Sandy Alderson gave his state of the union address to Mike Francesca this afternoon on WFAN and when it came to talking about opening day and the team’s top two prospects, the Mets GM wasn’t ruling anything out. As Anthony McCarron of the Daily News wrote:
Based on what Alderson said in an interview on WFAN, d’Arnaud is more likely to go north with the Mets than Wheeler. But d’Arnaud, who was the centerpiece of the R.A. Dickey trade, would have to win the starting catcher’s job to be on the Opening Day roster.
“I just don’t want to rule anything out,” Alderson said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to create false expectations for our fans or put pressure on Travis. He hasn’t played since last June (because of a knee injury). . . . As far as Opening Day is concerned, he could be with us. But we have a very capable veteran in John Buck as well.”
It’s “unlikely” that Wheeler starts the season in the majors, Alderson said. But, the GM added, “What if we don’t add a pitcher. We’re looking at guys like (Jeremy) Hefner, (Jenrry) Mejia. Wheeler pops up in that group. That’s not preferred, by any means.”
A link to the audio clip can be found by clicking here and is worth a listen, as Alderson shares his thoughts on where he believes the team needs to improve (i.e. the outfield) and how he feels things have taken shape since his tenure with the Mets began. One other thing that McCarron also points out in his post for Newsday is that it’s quite evident just how high Alderson is on Travis d’Arnaud.
Here’s a snapshot of how high the Mets are on d’Arnaud: Alderson said that he tried to get two specific players from an unnamed team for Dickey, but the team balked. But when Alderson acquired d’Arnaud, the team called back and offered the same two players for d’Arnaud alone. Alderson said no, even though the Mets would’ve kept the other players acquired from Toronto.”
It couldn’t have been easy to trade R.A. Dickey, just like it was a difficult decision to send Carlos Beltran to San Francisco, but in both cases it’s clear that Sandy Alderson set his sights high and got the player he wanted, even when most thought his expectations wouldn’t be met.
It would be great to see Wheeler and d’Arnaud start to pay dividends with the big league club as soon as the season kicks off, but I think fans would be just fine with a Harvey-esque arrival of both players around the All-Star break. If the Mets could somehow, someway, manage to add a veteran to the starting rotation, bullpen, and outfield by the end of the offseason (wishful thinking, I know) and remain competitive for the first couple of months of the season, things could get exciting in Queens in the second half of the year.
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