Given their desire to contend from day one, it’s easy to see the Mets all-in on any of the year’s best available players, including star shortstop Francisco Lindor. But that might not be the course of action that makes the most sense, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman asked Mets president Sandy Alderson about their plans for free agent spending versus trades.
Anderson’s response: “There are only two currencies in baseball — one is players, the other is money. If you are not spending money, you have to spend players. … We have to be careful how we use players in transactions.”
During Steve Cohen’s introductory press conference, Alderson laid out some of the team’s most pressing needs, which included infield defense, bullpen consistency, and a new catching tandem. But he also spoke about building out better depth, and that’s tough to do when trading away prospects for established stars, as was the approach taken by previous GM Brodie Van Wagenen.
Said Anderson (per Sherman): “We’ve got no depth at Double-A and Triple-A, so we are doing all we can to sign six-year minor-league free agents to fill out depth with our top two minor-league teams and provide up-and-down depth for the season.”
Of course, that strategy doesn’t always produce the best collection of ready Major League talent, but as the Dodgers (and others) have shown, the right talent evaluators/developers can absolutely find gems among that pool. Beyond those minor league free agents, the Mets have the opportunity to flex some financial muscle in an offseason where spending capital should be a considerable market advantage. That doesn’t preclude them from making a big splash for someone like Lindor, of course, but it does speak to their priorities this winter, as well as their strategy for contention more broadly.
It might also speak to their timeline. The Mets have yet to hire their president of baseball ops, so Alderson may leave some of the bigger decisions until they are fully-staffed. Collecting minor league free agents won’t have the direction-setting impact of a Lindor-or-equivalent acquisition. Speculatively speaking, Alderson would want to leave as many avenues open as possible until they find the right person to run baseball ops.