By Joe Magnavita
Coming into this year there were high expectations for the New York Mets. Many baseball experts predicted them to win or get to the World Series. They were supposed to open the season with one of the greatest rotations of all-time potential. Even John Smoltz an all-time great pitcher claimed that this Mets rotation was “way better” and “had more talent than we could ever have” (in terms of his great Braves’ rotations). The idea of the Mets being a World Series contender was flipped upside down with a multitude of injuries during the season. This is one of the main reasons that I claim that Sandy Alderson is undoubtedly the MLB Executive of the Year. The first injury that occurred for the Mets was when one of their best power hitters Lucas Duda went on the DL with a stress fracture of the lower back on May 23rd. In less than a week, Alderson traded cash to the San Diego Padres for James Loney. Many baseball scouts thought his career was over but Loney had a resurgent year batting .265 which is actually greater than Lucas Duda’s career average.
Another big blow to the Mets happened on June 3rd when David Wright was put on the 15-day DL. He did not play for the rest of the season due to a herniated disk in his neck. It was a sad thing for Mets’ fan to see that to happen to their Captain. Many believe his career is over and I would have to agree. With the Mets being in the bottom of the league in runs scored and having fielding issues Sandy made two great moves in June by trading for Kelly Johnson and signing Jose Reyes. Johnson who was on the team last year and was a swiss army knife all year (and a timely hitter). The Reyes signing took a lot of moxie on Alderson’s part because of the domestic violence charges Reyes dealt with. Although there was some bad press, Reyes was fantastic all year, giving the Mets a spark on the base paths and in the locker room. He also still has a rocket arm in the field at age 33.
But then The Dark Knight fell. On July 6 Matt Harvey was declared out for the year with thoracic outlet syndrome in his pitching shoulder. With the Mets at 54-51 on August 1st, Alderson made a move that many thought would jumpstart the Mets offense. He acquired Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds. Bruce was the league leader in RBIs at the time but was absolutely terrible for the Mets. He made even Jason Bay‘s tenure with the Mets look serviceable.
So here we are on August 19th with the Mets record at 60-62. They were five games back of the wild card and had a 9% chance of making the playoffs. The Mets started to compile a momentum at the end of August, but then ANOTHER dreaded month of injuries hit the team. Jacob DeGrom, Neil Walker, Steven Matz, Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler (whom was supposed to return in July after missing 2015 with Tommy John surgery) were all declared done for the season. The Mets were now left with minor league journeyman T.J. Rivera, a Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard love child named Robert Gsellman, and some guy named Seth Lugo. These were all minor leaguers drafted by Alderson.
To finish the season the Mets went on an improbable run by going 27-13 (best record in baseball after August 19th) and clinching the first wild card. Somehow, after losing their entire starting opening day infield and FOUR OF THEIR SIX starting pitchers, the Mets made the playoffs in a year where I threw in the towel before September began. Although the season may end tomorrow night, Alderson deserves Executive of the Year for the straight up rabbit out of a hat moves he pulled all year. Sandy Alderson has been nicknamed the “Baseball Maverick” and deservedly so. And one more thing…YA GOTTA BELIEVE!!! #LGM
P.S. Signing Tim Tebow might have given the Mets some divine intervention. IMO