Sandy Alderson still has some work to do.
Although he said he was happy with the way the team is constructed, after a very busy off-season, not the hard part comes.
His baseball front office needs to work on extensions for a few key players.
Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor are the obvious gimmes on the list, but Alderson is also looking to lock up Noah Syndergaard, even though the righty is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last season.
“Noah’s contract expires at the end of the year,” Alderson said on a Zoom call this morning. “It would be natural for us to talk about the possibilities, the options. We will do that.”
These extensions are the reason why the Mets didn’t give George Springer a sixth year or went with James McCann over JT Realmuto at catcher. “Even Steve Cohen runs out of money,” Alderson said, although it’s more than likely Cohen wants responsible spending, which is why the club went this route.
Conforto has been a mainstay for the Mets and is not just a key part of the lineup, but also developed into the clubhouse leader, after David Wright’s injury and ultimate retirement, so it makes sense the Mets want to keep him.
The problem is that he is represented by Scott Boras, who has a history of sending his clients to the market.
“We’ve had Conforto for many years,” Alderson said. “He has not only become an excellent player, but also part of the leadership group within the clubhouse. He’s represented the Mets for a long period of time and represented us well. I think if it’s possible, we will make the effort to keep Michael with us.”
Although Boras will want Conforto to test the market, ultimately, it’s the right fielder’s call if he wants to sign now or wait until free agency.
Then there is Lindor, who was the centerpiece of an off-season trade with Cleveland. Already the Mets are seeing the intangibles he brings with the shortstop working with other players during spring training, but the Mets got him for more than that.
And getting Lindor means you have to keep Lindor. Right?
Well, there’s a limited time frame if the Mets want that done before November.
“Francisco has said he doesn’t want to negotiate after the season starts,” Alderson said. “We’ve taken that at face value. We’ll make every effort to see what can be done between now and then. On the other hand, if things don’t work out by the end of spring training, hopefully we can continue to communicate…We’ll try to make that timetable as best as we can.”
And after today, that means a simple 30 days to get these contracts done. Getting at least two done, you can call this a banner off-season and even one isn’t the end of the world.
However, if the Mets lose Conforto, Lindor and Syndergaard next winter, then this year of building a deep and talented team will all be for naught.
So yeah, it was very easy the last few months, but now Sandy Alderson’s front office needs to finish the job.