28 Mar Getting to know…..New York Mets General manager, SANDY ALDERSON
Name: Richard Lynn “Sandy” Alderson
Born: November 22, 1947 (age 69)
Job Title: General Manager of the New York Mets.
Other Jobs: Previously served as an executive with the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres and the commissioner’s office of Major League Baseball.
Why should Mets fans be excited about this year’s team? A: Over the last couple of years, the team has performed at a much higher level, and I think we can do that again. I think that while we haven’t seen a lot of new faces or won’t see a lot of new faces in spring training, other than some young players that we have coming through our system, we’re gonna have players coming back who weren’t able to perform, mostly for health reasons last season, and as a result I think we’ve got the potential to be better than we were last year and comparable to what we were in 2015. We’ve got starting pitchers coming back, we’ve got position players coming back, we’ve got some young players with room to grow. … I just think the potential is there to be very good. You guys spent a lot of money this offseason re-signing Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker and others, but you’re essentially returning the same team as you had last season. Was that the plan going into the offseason? A: It wasn’t the plan to bring back the same team, but we liked our players. We do put a premium on their ability to play and have success in a place like New York. We put a premium on character and what players represent in the clubhouse, so we knew these players and had a need at those positions, and that’s how it worked out. Your rotation is obviously the strength, but the starters are going to start making some more money at some point here and eventually will hit free agency, with Harvey as the first one. With that in mind, do you view the next couple years as your best window to win a World Series? A: Not necessarily, no. I think there are ways to stay within that window with an ever-changing roster of players, if necessary. We kept our players together this season, and we’d like to keep players together going forward. But again, with fans in mind, fans like stability, but they like change, too. Few teams make it through a season with the same five-man rotation. With that in mind, how important is the depth you have beyond those four — with Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman — to the success of the season? A: The depth is very important — and it’s the kind of depth that we didn’t expect to have last season. When Lugo and Gsellman came up, they pitched, really, better than we could have expected. So we werefortunate in that regard. In some ways, the fact that we had those injuries last year has put us in a better position this year because of the experience they had last year and the fact that we are legitimately seven deep at this point, subject to whatever begins to happen over the course of the season. What do you like best about Noah Syndegaard? A: First of all, his phenomenal growth and maturity over the last two, 2 .5 years. From the young pitcher that we acquired from Toronto, to the successful major league New York icon that he’s become. It’s just a phenomenal metamorphosis. I really enjoy his personality, his wit and the way he allows himself to enjoy what he’s doing. Do you regret not signing Daniel Murphy at the end of last season? A: First of all, Daniel is a great guy. I’m happy for his success last year. Obviously, we would not have gone to the World Series in 2015 without him and had the success that we did in the playoffs that year without him. Any time somebody does well for someone else, you think about how it might have been different. The only thing that might have assuaged the sense of loss was the fact that Neil Walker played so well for us. It was good for Murphy, and we were happy for him. I think we take pride in the fact that it was something that happened here in ‘15 that led to that. Had we thought that could be sustained, we might have made a different decision. But it is what it is. How much of a concern is Travis d’Arnaud? I was hoping the Mets would go after Matt Weiters this off season. I’m not concerned about Travis. Look, we understand that he’s got great potential, he’s been injury-prone, didn’t hit as well last year as he might have. Probably didn’t catch as well as he might have, but he’s been doing a lot of work in the offseason with our new catching instructor/third base coach Glenn Sherlock, and he’s been working with Kevin Long also on the hitting side, so I’ve got a lot of optimism about Travis. How much longer do you want to do this? A: That’s a good question, but the foreseeable future, so what does that mean? I don’t know. Right now I’m healthy, and still energized by the job. So no plans on retiring, or voluntarily anyway (laugh). I don’t expect to be doing it for another 20 years, but other than that, I don’t really set any limitations. What would it mean to you to bring a championship to New York? A: It would be gratifying for all of us in the organization, especially to be able to do it here in New York City largely because I know how much it would mean to Mets fans here in New York, ’cause I know how much they cherish their memories of 1986, and in some cases 1969. It would be great to make that a trifecta. Looking forward to a great season!