The upcoming weeks are probably the most stressful of the year for any general manager of a big league club. Year after year, they are faced with a tough decision- do you risk the future to try to win now?
The Mets, 32-29, are currently five games back of division-leading Washington, and three back of the red-hot Braves. The division is rapidly spreading out, and the Mets seem to be caught in the middle. Caught between fading along with the Marlins and Phillies and pushing ahead with Atlanta and Washington. It seems like the net logical step for a team like this is to make a few deals and attempt a Wild Card run, right? A few quick moves could put this team into contention now…
Maybe not for this team. That’s not Sandy Alderson’s style.
Sandy Alderson is not the GM that will ride the emotional roller coaster of a baseball season. He will stay calm, cool and collected and be very patient with this franchise. After all, he’s done this before with major, major success.
On this same date in 1987, the Oakland Athletics, a team under the control of Sandy Alderson, were in third place in the Americal League West, just two games behind the Minnesota Twins at 31-27. The team was eerily similar to the team the Mets have today. A roster full of young position players, a solid rotation, and a somewhat inconsistent bullpen. Sandy Alderson, instead of trying to catch the eventual world champion Twins, stayed put. And it paid off in the long run.
In 1988, with the young core intact, the Athletics blew away the rest of the American League, finishing with the best record by 13 games over the Twins and winning 104 games. Their core of youngsters developed and got better and better with time, eventually winning a world championship.
There is no doubt that the Mets have a pretty bright future ahead of them, a future that can certainly be blown by a few impulsive, quick-fix trades. I’ve never really thought of a guy as smart as Alderson as the type to make those deals, but there has been talk around the blogosphere that he could make a big trade. Part of that originated from the overreaction to the Mets contending this far into the season and I also think part of it is from the obvious resurgence of the farm system.
Sandy could take the easy way out, dealing say, Dillon Gee and Kirk Nieuwenhuis for a power bat or a veteran arm. But there is no reason to do that, at least not now.The young core of this team is only starting to take shape and all signs are pointing towards a positive future. Why mess with it? This team could be a lot better one day than a team composed of Josh Willinghams and Ryan Dempsters.
Breaking this up now would be a huge mistake.