Transcript Of Sandy Alderson's Interview On SNY Tonight

Sandy Alderson joined Gary Cohen and Ron Darling in the booth during Tuesday night's broadcast. Here is a transcript of the conversation.

During the top of the fifth inning of the Mets' 10-6 loss to the Pirates tonight, Sandy Alderson joined Gary Cohen and Ron Darling in the booth to talk about the state of the Mets. We put together a full transcript of the interview, but first here are some highlights:

On the offense's second half struggles:

We've looked at pitches per plate appearance in the first half and second half. And they're down significantly in the second half. I think that sometimes has to do with the mix of personnel. If you look at who we had in the lineup over the last year and a half, because the buy-in was over the last year and a half. When you start mixing in some additional personnel who maybe don't approach it that way, I think it can have an effect on the overall approach. That's not an indictment of anybody. We've had some players over the last two or three months that probably don't reflect that approach as well as others.

Note: Jordany Valdespin? Ruben Tejada?

On the importance of power hitting:

You cannot win consistently at the major league level if you don't have some measure of power and we haven't had as much as we need.

On player evaluation:

We're doing a lot of that right now. Without naming names, we're looking at defensive metrics, we're looking at offensive metrics. What kind of offense do we need to get from Player A in order to justify playing time, if the defensive metrics aren't there. Is somebody more valuable to another team at another position than he possibly is with us?

Note: Daniel Murphy? Lucas Duda?

On the recent disparaging rumors about Ike Davis and what it means for his future with the team:

The biggest risk is that this stuff comes out and suddenly it's attributed to me and it ends up creating a problem in our relationship with the player... Ike's a valuable part of this team. One of the things we lack is power. For us to trade a guy that's hit 30 home runs, we better know where the next 30 are coming from. At some point, you don't just ignore those stories. You have to manage it and most of that happens internally.

On re-signing David Wright:

David has been here and is the face of the franchise. We'd very much like him to stay, I think he wants to stay. I'm sure he wants to know where we're headed, the things that we intend to do to make the team a winner. We'll have that conversation at some point.

On re-signing R.A. Dickey:

R.A.'s situation is a little bit different, in the sense that there's more immediacy there. Here's a guy who's 37 years old, presumably doesn't have the same horizon that David Wright might. At the end of the season we'll talk with R.A., see what he's thinking. We'll try to have him back. He's been a great story this year. He's been a great asset over the last three years.

Here is the full transcript:

Gary Cohen: We're very pleased to have with us in the booth Mets GM Sandy Alderson. How are you?

Sandy Alderson: Happy to be here.

GC: This has been a very difficult season to assess, I would think. From all the success you guys had in the first half, and all the distress you've had in the second half, how do you look at that and make reasoned judgments about what you've seen?

SA: That's a good question. You look at the first half/second half anomalies; you look at the home and road splits. You really do have to sit down and try to make sense of it. We've tried to do it in a couple of different ways. Notionally, if you will, just thinking about the kinds of things that might have had an impact. We've looked at it from a statistical standpoint, looking critically at what happened, so we understand performance-wise what the differences were, while not necessarily knowing what the underlying causes were. We're spending a lot of time trying to assess that. Winning at home is important to us, finishing strong is important. We haven't done that for four years and we need to figure out why.

GC: When you take a cursory look at this second half, you made the point that it's been four straight seasons for this franchise. There are some seasons, more so before you got here, where you could blame injuries. Not really the case this year. When you look at it as an overview, what happened to this team coming out of the All-Star break?

SA: While not focusing on injury, focusing on performance, if you look first half vs second half, Johan Santana was a big plus for us in the first half. We didn't get much out of him in the second half, not unexpectedly. We've had other players who performed better in the first half vs the second half. Is that related to anything specific? Is that sort of the randomness of the game?

One thing you can look at from a personnel standpoint -- and this is somewhat of an indictment of me and our approach -- we've lost players in the middle of the year. We've lost players in the middle of the year over the last several years. In 2011 we lost Beltran and Frankie Rodriguez. We didn't get an influx of talent from the minor league system, and we didn't get an influx from outside the system either. As a result, you don't get that push. It may be something psychological, it may be something strictly performance-based that comes into play in the second half. But it's definitely something that we have to look at.

Ron Darling: With this extra wild card, there was a week -- it probably lasted longer than that -- when you were buyers. You were thinking about adding to the team and that's when the tailspin started.

SA: Early in July, we had an issue with our bullpen. Frankie had just gone down and we were looking around for somebody that we could plug in, not necessarily as a closer, but someone who could help us. By the end of the month, we had many other problems.

GC: When you look back and see what happened in the second half -- losing Dillon Gee, Santana's performance going down -- the offense also took a big hit. It was really the same personnel, first half vs second half. You lost Nieuwenhuis but his performance had already started to tail off before you sent him down. What do you see there, because this team had such great buy-in offensively in the first half, and it just hasn't been the same way in the second half.

SA: We've looked at pitches per plate appearance in the first half and second half. And they're down significantly in the second half. I think that sometimes has to do with the mix of personnel. If you look at who we had in the lineup over the last year and a half, because the buy-in was over the last year and a half. When you start mixing in some additional personnel who maybe don't approach it that way, I think it can have an effect on the overall approach. That's not an indictment of anybody. We've had some players over the last two or three months that probably don't reflect that approach as well as others.

I remember when I was in here a few weeks ago, I said that you build teams on speed or power, and we don't have either one. What we had at that time was an approach. When we lost the approach, we didn't have the speed, we didn't have the power, we didn't have the approach. Of course, we didn't hit with men in scoring position or with two outs in the second half. It really underscored some of the things we need to do, for example power-wise. If you look at the last four games that we've won. We've out-homered the opposition in each of those games. You cannot win consistently at the major league level if you don't have some measure of power and we haven't had as much as we need. There are a lot of different things we're looking at which we'll have to look at for next season. In some respect I'd rather see a decline in the second half rather than an uptick in the second half. We're certainly not lulled to sleep here. It's not like we have any more confidence today than we should.

RD: If you put the offense aside, usually when you bring up a guy like Matt Harvey, you try to temper it because you don't want to put too many expectations on him. But he outperformed those expectations.

SA: Yes he did, yes he did. We tried to do that. We held him down in Buffalo for an extra couple of starts. We underscored that he wasn't the savior. He really pitched extremely well. Not only did he pitch well, he's handled himself so well. He gives us all a lot of confidence for the future.

GC: Ronnie and I were talking about some of the decisions you're going to have to make before you even start thinking about who stays and who goes. For instance: Is Lucas Duda an outfielder or a first baseman?; Are Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia starters or relievers?; Where does Valdespin fit in?; Is Murphy the long-term answer at second base?; Do you have outfielders who belong here? How difficult is it going to be, and how do you go about making those decisions before even moving on to that other stuff you have to do?

SA: We're doing a lot of that right now. Without naming names, we're looking at defensive metrics, we're looking at offensive metrics. What kind of offense do we need to get from Player A in order to justify playing time, if the defensive metrics aren't there. Is somebody more valuable to another team at another position than he possibly is with us? What is coming through our system? What might be available on the free agent market? What talent do we have at certain positions that we might be willing to trade in order to shore up other positions? It's a complicated process but something every team goes through. We're doing that currently, trying to assess what we have. Trying to be in a position to be confident in the direction we take over the next six-to-eight weeks.

GC: Something slightly distasteful happened last week around this club. A story was written about Ike Davis and the team's intentions as far as Ike is concerned. Some rather disparaging remarks were made, attributed to a source, and who knows who the source is. When something like that happens, what kind of impact does it have on you, on the player, on that player's trade value, and the entire organization?

[Elvin Ramirez walks in a run, LOL]

SA: It's a good question and maybe my answer will distract us from what's going on down on the field. I don't think it causes a lot of long-term harm, as long as the situation and relationship is managed internally. I don't think another club, two months from now, is going to put a lot of stock in a story that was written toward the end of the season. What's more important is that we have a good line of communication with the player. Make sure that the player is confident in us, that we're being straight with him.

The biggest risk is that this stuff comes out and suddenly it's attributed to me and it ends up creating a problem in our relationship with the player. I have talked to Ike over the course of the season, somewhat recently but not since that article. I didn't feel it was necessary to go back and have the same conversation with him that I've had before. Ike's a valuable part of this team. One of the things we lack is power. For us to trade a guy that's hit 30 home runs, we better know where the next 30 are coming from. At some point, you don't just ignore those stories. You have to manage it and most of that happens internally.

RD: How hard was it with Ike early in the season to not send him down? That must have been one of the toughest decisions for an organization to make.

SA: Two things entered into that. One, we were playing well and we were winning. Number two, we didn't feel that we had a lot of good alternatives. In the case of Lucas Duda, we were still in the middle of that right field experiment. We didn't want to pull him out of there and put him at first base while Ike was at Triple-A. When someone goes to Triple-A, you never know what's going to happen. We actually thought the easier thing to do at the time was to send him down. I think a couple other prominent players, Lind and Gaby Sanchez, were sent down too. The precedent was set but we just didn't feel it was right in our situation and it paid off for us with Ike.

GC: You made a comment last month about the intention of signing both R.A. Dickey and David Wright to long-term contracts. Where do you stand on that now? What's your game plan going forward? What's your timeframe?

SA: I can't dictate a timeframe because there are two parties involved. The timeframe has already been dictated by the other side in both cases. Our intent is to work hard to try to keep them both. They've both been great for us this year. David has been here and is the face of the franchise. We'd very much like him to stay, I think he wants to stay. I'm sure he wants to know where we're headed, the things that we intend to do to make the team a winner. We'll have that conversation at some point.

R.A.'s situation is a little bit different, in the sense that there's more immediacy there. Here's a guy who's 37 years old, presumably doesn't have the same horizon that David Wright might. At the end of the season we'll talk with R.A., see what he's thinking. We'll try to have him back. He's been a great story this year. He's been a great asset over the last three years.

GC: Difficult question but, both players heading into their option years, you want to get them signed. If you find it's hard to make a deal, or they're reluctant to sign, does that make them trade bait at that point? Do you look to maximize the return at that point?

SA: I wouldn't go so far as to say it makes them trade bait. You have to constantly assess where you are, and where they may be, and make the best possible judgment. We get criticized from time to time for not trading Jose Reyes last year. I still think we made the right decision holding onto him. He had a great season for us. I think there was still an opportunity -- small perhaps -- that we could have re-signed him. That question comes up and that's something we would have to re-assess as time goes on. If there was no way we thought we would get something done we would approach it one way. I think we tend to be optimistic.

RD: You look at your bullpen, you've got to be happy with Edgin's arm and energy and guttiness, as well as Carson's improvement from the first time he was up.

SA: I think Carson benefitted with his short stay with us early in the season. In one or two cases I don't think he even got to pitch. Just making him more comfortable with the major league clubhouse environment. He's got a great arm. Lefthanded, of course. If both he and Edgin can continue to emerge for us, those are two big pieces. We've been left with one lefthander most of the time I've been here. If we could have two, who knows maybe Tim comes back later in the season we could have three. Those two guys are big for us.

GC: Sandy, thanks so much for the time and thanks for your candor.

SA: Thanks for having me.

RD: Thanks Sandy.

GC: You've got a lot of work. Have fun.

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