Monday, January 10, 2011

Twenty Minutes With Mets GM Sandy Alderson

Mets new General Manager, Sandy "Elvis" Alderson shared some of his insights and proceedings with us today, courtesy of ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.

Rubin asked many questions that fans have been asking since the fall, but as with the majority of questions being asked this off-season, the concrete answers are few.

Some of the highlights are:

Rubin: As far as needs for the remainder of this offseason, the Chris Capuano signing does not preclude you from adding another starting pitcher? And how likely is it that you add a starting pitcher of that caliber/contract or greater?

Alderson: “First of all, signing Capuano does not preclude us from signing another starting pitcher. I’d like to sign another starting pitcher -- probably the same type of deal that Capuano has ($1.5 million base, with roughly $3 million in performance incentives). I am hopeful of signing another starting pitcher.”

Metsfan73: In this market you couldn't get Todd Zeile to pitch for you (knuckle ball and all) for such a deal. If you truly believe this team needs more help and depth in the starting rotation, then the Mets are going to have to reach down a little deeper into their pockets.

Rubin: So you don’t believe the remainder of the deals for the offseason will be just minor league contracts? You believe you can get a pitcher of that caliber?

Alderson: “Well, a pitcher that we think can compete for a spot in the rotation, to whom we’re prepared to give a spot in the rotation, subject to that pitcher performing in spring training and early in the season. I think we’re looking to do something that would be more than just a minor league contract with a spring training invite.”

Metsfan73: Is it me, or does Alderson sound real unsure of his chances of acquiring anyone?

Rubin: There have been conflicting reports about whether there has been an offer made to Chris Young. With Young and Jeff Francis, is that semantics, in a way, because each side has an understanding of where the other wants to go, even if it’s not officially an offer? Or has there been anything formal?

Alderson: “Over the last several weeks, before and after the Capuano signing, we’ve had conversations with agents for other pitchers. I wouldn’t characterize where we are in most of those cases as beyond the discussion stage. Through this point, we’ve been having discussions with a variety of possibilities.”

Metsfan73: Pitchers and Catchers report in a month. When are you planning on having a little more than just "discussions?"

Regarding Jose Reyes in his walk year:

Rubin: With Jose Reyes, you had said you did not want to have any extension talks this offseason. Will there be a moratorium during the season? Is spring training the right window for that discussion? Or will there be no talks at all?

Alderson: “I don’t have a hard, firm policy about that. We’ll see what happens as we get into spring training and go from there and make a decision as to when and for how long to discuss that possibility, and whether or not to have some moratorium during the regular season. But at this point I personally don’t have a hard and fast policy about that.”

Rubin: Would you agree that the decision with Jose Reyes will be the first major decision of your tenure? I mean, Jose is the longest-tenured Met. He has meant a lot to the organization.

Alderson: “I don’t know. I consider every player acquisition to be a significant decision. Right now, we’re focused on the 2011 season. Each of these player acquisitions that we make is important. That’s where my attention is placed at the moment. Certainly what happens with Jose in the future will be the subject of conversation and important to the future of the franchise one way or the other.”

Metsfan73: How can't your attention be on the most important player on your team? Reyes, love him or hate him, is the catalyst for this team. I understand if you want to wait to make sure he is healthy, but to have no dialogue with him, and a possible moratorium during the season, will surely mark the beginning of the end of the Jose Reyes era in Flushing, and that would be a huge mistake. Not saying they should back up the Brinks truck, just that if they start off with discussions, Sandy has admitted in this interview he has discussions, that at least Reyes can get the vibe if the Mets are interested in him or not. If Elvis waits too long, Jose will bolt. Why wouldn't he? He would probably feel unwanted.
As for all decisions are important, get real. Capuano will not change the franchise the way Reyes has and will.

As for everyone's whipping boy, Oliver Perez:

Rubin: Has anyone gone to see Oliver Perez in person pitch in Mexico, whether you or Terry Collins or Dan Warthen?

Alderson: “Nobody has gone yet. That hasn’t materialized, and it may not at this point. Just with the shortage of time and other priorities. But it’s still possible.”

Metsfan73: Why hasn't anyone yet gone? This is the major contract that has hamstrung this organization for two years, and if you are looking to rehabilitate him into a viable option, or trade him, don't you think scouts and coaches should be watching his every move?

Rubin: Johan Santana’s timetable for picking up a baseball and tossing following shoulder surgery had been moved up to early January. Has that occurred yet? Is it imminent?

Alderson: “I think he’s supposed to be seen by doctors this week or next -- maybe this week -- to get a clearance to do that. So I would expect once he obtains that clearance he will go ahead and start throwing. I don’t think that has occurred yet.”

Rubin: You would imagine that would be near his home in Fort Myers, Fla.? And you’re not dispatching someone there to monitor it, correct?

Alderson: “Not in these early stages I wouldn’t expect that. No.”

Metsfan73: See my above answer to OP: How can you not have better information on the Ace of you staff? Not that they will watch Johan grip a ball for the first time, no, but to at least have someone from the organization more closely monitor his progress. As GM, he should also know exactly when Johan's appointment is with the doctors.

Check out the above link for the rest of the "conversation" between Rubin and Elvis. What also bothered me is that in the majority of Elvis' responses, he doesn't answer questions in the affirmative; he answered many with: "would like", "probably", "we think", etc.

I can't say I have been in awe of what has been done this off-season, but I will give Elvis a chance. He has a huge mess to clean up, but thus far I am not confident in the way he is going about it. I love that he will have a company philosophy from minors to pros that will be followed. I love that he wants to build up the minor league system, but he had no problem spending a fortune on Ricciardi and DiPodesta, but shy's away from spending money on players.

It will take time, and we do have to be patient. Hopefully Elvis knows something we don't. Until then, we will have to be patient.

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