Opinion: The one-year, $8 M bet, as well as signing Chris Young

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The more I think about it, maybe Sandy Alderson should have signed Chris Young and Nelson Cruz. I see lots of people still debating one over the other, but for $16 million the Mets could have had both players for just one season.

In his talk with ESPN 98.7 FM in New York on Tuesday, Alderson said he signed Young in hopes that he could hit at least .240 with 15 home runs and be an insurance policy for rookie center field Juan Lagares. He’s on pace to do this.

At the time Young signed with the Mets, Cruz was seeking a five-year, $80 million deal. However, after misreading the open market, he ended up signing a one-year, $8 million to play for Baltimore, where he alone already has almost more home runs than the entire Mets starting lineup.

“They’re different types of players,” Alderson said after Cruz landed with the Orioles (Daily News, Feb. 23). “I’m not here to criticize Cruz. He brings power to the table, but he doesn’t bring defense, and he doesn’t have our approach (at the plate).”


USATSI_7911937_110579513_lowres


If that approach is hitting 19 home runs, Alderson is right, Cruz certainly has a different approach to hitting than these current Mets. That said, Alderson is also right about Cruz’s defense, which is terrible. However, for a team struggling to hit for power, it’s hard to deny that Cruz’s bat would be anything other than a major help these days, which would have likely offset any errors he made in the field.

The thing Alderson and the Mets need to understand about fans repeatedly moaning about payroll is that, in New York City, there is an expectation that – at the very least – they can and will make a reasonable one-year, $8 million bet on a power bat, especially since Alderson openly says generating power and offense is this team’s biggest problem. I have no doubt that Alderson can justify passing on Cruz, be it for defense, hitting philosophy, or trending, statistical reasons. I agree, signing Cruz for five years would have been beyond stupid, a view clearly shared by the other 29 GMs in baseball. However, at one year, he would have done nothing to limit future payrolls and he may also have solved Alderson’s biggest problem on the roster.

What’s more, given how well Lagares is playing, if Young gets on track, Cruz would have been an ideal trade candidate, similar to Marlon Byrd last season. These are the type of short-term, low-risk, super-high upside deals that Billy Beane does so well in Oakland. I’d like to see more of these type of deals from Alderson, who is very mindful of the need to compete today, while simultaneously building for the future.




200 comments
Edwin Cruz
Edwin Cruz

It's mind boggling, we have more swing and miss hitters in the Major Leagues.....We're losing games from a pure lack of hitting in important situations.

mique1313
mique1313

Sandy Alderson says... “I’m not here to criticize Cruz. He brings power to the table, but he doesn’t bring defense, and he doesn’t have our approach (at the plate).”  


I get the lack of defense part but Sandy blew it, when he refused to sign N. Cruz.  What, no one knew that Cruz woud sign for 1 year?  Apparenty Baltimore did.  The team needs a big bat so that the Wright's, Granderson's, Duda's and D'Arnaud's of the word can get better pitches to hit.  It is so obvious how the lack of a legitimate power hitter is affecting this lineup.


The last part of what he said also ticks me off....."he doesn't have our approach at the plate".  The Mets make their decisions based on this "approach at the plate" stuff and they still can't hit anything.  They really need to reexamine this "approach" stuff, because it isn't working.  Hardly any offense is being generated by it.  If they keep this up no one will go to their games or at least they shouldn't.


Sincerely,

Frustrated MetsFan (Number 1,000,000,000)

Eric Arnesen
Eric Arnesen

Young was a questionable signing from day one. I'm so sick and tired of Alderson and needing players who have a specific approach. How about an approach that imvolves driving in runs? That one seems to work best. Alderson has done nothing to improve the offense or the bullpen during his tenure.

Jeffrey George
Jeffrey George

Why do people think cruz would have accepted an $8 million/one year deal to play for the mets at Citi field? He only accepted that offer from the orioles in an effort to have a monster season in a bandbox and then sign a long term deal next year.

bklehmann
bklehmann

Matt - this can't possibly be the 1st time you thought maybe they should've signed both.  I acutally understand what they did with Chris Young, the market was set really high with Marlon Byrd and then Jacoby Elssbury.  Nelson Cruz was demanding $120M and Choo was asking the same.  They thought they'd take the cheap route and get someone before the pool dried up.


However, they should've kept tabs on Cruz by January.  The market completely collapsed and he had no options so another conversation was obvious.  They then have egg completely on their face when he signs for 1yr - $8M.  Now to see him with19 HRs to Young's 4 makes you look foolish.  


$8M?  SERIOUSLY!??  It made the entire MLB sans the Orioles look like they got caught with their pants aroumd their ankles.



I do not want to hear another word about Cruz and his bad defense as long as Bobby Abreu is allowed to start some games in the outfield!

legs3
legs3

Hey Sandy can you tell me who on this roster has shown great improvement by using your so called hitting philosophy.  You have just about the worst offensive roster in the major leagues and you are not developing any minor league potential big bats.  Opposing pitchers are blowing first pitch fastballs by your hitters and they are swinging at sliders and curve balls because they are always behind in the count.  Open your eyes and get an offensive approach.  Stop searching for strikes and start swinging at them.

j0sHi328
j0sHi328

Honestly I just hope the Wilpons make some seriously racist comments and get kicked out like Donald Sterling in the NBA that might solve all of our problems

yankeehater
yankeehater

"Cruz was never coming to the mets for 8 mill". So says all of the major league baseball executives who, for some reason, are all here posting on Metsblog instead of being worried about their respective teams.

First of all....please shut up already. Secondly, if it took 10-11, it still should have been done. The fact of the matter is we NEVER MADE ANY OFFER!! How do you Einstein's know what it would have taken to get him when NO offer was ever extended?

grillruben
grillruben

The issue isn't as much not signing Cruz as it is jumping the gun and giving Young the insane deal they gave him.

C.K. Dexter Haven
C.K. Dexter Haven

You are possibly a fantasy land resident if you believe:

- Cruz would've taken the same 1 year/$8mil+ to come to Queens

- Cruz is a defender on par with Chris Young.  (Chris Young has been pedestrian, but Cruz is AWFUL)

- Cruz (and his agent) choosing Baltimore wasn't calculated.


Nellie is having a very good season.  No doubt.  He's hitting in an above average lineup, in a very HR friendly ballpark, within an EXTREMELY HR friendly division.  He's playing both LF and DH (something he can't do in Queens), and as an AL player, he didn't have to learn a bunch of new pitchers.  Yes, he and his agent over read the market for him.  

dooley
dooley

Cruz was never coming here unless we met his original salary demands. Michael Morse on the other hand, was a player that could have been realistically been obtained. Morse was a very affordable Mark Trumbo; he is one of the reasons the Giants are playing so well.

ltorres14
ltorres14

I'm quite tired of all the nonsense related to Citi Field and its dimensions.  There are so many other teams that play in stadiums that are just as large or larger than Citi Field and we don't hear this level of BS around their inability to hit there.  Check the ball park factors.  The perceived pitcher's paradise that we have is all related to the quality of players that you have.  SF, Seattle, Miami, San Diego, LA, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Washington, Detroit all have ballparks just as large.  Someone please do an analysis that shows me this is the worst place in the league to hit.  A quick google search showed me that last year and in 2012, Citi was in the top 12 of HRs hit.  This year it is way down but is that the ballpark or something else?  Our pitching is also better now that it was.

thwacker
thwacker

The money has to be spent well. Remember Frank Francisco, Jason Bay, K Rod, Castillo, etc. and that is just in recent years.  Sandy has to get players that will work in Citifield.  He's done pretty well with trades but what free agent has really been a success? Marlon Byrd maybe and he let him go and that was just lucky because he wasn't that good before. The Oakland GM is just smarter.

John Kranzley
John Kranzley

How is signing Cruz for 4 years "beyond stupid" but Granderson is ok? They must be in denial.

theglider
theglider

Don't worry about Chris Young. His deal was for one year and he'll be gone at the end of the season.

My concern is Granderson. He's a .200 hitter and we've got him for three years after this.

Bobby Fallarino
Bobby Fallarino

Would have had to give Cruz like 15 mil to come here. He wanted to boost his numbers to get a big deal next year

specialk
specialk

If you were Cruz would you have come to Citi Field in the National League for 8 Million? No way.  Especially if you need a big year before trying to get another big contract.  Who knows what it would have taken to get him here but its foolish to think he would have come here for the same 8 million he got to play in the American League where he can DH if needed, hit in a small ballpark in a division filled with smaller ballparks.  

snarkerttack
snarkerttack

I've always felt this Young signing was a panic move.  This past off-season, Mets fans, myself included,  begged the front office to sign a hitter or make a trade. 2014 was supposed to be the year we got better.  With ire mounting  I believe Sandy bid against himself and signed this loser. Maybe it was the talk of Rod Carew working over the winter with Young that seduced Alderson. Unfortunately, hitting is not a virus and you can't catch it by close contact.  

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

Wait a second on Cruz....there were SO  many red flags on that guy, there's no second guessing here.  He was a steroid guy as recently as last year, he may have been a product of playing in Texas....he only hit lefties....he's terrible on D.

Add all that up and the guy of course has 19 homers and May isn't even over.  He WASN'T coming here to rebuild value. 

There's plenty of critiques for CY, but the one thing I'll say is his value is largely as a CF'er.  He profiles very poorly in LF.  This comes down more to management and the front office not realizing or beleiving in Lagares enough, I guess.

dukewillie
dukewillie

Sandy on Cruz: “I’m not here to criticize Cruz. He brings power to the table, but he doesn't bring defense, and he doesn't have our approach (at the plate).” Ya, that's why he has more homers by himself that the entire starting lineup of the Mets. Frankly Sandy, I much rather prefer Cruz's approach at the plate that yours and your staff's approach!

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

Question.. if we traded Gee,Murphy and maybe D'arnaud or Plawecki for a  legitimate 280-30 homer  90-100 rbi  type player..would fans here be angry? I know I wouldn't be. To me it seems Sandy is very hesitant to trade ANY pitching.

metstastic
metstastic

On paper, their power is similar, however Granderson can play defense. Cruz can not.

metstastic
metstastic

He was not signed for his average. If he can hit 25+ HR and drive in runners, you will have gotten your money's worth.

helloboy
helloboy

@theglider At least he is driving in some runs.  23 RBI is still not horrible, he did miss a few days too.  he needs another hot streak. 

metstastic
metstastic

Too bad he can't hit up here. Another AAAA player.

Christopher Masiello
Christopher Masiello

I've thought the same thing. He's hitting those homers in Camden Yards (plus Fenway, Tampa, Toronto, and the Bronx Whiffle Ball Center). Now, I'm not going to completely discount his significant numbers, but you have to shave off several homers.

thwacker
thwacker

 And noone knew in the winter that he would hit this well

helloboy
helloboy

@Albert E Lewis I do not think he will want to move Gee.  When push comes to shove, the ceiling of Montero or deGrom may be Gee. Neither are overly dynamic.  You  may as well keep Gee, who will be affordable long term and you know he will be effective.   On another note, i am not as interested in the HR guy, in our park and in this era, the HR will be limited anyway.  I would take a big bopper in the OF, if i can get a SS that can also lead off.  I will settle for a good hitting and solid D SS and take an OF that can lead off too.  I think Lagares is better as a 6 hitter. 

I would love to make a trade involving Montero, Herrera and Walters and TDA if it could net me Starlin Castro. 

Doubleday
Doubleday

@Albert E Lewis He is hesitant to trade any pitching because the company pitching philosophy breeds Tommy John surgeries.

p8erbaghad
p8erbaghad

@Albert E Lewis That'll never happen.  The team won't commit to trading for a $100 mil+ player when they won't even try to sign one in free agency. 

stage52
stage52

@thwacker  Nobody knew he would eventually sign for 8 million too as late in  the process as he did.  If Sandy had waited for Cruz to finally come around  to signing you know that many here would be screaming that Sandy was doing nothing. It is easy to play Fantasy baseball.  There are no real consequences .  Reality is far harder.

mi
mi

@Albert E Lewis @mi if you take murph out of the lineup its not as much of an addition, murphy is a hell of a hitter