New York Mets Chief Operating Officer Fred Wilpon got it right with extending the contracts of GM Sandy Alderson and the manager Terry Collins. And there should have been no doubts or speculation as to bringing them back into the fold.
An astute observer of the Mets will notice that progress has been made under the Alderson regime. No further evidence is needed than observing what has transpired at Citi Field this season. Bypass that the Mets may finish Sunday with their sixth consecutive losing season, though that remains in the balance as they entered play Tuesday night tied for second in their division with the floundering Atlanta Braves.
But there has been progress. Look no further with a revamped and improved minor league system that has been restructured by Alderson, and the showcase of young pitching that has baseball observers looking for one or more of those valuable commodities.
The baseball people at the ballpark will say, the Mets,as they prepare for 2015, are in good shape, meaning a contending team is inevitable for next year. They also say their minor league and player development systems are rated third in baseball. And that truly comes from the baseball people who eat, sleep and observe the games on a daily basis.
Alderson came to New York as the supposed suggestion of outgoing baseball commissioner Bud Selig. If indeed that is the case, what Mets fan would offer to complain? He rebuilt a minor league system through trades, the draft and has kept the payroll at $85 million.
A minimal payroll for a team based in the New York market, and yes at times frustrating for the fan base. But Alderson is in a direction towards contention that has worked in the favor for lower division markets such as Pittsburgh and Kansas City and something that will eventually transpire into a winner.
The key to all of this is of course,winning baseball games. The Mets this year will show a slight improvement with 76 wins going into play Tuesday night, and need ,to win five of their last six games to finish at .500 since Alderson took over four years ago.
That may not happen with the Nationals on the schedule this week, the NL east winners who have dominated the Mets this season. The Houston Astros complete the campaign with three games at Citi Field this weekend which does make a close to .500 finish very possible.
Either way with Alderson at the helm, there has been progress, with or without the major free agent acquisition. The successful signee was Bartolo Colon who could finish with a 15 or 16 win season with a two-year investment of $20 million.
The failures: Chris Young and a $7.5 million disappointment in Flushing, now across town in the Bronx and reliever Frank Francisco who was a $12 million dollar bust. They will be a distant memory because of the trades that built for the future.
The huge investment for Curtis Granderson remains to be determined so the assessment of that Alderson move will continue for another few years.
Travis d”Arnaud is developing as a good hitting catcher every game, an acquisition that came from Toronto for CY Young Award winner R.A. Dickey. And also in return the Mets got one of those prized arms for the future in right-hander Noah Syndergaard who will compete for a starting role in spring training.
Or as any one of the many baseball executives you talk will say, Syndergaard is one of those arms they would like to have. Perhaps the work Alderson will do in the off-season is part with one of those pitchers of the future in order to obtain a hitting shortstop or corner hitting outfielder that is desperately needed in the lineup.
Zach Wheeler came as part of the Carlos Beltran move from Flushing to San Francisco. He is part of that enthusiasm of winning games on the mound, with progression seen this season. And a once unknown Dilson Herrera, the 20-year old infielder, acquired last August when Marlon Byrd went to the Pirates, could be a part of a future Mets double-play unit with first round pick Wilmer Flores.
There is room for more improvement, assuming Alderson has the leverage and ability to spend some money on a quality free agent or two that will compliment the youngsters that have put the Mets in a proper direction.
But what makes the next year more promising for the Mets was that move to retain Collins for 2015. It was well deserved and his GM agreed.
“He’s done an exceptional job for us, I believe,” Alderson said. “He’s energetic. He’s passionate. His work ethic is second to none. And I think this translates extraordinarily well into his leadership of the team.”
Alderson added,” I think our team continues to play hard, has from the beginning of the season. I have no doubt it will continue through the next six games. It’s been a pleasure to watch how the team has responded to Terry.”
And when you talk to the players, they all agree there is no better leader than Terry Collins. Despite the failures of five or maybe six straight losing seasons, there has always been an ability to compete and watch the continued development of the five rookies who have continued to play down the stretch.
It’s a matter of time for the Mets and with Alderson and Collins it can only get better.
Comment: Rich Mancuso [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso www.newyorksportsexaminer.com