Sandy Alderson Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Phillies, winners of the National League East for five consecutive seasons, signed Jonathan Papelbon, retained Jimmy Rollins and bolstered their bench this offseason, but it won't necessarily be enough for a sixth straight division title. Here are some links from the increasingly competitive NL East...
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson may soon face a frustrated fan base if players brought in under Omar Minaya don't show significant progress in 2012, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Alderson says his goal is for the Mets to make the playoffs, even if it seems unrealistic to outsiders.
- In response to Scott Boras' suggestion that the Mets might be better off under different ownership, Alderson told SiriusXM’s Evan & Phillips in the Morning that the agent's comments are nonsense. "That’s somebody who is trying to generate a market for players that he represents," the GM said (transcript via MetsBlog).
- Shoulder injuries have derailed many promising pitching careers, but Johan Santana is attempting to move past shoulder troubles and "do everything the way [he] used to do it,” according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
- Nationals starter Edwin Jackson has bounced around extensively as a Major Leaguer, suiting up for six different teams, but as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports, players and executives consider Jackson a good worker and a positive clubhouse presence.
The 76-84 Mets have assured themselves of a protected first round pick in next year's draft. They can sign another team's Type A free agent over the winter without losing a first rounder in 2012. The latest on the Mets before they host the Reds in the second-last game of the season...
- Willie Harris told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Mets are his "first choice" when he hits free agency this offseason. The Mets could have interest in Harris and Scott Hairston after the season, but they intend to consider all free agent bench players before deciding whether to pursue their own players, according to Martino. It would be a while until Harris and Hairston are aware of the Mets' level of interest.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson reflected on his first year on the job with Newsday's Ken Davidoff in a Q&A that's well worth your time. Alderson says the Wilpons' financial situation hasn't been the obstacle that most people perceive it to be and confirmed that the Mets' 2012 payroll will sit in the $110-120MM range.
- Alderson says he's not disappointed with the Mets' medical practices and doctors, despite the injuries his team has sustained.
- The Mets would like to have more certainty with Ike Davis' health, but they're "increasingly confident" in his ability to play in 2012.
Yesterday Jayson Werth signed the third-largest contract ever for an outfielder, as the Nationals locked him up for seven years and $126MM. He and Vernon Wells figure to be bumped soon by Carl Crawford, though. Many thought Werth would get five years, a few thought six, but I didn't see anyone predicting seven. Reactions:
- ESPN's Keith Law calls the contract "irresponsible" and takes on the "losing teams have to overpay" argument.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says this is "not the drastic overpay that it appears to be on the surface."
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan says that from Scott Boras' point of view, "This deal wasn’t as much about need as it was capitalizing on eagerness."
- Talking to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, Mets GM Sandy Alderson remarked, "It makes some of our contracts look pretty good. I thought they were trying to reduce the deficit in Washington."
- One GM, upon hearing the length of Werth's contract, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports it was "absolutely bat---- crazy." CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says one American League GM "nearly fell over when I told him the terms."
- The Phillies' offer, which GM Ruben Amaro Jr. deemed "significant," was for three years and about $48MM according to CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki notes that a fourth-year vesting option would have increased the value to $60MM.
SI's Jon Heyman dishes the latest on the hot stove...
- Heyman provides reasons why he sees the Yankees as the favorite to sign Cliff Lee: their revenue, rotation question marks, and lack of a backup plan chief among them. He also talked to Lee's agent Darek Braunecker about the story about Lee's wife being harassed by Yankees fans at a game. Braunecker said, "That story was blown out of proportion. It's not like she's hypersensitive. She's been with him in Philadelphia and all over, been with him from the get-go. It really was that one time, just a couple clowns...probably intoxicated. I don't know if that will have any bearing on (the decision)."
- Heyman predicts destinations for 15 of the top free agents; nothing crazy.
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer draws praise for being upfront about not being able to sign Adrian Gonzalez.
- New Mets GM Sandy Alderson will be paid close to $3MM, while Paul DePodesta will get close to $1MM. With J.P. Ricciardi, Wayne Krivsky, and Omar Minaya also on the ledger, Heyman figures this is baseball's most expensive front office.
- Heyman feels that the Mets "would likely avoid" allowing Francisco Rodriguez to finish 55 games in 2011, which would trigger his $17.5MM option for '12. He also notes that the Mets "will wait to see Jose Reyes play a large chunk of this coming season before getting serious about a long-term deal." That approach might work, but from Reyes' point of view if he's having a great year and is months away from free agency he might as well go to the open market.
- It's a little early for "best shape of his life" reports, but that's the word on free agent righty Brad Penny. The 32-year-old was limited to nine starts this year due to a lat muscle injury.
A few links to check out after the Rangers picked up their first World Series win in franchise history...
- Torii Hunter is at the World Series for TV work, though he did mention liking the idea of Carl Crawford in an Angels' uniform according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). Hunter wouldn't confirm if he's been lobbying the soon-to-be free agent outfielder.
- In a mailbag piece, Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer answers questions about the Indians chances of signing quality free agents and whether or not Javier Vazquez is a fit for them.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets that Giants' lefty reliever Javier Lopez will fall short of qualifying for free agency this offseason by just five days of service time. It's a shame he won't be able to cash in on his dominant postseason (5.2 innings, one hit, one walk, six strikeouts).
- Rosenthal also says that the Brewers are just doing their due diligence, and are expected to name a manager shortly after the World Series (Twitter link).
- Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune lists the hurdles the White Sox would have to clear if they want to acquire Colby Rasmus. He also noted that St. Louis had people watching ChiSox prospects at a recent Arizona Fall League game.
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News provide an offseason to-do list for the Yankees.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli tweets that the announcement of the Orioles' coaching staff is being held up by Don Wakamatsu. He'll be their bench coach unless he lands a managerial gig elsewhere.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post explains what impressed him about Sandy Alderson's introductory press conference yesterday.
- Meanwhile, Newsday's David Lennon wonders if Alderson's hiring will boost ticket sales (via Twitter). Mets' attendance has dropped from an average of 51,165 fans per game in 2008 to 32,401 in 2010 despite the opening of CitiField last season. Obviously the economy is part of the problem.
- Jennings also passed along a lengthy quote from Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who explains his desire to make his team younger without sacrificing their ability to be competitive.
- Richard Justice of The Houston Chronicle compares the path the Rangers and Giants took to the World Series to some of the moves the Astros made a few seasons ago.