Sandy Alderson Citi Field

Sandy Alderson speaks about the Wilpon-Madoff drama

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Sandy Alderson was on a conference call today to discuss the R.A. Dickey signing. Everyone knew about that a week ago, however, so inevitably the topic of conversation switched to the whole Wilpons-have-to-sell-a-stake-of-the-Mets business. Alderson’s highlights:

“The plan and the course I’ve taken the last few months hasn’t been affected at all by any other outside factors. From my standpoint, when I interviewed and took this position I was of course aware of the preexisting involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point, and I would expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I’ve done over the last two months and I don’t expect it will have any impact on what I do over the next several, including into the 2012 offseason.”

He was asked specifically about whether it will impact the Mets’ strategy with Jose Reyes, who is poised to become a very expensive free agent next winter if he has anything approaching a decent year:

“Perhaps naively, I don’t expect this situation will be a hindrance in that regard. I fully expect that decision will be made as it would’ve been, in the best interest of the team on the field and the best interest of the overall financial health as well as baseball future of the Mets, as it would be with every other team. Again, I go back to the notion that if a potential financial issue exists, ownership is proactively addressing it, and I don’t expect any financial situation will inhibit negotiations with Jose.”

Finally, he was asked if he has any regrets taking the job now that he know how bad the Wilpons’ financial troubles are:

“You’re right to say some circumstances have changed, but would it have changed my decision? I don’t think so…From my standpoint, I’m not surprised by this development just because the Madoff situation was a backdrop to the Mets, a well-known backdrop. My enthusiasm and energy for this position and my confidence in the Mets is undiminished.”

I think you gotta take him at his word on the last bit: it wouldn’t change his decision.  Everyone knew there were issues with the Mets. Alderson is actually in a no-lose position because of it. If the Mets win, he’s a wizard.  If they lose, hey, the Wilpons tied his hands because they were broke.

As for the plan being the same in 2011 and 2012 and for the Jose Reyes decision to be made on the same basis as it would have been?  Well, whatever you say, Sandy.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.

Daniel Szew: “Landa was a leader, happy-go-lucky guy”

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 1:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a photo during the Twins' photo day on March 1, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.

Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”

Per Berardino:

He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.

If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.

“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”

Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.