances. Or, he truly believes he built a winner last year, so with just minor changes (Michael Cuddyer) and bounce back years from others (Granderson, David Wright), they should be a winner this time around.
Or maybe after going for it and failing, Alderson is too gun shy to do it again. Whatever the reason, the 2015 Mets look an awful lot like the 2014 Mets. Despite the grand plan, that team was a loser. Can the same crew turn it around this year? Sandy Alderson certainly thinks it can.