Alderson 'happy' with the Mets' offseason

March 1st, 2021

JUPITER, Fla. -- At the outset of winter, Mets officials cultivated an expectation that they would be active in pursuing some of the top free agents available -- specifically, Trevor Bauer, George Springer and J.T. Realmuto, all of whom would have filled obvious holes on their roster.

That the Mets wound up with none of them was not a shift in strategy so much as a desire to remain flexible in future seasons. Rather than commit to any of those three free agents, the Mets made their most significant move via trade, acquiring Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Indians. Then they filled in the rest of their roster with mid- and lower-tier free agents.

Speaking on Monday, Alderson explained why the Mets took that approach.

• In Bauer’s case, the Mets were aggressive, reportedly making an offer worth $105 million over three seasons. Bauer opted to sign with the Dodgers for $102 million, which the Mets did not consider a significant defeat. In the weeks leading up to their offer, the Mets weighed the risks and benefits of a Bauer signing -- polling women in the organization, among others, given Bauer’s checkered history on social media. When the Mets missed out on Bauer, they pivoted instead to Taijuan Walker, ultimately signing him to a deal worth less than 20 percent of Bauer’s.

“I’m not here to say, ‘Wow, we dodged a bullet,’” Alderson said. “I’m happy with the way the offseason went generally, and not unhappy about losing out on Bauer or others.”

• Regarding Springer, Alderson indicated that the Mets were willing to go to five years, but not six, in part because a longer contract would have made it more difficult for them to sign fellow outfielder Michael Conforto to a long-term extension -- a pursuit the Mets intend to begin soon. Springer ultimately went to the Blue Jays on a six-year, $150 million deal.

• Previously, Alderson had explained the Mets’ non-pursuit of Realmuto as a matter of timing. Realmuto was not interested in signing in November, when the Mets were looking to strike. As such, Alderson feared waiting for Realmuto, only to have both him and James McCann land elsewhere. So the Mets signed McCann early in the offseason to a four-year deal, ensuring they would at least land the second-best backstop on the market.

The result was a more diversified offseason portfolio for the Mets, who turned over nearly half their 40-man roster instead of investing larger amounts in a smaller group of high-profile players.

Said Alderson: “I’m very comfortable with the way it shook out.”

Organizational review

Alderson said that the Mets have worked to overhaul their hiring practices in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behavior against former general manager Jared Porter, manager Mickey Callaway and hitting coordinator Ryan Ellis. In particular, Alderson said the team is “being more intentional about communicating with women who may have had some contact” with candidates prior to their hiring. The Mets are also increasing the thoroughness of background checks for all hires.

“We just have to be mindful that, in each of these cases, we have to be broader in our understanding of who these people are, and what their backgrounds may be,” Alderson said.

Whatever role is needed

Sean Reid-Foley, one of three pitchers the Mets received from the Blue Jays in their January trade for Steven Matz, debuted on Monday with a perfect inning at Roger Dean Stadium. Reid-Foley featured a fastball that sat around 92 mph, plus an upper-80s slider and changeup.

Although manager Luis Rojas has identified Reid-Foley as a piece of the Mets’ starting depth, Reid-Foley believes he’ll serve in more of a long-relief role. Eight of Reid-Foley’s 13 career appearances with the Blue Jays came out of the bullpen.

“From what I’ve gotten … they want me more as a reliever,” Reid-Foley said, “but also be willing to cover innings out of the bullpen -- not just like a one-inning guy.”

Welcome aboard

The Mets announced a significant front-office hire, naming Jeff Deline their new executive vice president and chief revenue officer. A Toronto native, Deline had spent nearly 25 years at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, where he oversaw naming rights and partnership deals for the Raptors, Maple Leafs and Toronto FC.

“We’re thrilled to have attracted an industry leader in Jeff to join us,” Alderson said in a statement. “His breadth and depth of experiences and successes … will be at the foundation of a new approach to driving revenues at the Mets rooted in analytics and innovation.”