ATLANTA — His team spiraling and questions about its short-term ceiling and big-picture path increasingly relevant, general manager Sandy Alderson took the blame Tuesday for the state of the Mets.
“We’re not satisfied and to date, the work that we’ve done hasn’t been successful,” Alderson said during a conference call. “I take full responsibility for where we are. I’m not happy about it. But at the same time, the job now is to figure out how to fix it and improve that. That’s what we’re focused on over the next several weeks.”
The Mets’ next several weeks will be critical in deciding their fate for both this season (will they be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?) and perhaps beyond (will they retool on the fly to try again next year or go for a bigger rebuild?).
For now, Alderson doesn’t have the answers. He’ll wait on the players to provide him with some.
The Mets have a tough schedule the next two weeks: Braves, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Dodgers. That brings them to late June, with the All-Star break right around the corner and the trade deadline after that.
Alderson believes the Mets, fresh off a 1-8 homestand, can turn it around. But he knows they are running out of time.
“There are some elements of the team that are performing well,” Alderson said. “Right now, we have to score some more runs. That’s pretty simply stated.”
The Mets are without several key players due to injury and have several healthy ones underperforming. They are 16-32 — a .333 winning percentage — since they opened the year 12-2. Alderson isn’t sure yet who the real Mets are.
“Sometimes players are streaky, sometimes those things turn around overnight,” Alderson said. “I’m not suggesting that actually will happen, but certainly has happened in the past.
“Given the ups and downs we’ve experienced this year, it’s a little bit unclear where we are and what we are and where we’re going . . . There have been such extreme ups and downs, I’m still confident there’s something there. I’m anxious to see whether it is revealed over the next two or three weeks.”
If those weeks go poorly, the Mets face another decision: Do they consider trades strictly for some of their smaller pieces (such as free-agents-to-be Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera, among others locked up for 2019)? Or do they dangle bigger pieces and prepare for a more wholesale rebuild? Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are bandied about in outsiders’ speculation, though there have been no signs the Mets are considering moving on from their best pitchers.
The Mets do, however, have their ear to the ground. And the market — the degree of demand — will influence the direction in which the Mets go.
“Knowing what the market is and what’s going on is definitely an important part of the process,” Alderson said. “We’re always pinging the market. We’re always checking. We know what’s going on. But the market is a function of who’s playing, who’s not playing, what a team needs, doesn’t need. All of those things get shaped over time and change, sometimes day to day. Sometimes based on injury, sometimes based on other considerations.”
The second half has the potential to be a period of significant change for Alderson & Co.
“Could we get younger very quickly? Probably yes,” Alderson said. “And the question really is between where we are now and what we think we can be next season and years after that. I think that again is a function of — not totally, but at least to some extent — what happens over the next few weeks.”