Sandy Alderson Rumors

Mets Notes: Murphy, Payroll, Alderson, Coaches

Since “the Mets have showed no inclination to engage Daniel Murphy‘s representatives in extension talks,” ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin believes the second baseman could be a prime trade candidate.  The Mets seem likely to deal Murphy for an outfielder in the offseason, though one Major League executive tells Rubin that the Mets could get a higher return in a deal by waiting until midseason.  Murphy is eligible for arbitration for the third and final time this winter before hitting free agency after the 2015 season.

Here’s some more news about the Amazins…

  • Also from Rubin’s piece, he believes the Mets’ 2015 payroll will be around the $100MM mark.  Though this is an increase from their $85MM mark this season, Rubin notes that the payroll was going to rise to roughly $93MM anyway due to player raises.  Any further expenditures could have to be offset by moving existing salaries, like dealing Murphy or a starting pitcher.
  • Speaking of trading a starter, Rubin feels that either Dillon Gee or Jon Niese are likely to be dealt this winter.  Oft-cited trade candidate Bartolo Colon is 41, will earn $11MM in 2015 and is only contracted for the one year, so the Mets could command a higher return for one of their younger, controllable starters.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke with the media (including Adam Rubin) on Sunday and noted that Citi Field’s fences in center and right-center field will “likely” be altered next season.  “I think [the new dimensions will] be good for the game, good for the fans. I’m sure that one or two of our players will benefit as well,” Alderson said.
  • Alderson also touched on the Mets’ need for a hitting upgrade, though he doesn’t think his team will need that great a jump from their current “middle of the pack” status in the NL’s offensive ranks to being a top-five offensive club in the league.  Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone notes that while many Mets fans clamor for a new slugger, the team’s power numbers were actually pretty good in 2014.  “More than anything – the Mets need more hitters that put the ball in play. That’s it. It should not be overcomplicated,” Cerrone writes.
  • The Mets will reassign hitting coaches Lamar Johnson and Luis Natera, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  An official announcement on the 2015 coaching staff is expected to come on Tuesday.  Bench coach Bob Geren will return next season, while former Met and fan favorite Wally Backman (manager of the franchise’s Triple-A affiliate) isn’t expected to be promoted to a big league coaching job.

Mets Extend Sandy Alderson, Retain Terry Collins

TODAY, 2:22pm: The Mets have officially announced that Alderson has been extended through 2017. The club also announced that Collins will return next year.

YESTERDAY, 2:32pm: Alderson’s new contract will cover the 2015-17 seasons, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). The extension will technically be for two years, as the club will exercise his option and two more years to the deal.

2:05pm: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets will announce an extension for Alderson after the season, and he adds that there will also be an announcement that manager Terry Collins has been retained (Twitter links).

1:38pm: Alderson’s contract extension will be for “about three years,” reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). However, the deal is not yet complete, and there are still details to be worked out, he hears.

1:25pm: The Mets will exercise their 2015 option on general manager Sandy Alderson and the two side are working toward a contract extension, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

Alderson, 66, was hired as the Mets’ GM following the 2010 season and signed to a four-year contract which contained the aforementioned option for the 2015 season. While the Mets have yet to have a winning season under his watch, Alderson has assisted the Mets in bolstering a farm system and stockpiling an enviable crop of young talent. Alderson acquired Zack Wheeler from the Giants in exchange for a two-month rental of Carlos Beltran, and he chose to trade R.A. Dickey rather than extend him following the knuckleballer’s Cy Young season in 2012. That move netted the Amazins top prospect Noah Syndergaard as well as current catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Last summer, after striking gold on a minor league pickup of Marlon Byrd, the Mets packaged Byrd and John Buck (also acquired in the Dickey trade) to land Dilson Herrera and Vic Black from the Pirates. Additionally, he appears to have made the correct choice in retaining Lucas Duda, rather than Ike Davis, as the team’s first baseman going forward.

Of course, not all of Alderson’s moves have panned out quite so well. The signing of Chris B. Young to a one-year, $7.25MM contract this offseason proved to be a failure, and while Bartolo Colon has pitched well enough to justify the first season of his two-year, $20MM deal, his $11MM salary for 2015 made him too difficult to trade this summer. Curtis Granderson‘s four-year, $60MM contract has the potential to be a negative, though Granderson is in the midst of a torrid finish, perhaps giving hope that he can be more productive in 2015 than he was in an up-and-down 2014.

Alderson’s largest move to date has been the eight-year, $138MM extension signed by David Wright. While “Captain America” looked well worth the money even in an injury-shortened 2013 — he batted .307/.390/.514 with 18 homers and 17 steals — Wright’s power vanished in 2014, which eventually proved to be his second straight injury-shortened season. The 31-year-old batted .269/.324/.374 with just eight homers this season as he battled shoulder and neck problems that finally caused his season to conclude on Sept. 8.


Mets “Almost Certain” To Retain Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins For 2015

The Mets are expected to bring back both general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins for the 2015 season, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  Contract details haven’t been finalized with either man, though since Collins is already signed through 2015, Alderson’s status is the only one that needs to be immediately addressed.  The GM’s previous deal will expire at the end of the season, and though the Mets hold a team option on his services for 2015, Martino reports that it’s more likely the Mets will work out an extension with Alderson rather than just exercise the one-year option.

Alderson and Collins both joined the team prior to the 2011 season, and the rebuilding Mets have a 297-339 record under both men.  It had been assumed that Alderson would return in 2015, and though Collins’ status was perhaps in question earlier in the season, recent signs pointed towards his return as well.  The skipper signed a two-year extension with the Mets last September that covers him through 2015, plus a team option for 2016.

While wins and losses haven’t been a major concern for the Mets in recent years, this could be a different story in 2015 when Matt Harvey is back from Tommy John surgery and joins the several other promising young players on New York’s roster.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets only announce that Collins is returning and don’t work out any further extension; the team will want to see if Collins is the right man to manage a contender before making a longer-term commitment.  At most, the Mets could exercise Collins’ 2016 option so he could avoid lame-duck status next year.

The Mets will make an official announcement on Alderson and Collins at the end of the season, and sources tell Martino that the club could confirm both are staying during a single press conference, though nothing has yet been decided.



NL Notes: Mets Payroll, Martin

Earlier in the week, we learned the Mets expect to maintain a steady payroll in the low-to-mid-$80MM range. Although the club may prefer to avoid trading from their pitching depth or adding significant payroll, they’ll need to be opportunistic to succeed in 2015, writes The New York Post’s Joel Sherman. The club is well aware that free agent signings can backfire and pitching depth can vanish with the pop of a couple ligaments. Per Sherman, the New York’s perceived plan to spend when fans return to the ballpark is “backwards.” The franchise spends less on player salaries than the mid-market Braves, yet they have powerful potential revenue streams from their Northeast location, relatively new stadium, and TV network. Sherman suggests the club remain open to signing a few veterans like Melky Cabrera, Jed Lowrie, or Mike Morse. An alternative source of value could be to pick up possible castoffs like Matt Kemp or Jose Reyes.

  • Alderson is “right” to note that money doesn’t equate to success, says Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Madden emphasizes the Mets woeful performance in recent free agent markets, but he also believes the club should be open to expanding payroll in the right move – including trades. He mentions Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as a sort of ideal trade target.
  • Russell Martin is a stealth MVP candidate and the Pirates need to re-sign him, writes David Golebiewski of GammonsDaily.com. Martin blends offense and defense at a critical position. While the Pirates are generally penny pinchers, they should do what is necessary to retain the 31-year-old free agent. In addition to his personal virtues, Pittsburgh lacks a viable internal replacement. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes believes “a four-year deal north of $50MM” to be possible.

NL East Notes: Brown, Collins, Alderson, Mets

Here’s the latest out of the National League East:

  • The Phillies could well attempt to trade outfielder Domonic Brown in an offseason change-of-scenery swap, according to a report from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Looking at Philadelphia’s options in the outfield next year, Gelb indicates that a return for Grady Sizemore could be attractive given the dearth of options on the free agent market. Meanwhile, the club could remake the rest of its mix if it were to deal Brown and/or veteran Marlon Byrd.
  • “There seems to be genuine internal debate and uncertainty over what the [Mets] will do” regarding manager Terry Collins, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino spoke with another club official that thinks it’s difficult to get a feel for Collins’ job security, while another added, “I think we have a ways to go before that’s decided.”
  • General manager Sandy Alderson is a different story, Martino writes. Not only is Alderson’s job safe, Martino reports, but there are signs that he’s likely to receive a contract extension from the Mets. Alderson, currently under contract through the 2015 season, has been the Mets’ general manager since taking over for Omar Minaya following the 2010 season.
  • Alderson discussed some of the team’s current and future roster maneuvers regarding younger players in an interview with Lynn Worthy of the Press & Sun Bulletin (h/t to MetsBlog). The club will look to give both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki a look behind the plate next spring, though Alderson noted that the latter does not yet need to be given a 40-man spot. Looking ahead at filling needs at shortstop and in the outfield, Alderson said he is still evaluating internal options — he mentioned Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds, and Matt den Dekker as younger players who had played well recently — before deciding on a strategy for the open market. “[W]e’ve got to assess what we have before we start going out and canvassing the free-agent market,” he said.

Alderson On Shortstop, First Base, Rotation, Murphy

Mets GM Sandy Alderson met with reporters in Orlando on the eve of the Winter Meetings. Here are the highlights (all links go to Twitter):

  • Alderson acknowleded the Mets will not add another free agent of Stephen Drew's caliber and price tag unless a contract is moved, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets the Mets are telling clubs any other noteworthy deals will come via trades, not free agency.
  • The Mets are bracing themselves for the possibility Ruben Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
  • "If we have to go into the season with Tejada as our shortstop, we need to make sure we're happy with that given what else we've done," Puma quoted Alderson as saying.
  • Alderson wouldn't say how far along the Mets are in resolving their first base situation, Rubin tweets. Sources tell Martino the Mets' strong preference remains trading Ike Davis and keeping Lucas Duda and a deal could happen this week. In a separate tweet, Martino adds the Mets feel Davis could have more trade value in January, but are eager to settle the matter now. 
  • Alderson isn't totally comfortable with having two prospects in the starting rotation, tweets Rubin.
  • Alderson indicated Eric Young, Jr. is more than a reserve leading Rubin to believe Daniel Murphy could still be traded. Martino tweets one team has already been told the Mets are willing to move Murphy this week.

Mets Demote Ike Davis

The Mets have demoted Ike Davis to Triple-A along with Mike Baxter and Robert Carson, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The decision to send Davis to the minors was apparently made during or after the Mets' fifth consecutive loss to the Marlins this afternoon, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who was, earlier in the day, told by a high ranking source such a move was not imminent.  

GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including Rubin, the demotion is in the best interest of Davis. "I was one of his biggest supporters," Alderson said. "I just felt at some point we've got to get him out of here. Hopefully he'll be back in a short period of time. But he needs to go there. He needs to be able to play every day. He needs to be able to work on his swing without worrying necessarily about the outcome. We think it's in his best interest."

Davis, drafted 18th overall by the Mets in the 2008 draft, has struggled offensively since injuring his left ankle in a collision with David Wright in May 2011. Davis was hitting .302/.383/.543 at the time of the injury and only .211/.292./.410 since, including a mark of .164/.245/.262 in 2013. With the struggles, many have suggested Davis needs to make radical changes to his approach at the plate. Alderson, as quoted by Rubin, alluded to this as one of the issues the first baseman faces.

"First and foremost, Ike needs to get his confidence back. He's had a lot of people in his ear talking about his swing and talking about what he needs to do to get back to where he was. In some ways, maybe this is another way to clear the deck, to get to Vegas. I don't know that there's any one mechanical thing that anybody is saying he needs to do."  

Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Davis declined to speak about the move, but his teammate Daniel Murphy predicted, "I.D. is a professional and we will see him again." (links to Rubin's Twitter account). 

Alderson indicated the shakeup will only involve players and not the coaching staff. "This is not a staff issue," the GM said. "This is a player issue." The Mets will not announce the corresponding roster moves until tomorrow, tweets Newsday's Marc Carig.


East Notes: Blue Jays, Mets, Santana, Phillies, Wang

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos sat down for an interview with Sportsnet.ca (video link), discussing (among other things) the club's rotation battle between Ricky Romero and J.A. Happ. The GM said that while Happ will "factor into this club, and it doesn't mean that he can't factor into this club on opening day in some role, some capacity," the team will "do everything we can with Romero" in the spring before taking him out of a starting role. 

  • Further addressing the issue of rotational depth, Anthopoulos acknowledged that the club lacks "household names" in that area. While the Jays "have 4-A guys," the GM says he wants to add "someone who is a little bit better than that, … a Happ type of guy." The team is "active … trying to do some things, trying to make some trades" for a starting-caliber arm that can be used in the bullpen or stashed in the minors, although some player on the current roster "wouldn't be happy, because somebody would be out of a job."
  • The Mets appear prepared to enter the season without adding to their mix of outfielders, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think we’ve got a sense of who the five or six are who might be on the team," said GM Sandy Alderson. "What we have is what we’re going to have, and we’re not entirely displeased with that.”
  • Rubin also notes that the Mets could be dealing with a long absence from starter Johan Santana, who is still a ways away from returning to the mound, let alone doing so in a big league game. Santana acknowledged that his absence is indefinite: “I’m making progress. It’s just I don’t know when I’m going to be pitching again.” According to Rubin, “there is now an open question about whether Santana’s shoulder and his career will ever be the same.” 
  • After sending Darin Ruf down to work on his defense, Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that there is a chance the Phillies may look to acquire another outfielder via trade, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com“There’s a lot of time left.  If we can improve the team we’ll do it.”
  • The Yankees have made their signing of Chien-Ming Wang to a minor-league deal official, according to a team press release.  Wang will enter his age-33 season looking for another chance to pitch in pinstripes, and to regain the success he had during his first stint with the club.

Alderson On Bullpen, Francisco, Wright, Collins

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson sat down with Kevin Burkhardt on SNY's Hot Stove show (video link) to discuss a number of topics, including…

  • Alderson confirmed that the Mets are still looking for relief pitching despite signing LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison to minor league deals over the last three days.  "We may even add a name or two [to the bullpen] between now and the beginning of Spring Training," Alderson said. "I'm encouraged about the depth and the options we have in the bullpen."
  • This positivity about the relief corps doesn't extend to Frank Francisco, as Alderson admitted he's worried about the incumbent closer given Francisco's struggles and injury issues in 2012.  "I don't know that we can have a lot of confidence in where we are [at closer]," Alderson said.  "I hope Frankie does something over the next few weeks to dispel that discomfort."
  • There could be competition for the closer's job during Spring Training, possibly involving a current reliever (Alderson mentioned Bobby Parnell) or a new acquisition.  "We've taken a lot of time to look at other possibilities and ways that we can shore this up.  We have added some pitching but more at the front end of the bullpen as opposed to the back end," Alderson said.
  • "If there's anyone deserving of an eight-year contract in New York with the Mets, it is and has been David Wright," Alderson said.  The GM admitted that he isn't comfortable giving out such long-term deals but said that Wright's performance, history with the team and his off-the-field contributions were all major considerations in Wright's extension.
  • Terry Collins is entering the last year of his contract as Mets manager and Alderson didn't give any hints that an extension could be forthcoming.  "I've talked to Terry and I think he's comfortable with his situation and I know that whatever happens this season, there will be a fair evaluation at the end," Alderson said.  He is "very comfortable with Terry" and noted that the team's win-loss record over Collins' two years as skipper isn't a major factor, though Alderson is troubled by how the Mets have faltered in the second half under Collins.
  • From yesterday, Alderson also took questions from Mets season-ticket holders.

Mets Showing Strong Interest In Brian Wilson

2:45pm: Alderson is "not sure" if the Mets will extend Wilson an offer, reports the New York Post's Mike Puma.

10:03 am: The Mets are showing strong interest in former Giants closer Brian Wilson, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).  Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson watched Wilson yesterday in a private workout.

Before the New Year we learned that Wilson narrowed down his list of suitors in half from about nine or ten to approximately five.  The Giants are open to a reunion but are only willing to give Wilson a deal with a low base salary and performance-based incentives.  The 30-year-old made only two appearances in 2012 before suffering a season-ending elbow injury.