This afternoon, general manager Jared Porter and team president Sandy Alderson held a virtual press conference to discuss today’s trade with Cleveland, wherein the Mets traded for shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in exchange for infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario and prospects Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene.
Alderson began with some opening remarks, calling Lindor “one of the great players in baseball” and identifying Carrasco has an “outstanding starting pitcher.” Alderson made sure to note that the players did not come cheaply, and mentioned that this deal was in the works since “close to the beginning of the off-season,” though the talks came to a head over the last few days, starting Monday. Later in the call, Alderson stated that the talks started out as being for Lindor only, but they were always targeting both players.
Porter then came on the call to commend the Mets’ scouting and player development divisions, noting that all four players traded away were either drafted or signed by the Mets.
When asked by SNY’s Steve Gelbs about extending Lindor, Alderson said that they’ve had one conversation with Lindor thus far and none with his agents, and that they will begin to have those conversations in the next few weeks. Later in the call, Alderson was a bit coy with his language, but seemed to express some confidence in their ability to sign Lindor long term. Alderson cited new ownership and the allure of New York City as reasons to put them in a good position to negotiate an extension.
Alderson said “we felt comfortable giving up [Giminez, Rosario, Greene, and Wolf] for Lindor for one year and Carrasco with two years and an option.” At several points in the call, Alderson emphasized that he felt the deal was a fair trade without an extension for Lindor. He also said that no negotiating window with Lindor was discussed prior to the trade.
As for whether or not there was another big move for the Mets, Alderson said “I think the market will dictate some of our decisions over the next few weeks. We will still be active, talking in the marketplace, but I do think this moves us forward quite a bit. We’ll see if this takes us out of certain players, or makes a player for other players.”
Tim Healey of Newsday asked what is the appetite for another big addition, in terms of budget and personal? “We are always hungry,” said Alderson. “I think when the dust settles in the next couple of days, we’ll have a better sense of [the future].”
Porter emphasized that the priorities right now were depth across the roster, while specifically mentioning continuing to strengthen the team defensively up the middle and that there could never be enough pitching depth.
When asked by Mike Puma of the Post about trading away prospects, Alderson clarified the team’s position on trading away young talent. “You need to look to the bigger picture. We gave up two prospects that we really liked, but they weren’t part of our top six or seven. We have never said we’re not going to trade prospects, but we’ve expressed to ourselves that we’re not moving our top handful of players, and this deal respects that. And from a bigger picture standpoint, there are draft picks that are involved, so if Francisco doesn’t sign with us, we’ve got a pretty significant draft pick coming to us. We didn’t want to give up the prospects, but this was an important deal to make and, given all the other considerations, it was the right deal to make.”
Porter would later clarify that no prospect should be considered untouchable, but reiterated their happiness with the top five or six prospects.
When asked how the luxury tax threshold would affect the team going forward, Alderson claimed that the threshold was a “significant demarcation, but I wouldn’t say it is a line that cannot be passed.”
Both Porter and Alderson pointed to Lindor’s ‘star quality’ as part of the decision making process, Porter said that his well roundedness was appealing. “He’s a great defender, a great baserunner, a great hitter, he’s charismatic, and a high energy player. Teammates feed off of it, he feeds off of it. He never stops looking to get better or improve. When I called him today, it sounded like he was in the batting cage hitting. He’s a hard worker, a great teammates, someone who leads by example, and someone who can be part of the core of our club.”
Porter expressed confidence in the team’s infield versatility, specifically relating to Jeff McNeil and JD Davis and their ability to play both the corner outfield positions as well. Porter didn’t rule out adding a more defensive-minded infielder down the road, but expressed confidence in the current makeup of the infield. Alderson, later in the call, specifically mentioned Luis Guillorme’s name as a piece of their infield depth, specifically citing his defensive prowess.
When asked by Justin Toscano of the Bergen Record if the off-season were to end this week, would Porter be comfortable with the rotation as is? Porter spotlighted six pitchers for spots in the rotation: Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carrasco, David Peterson, Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo, as well as noting that Noah Syndergaard is due back, hopefully, in June. He did specifically mention a desire to add more starting pitching depth.
On the topic of Lugo, Alderson discussed that Lugo could be considered a relief pitcher if you’re looking at what they’ve done in the rotation, or as a starter, considering how the Mets have improved the bullpen. He said that the team, in conjunction with some input from Lugo, would look at his role come spring.
When asked by Howie Rose about how the uncertain status of the designated hitter in the National League impacts their roster decisions. Alderson said that the lack of a DH is already an issue, due to Dominic Smith and Pete Alsonso both vying for the first base job. Joel Sherman doubled down on this, asking if the DH would impact signing a center fielder, and Alderson said no, although he noted that putting Smith in left field was ‘not ideal.’
Alderson was asked by Bradford Davis of the Daily News about the events at the Capitol yesterday, and how the organization was going to respond to it. Alderson said that they reached out to their employees about it earlier today, and said he personally found the situation ‘disturbing on many levels.” Alderson added that the last few years have been ‘very disappointing’ from the perspective as someone who ‘spend a few years defending democracy in some way,’ a reference to his military service.
Alderson ended the call by thanking the Cleveland Indians, citing how hard of a day this was for their organization.