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Sandy Alderson: Executive of the Year for Major League Baseball, or Just Lucky?

Tyler Clippard (Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Clippard was one of the key acquisitions Alderson made this season.

Tyler Clippard (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Clippard was one of the key acquisitions Alderson made this season.

The rebuilding project that was the New York Mets in 2010 when Sandy Alderson took over as general manager finally reached a milestone garnering its first division title since 2006.

As expected, Sandy Alderson is getting high praise.

Most notably, he is recognized for the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes and the completion of minor but very shrewd deals such as landing Tyler Clippard to solidify the backend of the bullpen, and acquiring postseason veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to add depth.

However, does he deserve the credit?

Let’s examine further.

The backbone of this team is its pitching: deGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, and Matz as headline starters and Familia at the back end.

Sandy Alderson only acquired one of those starters and that was Noah Syndergaard whom he landed in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that included Travis d’Arnaud, for starting pitcher R.A. Dickey.

Omar Minaya gets some credit there as it was his regime that identified Dickey, and invited him to Spring Training in 2010.

However, the haul of a starting catcher in d’Arnaud and a front line starter was quite a move so, score one for Alderson with an assist from Minaya.

Where Minaya shines through however is talent evaluation.

It was his regime that landed Harvey and deGrom were both selected in the 2010 draft, the last draft presided over by Omar Minaya while he selected Stephen Matz in 2009 as the Mets’ philosophy was pitching centric and it was rewarded.

Familia was signed as an amateur free-agent by Minaya’s regime in 2007 and although he wasn’t supposed to be the closer this season, his talent was and is undeniable.

Omar Minaya was also involved in the signing of Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada who although aren’t stars, have been contributors on this team and he drafted Daniel Murphy in the 2006 draft.

Of course, Alderson must get credit for drafting and developing Michael Conforto, who may be a super star in the league, and good free agent decisions like Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon who have been steadying influences on the Mets.

So again, with Omar Minaya’s fingerprints all over this year’s team, Alderson deserves some, but not all credit and then there are other factors.

One, the trade that wasn’t.

As the Mets headed toward the trade deadline, it was reported that the Mets had acquired former Mets’ farmhand Carlos Gomez for Zach Wheeler and Wilmer Flores.

Had that trade gone though, odds are, the team doesn’t explore other options.

In fact, the Mets were close to acquiring Jay Bruce who coincidentally, was the final out on Saturday in the Mets’ division clinching win.

It was in the last moments before he July 31st deadline that the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes who has of course, been one of the major reasons this team has taken off as it has.

Finally, at the time of the trade, the Mets were trailing an underachieving Washington Nationals’ squad and had just completed losing 2 of 3 to the San Diego Padres, and were heading into a series with the Nationals trailing the Nats by 3 full games who sat at just 8 over .500 with the wild card realistically out of reach.

So was Sandy lucky?

He inherited a lot of talent, and lucked into a division in which the headlining team failed to meet expectations, lucky a trade for Gomez and Bruce fell through. But, better lucky than good.


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