It was 2010 when Sandy Alderson embarked on the journey of General Manager for the New York Mets.
His campaign would be riddled with obstacles such as overcoming his team’s financial instability. As he worried about the future and feeling the magnitude that this undertaking would entail, Alderson enlisted the services of three former GMs: Paul DePodesta, J.P. Ricciardi and John Ricco.
On this long road, Alderson has made many moves with the end goal in sight: constructing a world champion. Some were marquee moves that have provided the team with high-level major league talent, but not all of the moves Alderson made have worked out for the team.
On June 18, 2013, the Mets sent Collin McHugh to the Colorado Rockies for Eric Young Jr. The move at the time created room for up and coming superstar Zack Wheeler, who would take McHugh’s spot in the rotation. Eric Young Jr. filled in multiple positions while adding some speed to the lineup but never solidified a permanent position on the roster. While Young Jr. found his services to be needed elsewhere in baseball, so did Collin McHugh. McHugh eventually settled in with the Houston Astros and has become one of their most effective pitchers, winning 19 games in 2015.
The return package that the Mets received never amounted to anything: small stints in the majors or never even reaching that platform at all. Eventually. both players were let go from the organization, which made this deal nothing more than salary relief. Francisco Rodriguez went on to be an effective closer, an all-star who saved 44 games in 2014.Finally, possibly the worst deal ever made by Sandy Alderson was on December 7, 2011. Mets sent
Finally, possibly the worst deal ever made by Sandy Alderson was on December 7, 2011. Mets sent Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres. Both players ended up being unproductive for the Mets and left shortly after being acquired, returning to the San Francisco Giants. Pagan continued to put up respectable numbers, showing all-star candidate productivity and has since been able to hoist up two World Series Championships.
Many deals that Sandy has pulled off have turned out in the Mets’ favor. Alderson had long-term implications in mind when making his decision on these deals. He continuously tried to see the big picture of what the team could grow into by dealing away some of the pieces from less than championship-caliber clubs.
It was August 27, 2013 when the Mets traded Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later who turned out to be Vic Black. Both Bryd and Buck were in the final contract year with the team and not expected to return when the season was over.
The season for the Mets was essentially over with the loss of Matt Harvey to injury and being out of playoff contention.
Vic Black turned out to be a solid bullpen arm for a few seasons; he has since left the team but has nothing but good things to say about the organization. The other chip in the deal, Dilson Herrera was looked at as the future starting second baseman and potential all-star. Herrera has all the tools to grow into one of the best second basemen in baseball.
The blueprint to which the Mets have designed their success is pitching, pitching, pitching. Alderson contributed to what would become an all-star pitching staff made up of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz, by making a move to acquire another potential ace on July 28, 2011.
Mets sent slugging outfielder Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for highly touted pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Beltran went on to help the Giants with their playoff push. While Wheeler’s showcase was sidelined with Tommy John surgery, he is still looked at as an elite level pitcher. Wheeler is scheduled to return this season in July and complete what could be known as a rotation of five aces: Harvey, Syndergaard, deGrom, Matz, and Wheeler.
The deal that will forever cement his legacy as the Mets’ GM, the deal that changed the team into perennial contenders was completed on December 17, 2012. Mets traded R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays for Wuilmer Becerra, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and Travis d’Arnaud.
Dickey was the reigning Cy Young Award winner coming off a career year, 20-6, 2.73 ERA. Thole and Nickeas were seen only as throw-ins because they were used to catching the knuckleball pitch that Dickey was known for.
Even though he was not considered to be a main piece of this blockbuster deal, Becerra blossomed into one of the Mets’ top 10 prospects. Becerra’s stock has risen tremendously the past few seasons as he has demonstrated above average defense, speed on the base paths, and the ability to mash opposing pitching. John Buck was later used in the deal that secured Dilson Herrera. Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard have already become main contributors on the big league roster. Td’A is looked at as the best catchers in the NL East and one of the best catchers in baseball. Syndergaard is one of the most feared, flame-throwing, front-line starting pitchers in all the game.
Thirteen minutes before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, Friday July 31st 2015, the Mets agreed to acquire left fielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers for minor league right-handers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. Proving once again that Sandy had his finger precisely on the pulse of the team, Cespedes sparked an offensive resurgence. This historic offensive resurrection along with the Mets’ pitching staff, led the team to a National League Championship.
The saying goes: “how do you make magic happen? Be the smartest person in the room.
Sandy Alderson seems to be just that. He is able to work around financial restrictions due to the Madoff scandal and withstand the harsh New York fan base. All the while, he appeases the media as he tries to whisper parts of his plan, stating that it would have taken patience and some time to come to this moment, but the moment is now.
New York is now considered to be the Mets’ town, as the Mets are looked at as not only the team to beat but the blueprint to copy from. Alderson is the architect of all of this, credit needs to be given to the man who shined a bright light on the dark days of Mets’ baseball.
“(Alderson) thought differently and was right. With the experience, the calmness in the face of a lot of noise in New York, he never wavered from the path he saw for this team. All of that was a credit to him. He assembled a great staff. We have a lot of smart people. But really, at the end of the day, he made the decisions that got us where we are.”
-Mets Assistant GM John Ricco