- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- Addressing the Mets' lack of activity at the trade deadline, Sandy Alderson suggested the club had conversations about "significant" players as buyers and sellers. Still, Alderson said, he acted cautiously in not subtracting players at this point. And on the buying front, Alderson said the Mets were not at this moment prepared to part with top prospects, which a notable acquisition would have required.
Here's a full transcript:
Why was it prudent for no activity at the deadline?
"There was some activity. Nothing came to fruition. There were some proposals that we made that were not acceptable and some made to us that we didn't feel were reasonable. And so, while we were active in conversations, although not super active, we just didn't make any deals. I think going in we didn't intend to be sellers and we didn't intend to be buyers necessarily. We were looking at the market and what it would dictate. We set a price on some of our players. And, under the circumstances, they weren't met. So be it. We're happy with the team that we have. We're happy we retained all of our players. And we're looking forward to the last 60 or so games of the season."
Some fans appear frustrated there was nothing done to improve the club. What would you say to those people? Was there just nothing out there right now that was worth the cost? Or is the team just not where it needed to be to pull the trigger on something aggressive?
"The question of improving the club is certainly a legitimate one. In order to potentially improve the club some significant way as opposed to some incremental way, we would have had to have been prepared to deal some of our young pitching. At this particular stage, we're not prepared to do that, at least in the deals that were presented, or were available to us. I actually think that if we're going to trade some of our young prospects, that we're probably better off doing that in the offseason. I mean, we have a known commodity in those prospects -- I think a recognizable group of prospect assets in the game. In some way, we don't want to limit ourselves to the options that are available now as opposed to what we think may be available in the offseason. That leaves you with some sort of an incremental improvement. We just didn't see that out there. So we were alert to the possibility, but we didn't feel the opportunity presented itself."
Regarding Bartolo Colon, you had said that the offseason might make more sense because you're competing against teams that otherwise might have to give three- or four-year deals to free agents. Is that the logic that prevailed? Or was it more that you didn't want to subtract because the team is doing well?
"I think it may be a combination of things. First of all, I hate to talk specifically about individual players, but don't assume in all cases that we were fielding numerous calls from numerous teams. For whatever reason, the market doesn't always develop for certain players. Yes, on Monday I felt our assessment was that in the case of someone like Bartolo that he might be viewed as more valuable in the offseason than he would be today. I think the lack of activity surrounding Bartolo indicated that. I think the other thing that happened was so many of these marquee pitchers went late, just before the deadline, as well as some second-tier starters, that whatever teams might have circled back on someone like Colon may not have had time to do it."
How much did the 52-56 record -- still in hunt, but still 7 1/2 games back in division -- affect decision-making?
"I think our record and our standing in the division race and the wild-card race had an impact, which is to say that we're neither here nor there at the moment. But I think taking into account where we stand led us to, as I said before, set a price on the players that we have. We felt comfortable where we set that level. We took the standings into account. We also took [into account] the chemistry of the team and how we play over the next 60 days irrespective of the standings, and what might things look like in the offseason, what our options may be. So a number of factors came into play. Our standing in the National League being one of them."
What were you targeting?
"In the event that we were to make a trade, we were looking for players that would have a chance to play for us as soon as this season. We weren't looking to subtract from our big league club just to add to our stash of prospects. We were looking for some players that were close to ready or ready. Those didn't eventuate."
How open are you to an August trade involving waivers?
"That's exactly what happened last season. We didn't make a deal at the deadline and we ended up moving Marlon Byrd sometime in August. Those kinds of deals are difficult to predict because you don't know whether you're going to get waivers (player clears), who might claim a player if you don't get the waivers. It's a little bit -- or a lot -- of unpredictability. But there's certainly that possibility. And also, as time moves on through the course of the month, you know a little bit more about where you stand as a team. That's always a possibility. And I would expect that you'll see more deals in August, if not from us from other clubs when you take into account contracts and things of that sort. That will often dictate whether a player gets through waivers or not."
Is the mandate this winter now to upgrade at shortstop and left field? And is it looking like trades are going to have to be the avenue for those? Or is it too soon to know?
"I think that's a little speculative. If you were to look at those two positions, we do have a number of middle infielders that are close in our system -- probably fewer corner outfielders. But I think right now it's much too early to know. It may be somebody who emerges between now and the end of the season that we don't expect out of the system."
Daniel Murphy's name was out there a lot. When you make the deliberation about whether Murphy is going to be a long-term piece for you or you might look to trade him at some point, are the factors (1) what his salary is going to become, (2) what that salary otherwise could be allotted for and (3) that you have guys like Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds in the upper levels of the minors?
"Any time you're making the decision on the future of a player, you're talking about all of those factors -- future control, cost, performance, available alternatives within the system and potentially outside the system. All those come into play. And timing as well -- the [July 31] deadline, August, the offseason, just before free agency. So all of those things will come into play and do come into play. Going back to this time frame, when you're basically setting a price, if you will, in terms of prospects or other players ... all of those things come into play."
It's not unfounded that there's some consideration to moving Murphy, correct? There were those leaked Astros documents indicating some conversation last winter.
"Rumors always abound with regards to the Mets. Every conversation, which can range from idle to intense, somehow becomes a little bit larger than life. We talk about players all the time with clubs. It's part of what you do to survey the market and get a feel for what's out there. That doesn't mean that you're actually intent on trading someone when you have those conversations. So the fact that we talked to Houston or some other team about a particular player doesn't necessarily suggest that we're actively looking to trade a player. Those conversations take place. ... And it's always nice to know what the market believes that player is worth versus what we internally believe that player is worth. It's a checkpoint for us."
How did you approach this trade deadline relative to last year's deadline?
"The fact that we didn't make a deal at the deadline this year I guess indicates that we took the same approach. But I think we feel a little more confident about the team this year than we did last year. Maybe that factored into what we didn't do at the deadline this year. But I don't think we took a consciously different approach. The players, we feel they have a certain value. And if we don't see that value in return in discussions with other clubs, we're not going to do it."
How would you characterize the talks? Anything serious? Anything close? Big in scale? Small in scale?
"We had conversations regarding significant players both from the Mets and from other teams in return. We just never agreed on anything. In terms of moving anybody off of our major league club, we were a little bit careful about moving people off of the team, where we couldn't get somebody who was major league ready, or able to be plugged in, in return. Then, as I said before, in actually acquiring other players as opposed to 'selling our own,' it always came back to our handful of top prospects. And we just aren't ready to move any of them at the moment."
NEW YORK -- Addressing the Mets' lack of activity at the trade deadline, Sandy Alderson suggested the club had conversations about "significant" players as buyers and sellers.