(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
One hundred and forty is apparently the new 85.
At least that’s what Sandy Alderson about joked today at the Yoenis Cespedes press conference at Citi Field.
“I need to answer new questions about payroll now,” he quipped. “If it slides under $140, you’ll be back.”
With camp opening up in about two weeks, you can call it a winter. The Mets seem to be done. Even with some high end names still out there, such as Tyler Clippard, Alderson seems to be done with giving out big league contracts.
“Giving a major league contract, you lose some flexibility — the ability to move people in and out,” Alderson said. “You almost make a commitment that I’m not sure we’re prepared to make right now with what’s on the market.”
The Mets just lost Darrell Ceciliani to the Blue Jays and Carlos Torres to free agency because they didn’t have room on the 40-man roster after the signings of Cespedes and Antonio Bastardo.
“We just lost Ceciliani because we had to make a roster spot,” he said. “We’re at the point now where we have to balance what we might lose player-wise on the 40-man with what we might gain.”
That doesn’t mean the Mets should be finished. They can hand out minor league contracts over the next few weeks for depth. They could sign a few bullpen arms and even a first baseman for insurance.
One name they should look at is old friend Ike Davis. After an off year in Oakland – where his only highlight came on the mound as a mop up pitcher – the former first round pick may accept a minor league deal with a spring training invite.
Having Davis in Triple-A will give the Mets some leeway if Lucas Duda gets injured. Remember, he was on the shelf a few weeks last season for a tight back. There’s no guarantee that he plays 155 games this year at first base, so they may need some insurance.
Right now, Alderson is looking at depth coming from the major league roster. He said Kevin Plawecki will get some reps at first during spring training and Travis D’Arnaud may get some outfield work. Also expect Wilmer Flores to get a lot of time at first since his experience at the position is limited.
That’s why a David signing makes sense for the Mets. He has a history here and can see an opportunity. With camp creeping up in a couple of weeks, his options seem limited.
And Alderson should add some arms to the bullpen on minor league deals. Remember how fleeting some of these arms have been for the Mets and you can understand why they will need insurance.
If 140 is indeed the new 85, then the Mets are obviously in go for it mode. They did all the right moves this winter and if everything goes right, you can expect them back in the postseason.
But no season is ever perfect.
The Mets need some insurance. Alderson still has some work to do.