Trust the Sandy Alderson Process
Since around Halloween of 2010, “trust the Sandy Alderson process” have been the words permeating Mets fans’ brains. After back-to-back collapses in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, and a subpar 2009 season (along with other factors – see Bernard Maddoff), the Mets ownership decided to hit the reset button. Out with Omar Minaya and his mega-deals for aging veterans, his appetite for trading the future for immediate incremental success, and his apparently sour clubhouses that would melt down after the trading deadline every single year.
The Mets were in bad shape and the man that eventually changed the culture, Sandy Alderson, against the better wishes of Met fans everywhere, said that there was no quick fix to this problem. Trust the process.
Watching these Mets unfold right before our eyes these past six seasons has been just short of magical. The rebuild of this current Mets team has been painstakingly long; it has been frustrating to the point of pulling one’s hair out; and for a long time there was no end in sight. 2014 became 2015 when Matt Harvey needed Tommy John surgery. Then Zack Wheeler got hurt and last season became about just being in the race. Somewhere along the lines, Sandy decided the team was ready, the pitching was dominant, and the offense was one impact bat away.
Do not let anyone else try to tell you otherwise – this New York Mets team does not make the World Series without Yoenis Cespedes (UPDATE: as of February 2017, Cespedes still thinks the Mets can win the World Series). If you are being truly honest with yourself, you know in your heart of hearts that last year’s team probably does not make the playoffs without Yoenis Cespedes, which is why much of this offseason was so frustrating.
Believing in Sandy Alderson
“Trust the process” all along meant believing in Sandy. Trust him when he says there will be no mega deals to players past the age of 30. Trust him when he says that any contract longer than four years will be regrettable. Trust him when he decides that the best way to build a team is through power arms. Trust him when he preaches versatility over star power. Finally, trust him when he says that the Mets would only bring Yoenis Cespedes back on their terms.
While Alderson’s plan certainly did not include Cespedes, he knew the value that he brought to the team. So when Justin Upton Funk, the last major outfield domino besides Cespedes, fell to the Tigers, Sandy knew that even if there was a small chance Cespedes took a shorter-term deal, he needed to investigate. Reports surfaced the Cespedes had a huge offer from the Nationals, so Sandy had to know that if Cespedes had signed with Washington the fan base would have stormed Citi Field like it was a Pistons-Pacers brawl.
Nevertheless Sandy would not succumb to external pressure; and look what he has to show for it – probably the best team in the National League next season.
Now Sandy Alderson’s Mets
So here we are – a team with a fan base that has expectations nothing short of a World Series title. A team that preached versatility and capitalized on it, as they turned Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe and Daniel Murphy into Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker and Alejandro De Aza. A team that upgraded its bullpen by adding lefty Antonio Bastardo. A team that still has the best rotation in baseball top to bottom.
All that was missing was the big bat. Now it feels like the Mets really do have a formidable MLB player at every position. The lineup is going to be killer on pitchers and the bench is not littered with the Brad Eamuses, Mike Baxters and Omar Quintanillas of the world.
Sure Cespedes will likely opt out next season, but who cares.. we will get a qualifying offer next time and, maybe after another deep playoff run, the owners will finally spend on Cespedes like he were a Jason Bay. The process was long and it was ugly, but it also produced Sandy Alderson’s final stroke of genius. “The process” and Cespedes contradicted each other since the day that the trade was made. No, Cespedes is not the perfect player and no, he does not fit the Alderson type perfectly – which is why Sandy would only have him on his terms.
If you haven’t noticed, everything that Sandy does is on his terms. But after six years of watching the process and eventually seeing the final product, all we can do when it’s time for Sandy to make his next move is trust the process. The Mets would not be the powerhouse they are without him. After six dreadful years, Sandy has finally earned our trust.
No longer is it trust the process. Today, it is in Sandy we trust.
Photo: Nas Says…