Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Alderson address offseason challenges
By Adam Rubin
MIAMI -- General manager Sandy Alderson provided a state of the team address to reporters before Wednesday's series finale against the Marlins.
The concise version: There will not be active free-agent spending on significant pieces, but the Mets have resolved to make every attempt to re-sign David Wright and R.A. Dickey. Also, there is no thought to completely dismantling core assets in order to restock the system for longer-term success.
"I'm not prepared to blow up the team and start over again," Alderson said. "I don't think we need to do that."
William Perlman/US PresswireSandy Alderson address the state of the team Wednesday.
• On free agency: "I don't want to give the impression that we're going to be out in the free-agent market looking for significant additions. We have lots of payroll tied up in a handful of players. That's a situation that gradually has to resolve itself."
Specifically asked how he would convince Wright, Dickey or another player the Mets are headed in the right direction, the GM said: "My message said: Look, I think we're very definitely headed in the right direction. But, at the same time, we will not in the near future have unlimited funds."
When it was noted that with the exception of Jonathon Niese, no one is under contract for 2014, and therefore perhaps free agents can be signed this offseason to backloaded deals, Alderson acknowledged that to be true. "It's a possible strategy given the 'nut' we have in 2013, but generally speaking I don't like to pay for today with deferrals until tomorrow," he said.
• Specifically on signing Dickey and Wright to extensions, Alderson said: "What we've said over the last couple of months is we're going to make every effort to retain those two guys. I think we are in a position to be able to do that. Whether we are successful or not, time will tell. But we're in a position to make a bona fide effort to do it.
"Those are the two big issues. Retaining our own players, as I've said, is one of the key tenets of the approach we're trying to take."
The GM said "informal conversations" have taken place directly with Wright. When will full-throttle negotiations start with the agents for both players? "How long does the game last?" Alderson quipped.
Alderson said he wouldn't rule out a contract that takes Wright to the end of his career. "Would I rule that kind of contract out? No. I don't know how long he expects to play -- presumably beyond 31 or 32. ... I still hold a philosophy, but I think there are always exceptions to any rule," the GM said.
The GM added that the organization, with the Bernard Madoff situation resolved and minority investors on board, is better equipped to commit to Wright and Dickey than it would have been six month ago. "If you had the uncertainty that existed last spring, it would be difficult to make those long-term commitments," Alderson said. "So I think that's a fundamental shift. ... Not only would we like to see those two situations resolved by the beginning of spring training/Opening Day, I think we'd like to see them resolved sooner rather than later."
Alderson acknowledged it would be ideal to ink both early in the offseason. Otherwise, trades might have to be considered.
"There's a preferred time frame from a baseball standpoint," he said. "As you get further into the offseason with the uncertainty of the contract situation, then you do have to start thinking about other possibilities (trades). That's not something we're contemplating right now, but there's that inevitability."
• On 2012: "Overall a disappointing season marked by some positive things, I think. But, overall, inconsistency and disappointment with the won-loss record."
• Alderson listed the goals as: 1. Build through the farm system. 2. Retain core players. 3. Add free agents/trade acquisitions on a "fairly judicious basis."
Said Alderson: "I would say over the first couple of years we've certainly looked to the farm system -- obviously not totally successfully. We really have not, until now, been in a position to retain our core players, which is sort of the second prong of this approach. I think we're in that place now. And then the third: We really have not been able to be involved in a significant way in the free-agent market. We certainly have brought in players on a free-agent basis, but in terms of significant acquisitions, somewhat limited. But I can foresee that changing, perhaps not immediately, but in the near term."
• The trade route may be active this winter. "I think it's possible, given what we have, that we'll be more active in the trade market," Alderson said. "But that's not a given, necessarily. I really do believe some of our players are on the verge of making bigger contributions." The GM added that there would need to be caution in trading a surplus of starting pitching because a need always arises for extra quality arms.
• Alderson said the payroll for 2012 ended up being about $100 million, but that includes even long-departed closer Francisco Rodriguez's buyout and all 40-man roster players.
• The payroll will be further constrained because Jason Bay and Johan Santana's 2014 buyouts -- totaling $9 million -- will be considered part of 2013 payroll figure.
• Alderson said there haven't been discussions now of extending Terry Collins beyond 2013.