Thursday, 16 August 2018
BREAKING NEWS

As Mets nosedive, GM Sandy Alderson says club will never go ‘extremist’ with rebuild

As Mets nosedive, GM Sandy Alderson says club will never go ‘extremist’ with rebuild
05 Jun
4:59
CLOSE

SportsPulse: MLB insider Bob Nightengale talks about timely topics, including the disappointing NL West and New York Mets. USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets stink right now.

They know it. All of New York knows it. And so does the architect who built the team.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson is the one who constructed this reeling mess, and despite the faulty wiring and building code violations, he isn’t ready to tear down his creation.

Not now.

Perhaps not ever.

At least not on his watch.

“Can circumstances change that, yes,’’ Alderson tells USA TODAY Sports, “but I think that would be very, very remote. It’s not something we’re even considering or talking about.’’

The Mets, who opened the season winning 11 of their first 12 games, have since gone 16-29, and are sitting in fourth place (27-30), seven games behind the surprising Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They have lost nine of their last 11 games, and after a two-game series beginning Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field, won’t play another sub-.500 team until the Marlins on June 29 – one month before the July 31 trade deadline.

There’s already speculation that if the Mets’ struggles continue, they may have to consider the possibility of gutting the team and starting over, which means shopping former All-Star pitchers Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard for a haul of prospects.

Sorry, but it’s not an option Alderson ever wants to consider – not as long as he’s running the show.

“Just because you tear it down,’’ Alderson said, “doesn’t mean you’re going to have a great rebuild. It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t.’’

MORE MLB

Not everyone is going to strip down the franchise and automatically become the Houston Astros or Chicago Cubs. Or even the Atlanta Braves. It’s not that simple. Besides, there’s a whole lot of pain involved in any rebuild; the Astros lost 324 games over a three-year span, finishing a combined 127 games out of first place.

“I don’t know why it’s become so popular,’’ Alderson says, “maybe it’s the product of the extremist. In our culture, you’re either really good or you stink. There’s no reason to be caught in the middle. There’s virtue at the extreme.

“I just don’t see it that way.’’

In Alderson’s world, he sees a team that’s still hovering around .500 despite a bevy of injuries, a division that’s vulnerable, and even a league in which no one appears capable of running away and hiding.

“I think there can be a temporary loss of perspective because of where we are,’’ Alderson says. “Look at the possibilities when we get players back from injuries. Considering everything we’ve gone through, and all of the injuries, I think we’re fortunate.

“I’m as optimistic at this point of the season as I’ve been the last couple of years. We had challenges in 2016 and ended up in the playoffs. We had challenges last year, and didn’t overcome them. I think this year we’ll overcome them.’’

The Mets are expected to have Syndergaard back in the rotation Sunday against the Yankees. Third baseman Todd Frazier, who has been out since May 8, is scheduled to return Tuesday along with reliever Anthony Swarzak. And, the most important cog to their offense, Yoenis Cespedes, who has missed the last 20 games with a strained hip flexor, is expected to start taking batting practice this week.

The Mets know that a simple return to health isn’t an elixir. The Washington Nationals have had more injuries than anyone in the league, and they’re 33-25, just one game behind the Braves.

The Mets’ offense is a mess. They’ve scored just one run in the last 24 innings. They are hitting a major-league worst .203 with a .578 OPS against lefties. They have a .350 slugging percentage, second-worst in baseball. The Mets’ cleanup hitters have combined for two home runs all season. Right fielder Jay Bruce is hitting .222 with just three homers and 15 RBI. The bullpen is 1-7 and yielding a 7.94 ERA over the last 11 games. And they’ve been sloppy, prompting rookie manager Mickey Callaway to call a team meeting last weekend, saying, “We’re not playing the game the right way.”

They’re putting out fires these days literally and figuratively, with flames erupting last week in the rotunda near the stadium’s main entrance, the marketing department calling off the Frazier replica batting practice pullover giveaway because of a malfunction, and Callaway’s lineup card snafu last month that helped cost them a game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Mets have six weeks to start playing better baseball, reinforcing Alderson’s optimism, and dispel any notion that trading deGrom and Syndergaard is the best path forward.

“I really believe we’ll start playing better,’’ Alderson said. “Our starting pitching has to get into a routine and lengthen out so we don’t have to endure a three or four-inning start on a fairly regular basis. That will allow us to your pen the way we like.

“If that happens, I think you’ll see improvement.’’

And, if not?

 “We’ll make an evaluation then,’’ Alderson says. “Who knows what the future will bring? But I’m not thinking that way. I really believe we can turn this around.’’

Let the others have their tear-downs and rebuilds. Alderson, 70, doesn’t have the time or patience.

Now, it’s up to Mets to start winning to assure that the rest of the organization views it the same way.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter and Facebook

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

 

Recommended

« »

allsites

Related Articles