This evening a selection of bloggers had a second conference call with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. The first one took place in December. There were a lot of great questions asked, and I’m sure there will be a full recap around the blogosphere. For now, the response to my question, followed by links to the other bloggers’ write-ups that I will update as I see them.
I asked Alderson how active he would be with transactions this season, in particular with regards to the second base or bullpen candidates that “just missed” making the team.
He explained that once these final decisions are made in Spring Training, a lot of that possible depth in the bullpen goes away. Guys may have to be offered back if they’re rule 5 picks, or they may choose to opt out of their contracts or just retire. The depth in the bullpen would most likely be Igarashi, although the Mets are pretty deep at second base. He stressed the importance of making sure guys are given a chance to perform and not go into every game like it could be their last. I feel like this is a big upgrade from last year; despite the ultimate results, I didn’t think it was fair for guys like John Maine and Oliver Perez to have it constantly held over their head that they were pitching for their careers to the point that Jerry Manuel actually publicly contemplated removing Maine from the rotation without ever mentioning it to him.
This is a good philosophy to have, but I wonder if it may be a little naive. After all, it’s not usually the manager and GM that are holding the axe over a players head, it’s the fans and sports radio. Mike Jacobs and Frank Catalanotto only got 28 and 26 plate appearances respectively before being cast away, and it seems like the fans were calling for their heads long before that. Obviously the first base position took a rough turn when Murphy got hit with an injury days before the Opener, but what amounts to seven or eight games is hardly a telling sample size. Ultimately getting Ike Davis on the Mets, particularly when Murphy experienced a setback in recovery, was a good move but that doesn’t mean Jacobs or Catalanotto got a real fair shot to contribute.
Two quick things I took note of during the call. One is that there is still a chance Nick Evans makes this team, regardless of what happens with Beltran. The other is it seemed like Sandy’s biggest test for Jose Reyes is his on base percentage, and that if he can raise that, he’ll be resigned. I’m confident both will happen.