Sandy Alderson has already done most of his offseason shopping, but still has work left to do to fill out the New York Mets.
It has been nearly three months since the New York Mets last set foot on a baseball field when their 2016 season ended in a 3-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wildcard Game at Citi Field back on October 5.
Since that heartbreaking loss, Sandy Alderson and the Mets front office has done a lot of work this offseason to ensure that this team will be a legitimate contender in 2017, like they have been the past two seasons.
Current Offseason Grade: B
Alderson and Mets’ management receive a “B” grade for the work they have done so far this offseason. Alderson did achieve his main goal he had coming into the offseason, which was re-signing star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a long-term deal, keeping him in New York for the next four seasons.
Even though the Mets are paying Cespedes $110 million for the next four seasons, it is something Alderson and the Mets had to do as Cespedes has been a huge reason why the Mets finished each of the last two seasons on a positive note which included a World Series appearance in 2015 and a wildcard game appearance in 2016.
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Another accomplishment Alderson unexpectedly achieved this offseason was keeping Neil Walker with the Mets for at least one more season. Heading into this offseason, it seemed unlikely that Walker would return to the Mets in 2017 as he was expected to become a free agent.
However, Alderson offered Walker a qualifying one-year offer worth $17.2 million, which he obviously accepted.
Re-signing Cespedes and Walker gives Sandy Alderson a high grade. However, other than resigning these two, the Mets offseason has been very quiet thus far.
Sure, keeping both Cespedes and Walker with the team in 2017 is going to be huge for the Mets, but there is still some unfinished business that Alderson needs to take care of before the start of the season if this team wants to be a legitimate World Series threat, which is why Alderson does not yet deserve an “A” grade.
One main objective Alderson must complete within these next two months before the team reports to Florida for Spring Training is trading one of their veteran outfielders. Whether it is the 35-year-old Curtis Granderson or the 29-year-old Jay Bruce, who both become free agents after 2017, the Mets need to deal away one of these two if possible.
One thing that has been delaying the process of trading one of these two outfielders is the fact that there is still some veteran power hitting outfielders on the free agent market such as Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, and Colby Rasmus. Once more free agent outfielders sign with teams, that should begin to open the door for either Bruce or Granderson to be dealt before the start of the season.
Another objective Alderson needs to attend to before the start of Spring Training is bringing in one or two more relief pitchers. Sure, the Mets have a very reliable backend of their bullpen between Jeruys Familia in the ninth (depending on his suspension) and Addison Reed in the eighth, but the Mets could use some more help in the middle innings.
Like the free agent market for outfielders, there are still many veteran relief pitchers still available for teams to sign such as Jerry Blevins, Travis Wood, Joe Smith and others. It seems like Alderson is trying to sign a couple of these middle relievers for cheap to help save on the team’s payroll.
So, overall, it has been a successful offseason for Sandy Alderson and the Mets as they re-signed two of the team’s best hitters from 2016 in Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker, putting the Mets in fantastic position to have a solid everyday lineup.
The two most glaring questions that still need to be answered before the start of Spring Training are, “What will the Mets bullpen look like in 2017?” and, “Will either Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, or both be in Mets uniforms on Opening Day?”