Is Sandy Alderson the right man for the Mets' GM job?

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Now that it appears as though Sandy Alderson is the front runner for the Mets’ GM job, Andy Martino of the Daily News has some questions for the guy.  He couches them in “hey, Alderson may be the best man for the job, I’m just askin'” language, but you can tell that he’s a bit concerned about these things. Let’s take them one at a time:

Question: After noting that Alderson’s Oakland Athletics teams were at the vanguard of steroidly goodness, he wants Alderson to talk about the degree to which he thinks owners and GMs were responsible for PEDs in baseball.

Answer: I think anyone in baseball over the past 20 years, including other candidates like John Hart, should have an opinion on that, as they were all a part of the problem in one way or another.  If that’s as far as Martino wants to take it, fine, but if the question is aimed specifically at Alderson for his connection to the A’s it seems a bit unfair. Really, it’s a question he probably could have and should have asked of any Mets GM or GM candidate for the past decade.

Question: Is Alderson, at age 62, too old to be a GM?

Answer: I think chronological age is a bit narrow here. In terms of energy for the job and how in-touch he is with the latest developments in the game. Alderson has long been ahead of his contemporaries.  At the same time, Omar Minaya and many others younger than Alderson have shown a distinct lack of energy and open mindedness for the job, wouldn’t you agree?

Question: Given that Alderson would be leaving his job overseeing operations in the Dominican Republic — a job which he said he’d “see through to the end,” — might Alderson leave the Mets before seeing the job through?

Answer: While the DR job may be important in many respects, let’s not fool ourselves here: that’s a time-biding job for most people who would fill it. If Alderson passed up the Mets job to stick with his duties in the Dominican, he’d probably forever be considered a non-candidate for other GM positions.  And commentators would likely label him not ready for prime time.  Beyond all that, there aren’t many general managers who leave their job of their own volition.  When Alderson leaves the Mets, it will be because he got fired or because there are no more worlds left to conquer. That’s usually just how it goes.

Question: Given that Alderson does not have a scouting background, he’d need to bring more talent evaluators with him. Would the Mets spring for such talent?

Answer: This is either not a question for Alderson, or else it’s a backhanded way of saying that Alderson is not qualified for this particular job based on his lack of a scouting background.  Ultimately, however, I think his track record speaks for itself. He has done the job on teams where resources were nowhere near abundant.  There is no reason to think that he couldn’t do it with the Mets. At least, assuming he’s allowed to do it without interfercene from above.

In some ways maybe I’m an Alderson fanboy. But really, if these are the worst criticisms/questions that anyone can raise about his candidacy, I think he’s pretty well suited for the job, don’t you?

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.