Sandy Alderson: Jay Bruce trade was not about ‘saving money’

PHILADELPHIA — After shipping Jay Bruce to the Indians Wednesday night, slighting an offer made by the Yankees, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said that the motivation was not pinching pennies or playing spoiler to the Yankees.

For Alderson and the Mets, the rest of 2017 is all about getting ready for 2018.

“Our goal was not to save money. Our goal, I think I said this a few weeks ago, one of the primary motivations was to create playing time opportunities for other players,” Alderson said before the Mets’ series opener against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. “So that has continued to be a goal of ours.”

With that, Alderson announced that they were calling up another top prospect Friday. Dominic Smith will join the Mets Friday in Philadelphia and make his major league debut this weekend.

Mets trade OF Jay Bruce to Indians for minor-league prospect

The Mets are going to be younger and cheaper through the rest of the season.

The Mets have shed the salaries of three veteran players, saving them between nine and 10 million. They have taken on about $ 2 million with the addition of AJ Ramos.

It should not have been surprising when the Mets looked to dump Bruce’s salary, they had openly been trying to do so since they picked up his $ 13 million option in November.

But, amidst an outcry from their fans who bemoaned the Mets reverting to their penny-pinching ways of just a few years ago because Alderson shot down a deal with the Yankees because they would not assume all of Bruce’s salary, the GM said he was confident he got the best deal he could. The Yankees offered more prospects but to cover less of the salary, an industry source confirmed.

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“You sort of have to look at this in the aggregate rather than individually,” Alderson pointing out that the Mets have made four deals that he considering on the whole. “My responsibility is to get the best deal possible and when we look opportunity from one club to an opportunity from another club, not just a function of two prospects vs. one. There are also other considerations, including cost.

“Taking all that into account,” Alderson said. “That’s the direction we decided to go.”

That’s little consolation for the Yankees fans who felt slighted by reports that the Bronx Bombers had offered two prospects for Bruce, who could help them in their race for a playoff spot. Alderson admitted it would be complicated to deal with the Yankees, but he would not rule it out.

For Sandy Alderson and the Mets, the rest of 2017 is all about getting ready for 2018.

For Sandy Alderson and the Mets, the rest of 2017 is all about getting ready for 2018.

(Kathy Willens/AP)

“I think it would be foolish to say it doesn’t matter,” Alderson said, “but at the same time, is it prohibitive? No.”

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In fact, the Mets GM all but confirmed reports that the two teams had also discussed infielder Neil Walker, but also indicated that conversation was not currently active.

“So we’ve made four deals, we almost made five,” Alderson said cryptically when asked if it was taboo to deal with the Yankees. “Going forward it would be a different No.5, but yes, that’s always a possibility.”

In the end, Alderson reiterated that this Mets season is basically now just an extended audition for a quick rebuild in 2018.

“From our standpoint it’s about giving as many players as possible a good look going into 2018,” said Alderson, echoing his comments from the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. “We know Jay Bruce, Jay is going to be a free agent. From his standpoint, he’s pleased he is going to be with a contender for the last month and a half. From our standpoint, we have cleared some 25 man roster space or some playing time. Picked up a prospect that we actually like and moved forward.”

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Bruce hit 29 homers and drove in 75 runs for the Mets this season. Alderson said that projected $ 18 million qualifying offer was not a realistic alternative.

Alderson added that the Mets really like the potential of Ryder Ryan, the 22-year old right-handed pitching prospect they got in return.

“He’s a young guy. He doesn’t have to be put on the roster, he’s got a good arm, recently converted, wasn’t even a college pitcher, was a position player in college,” Alderson said. “We like the upside there.”

Whether Ryan was worth dealing the one of the few players who was a highlight in a dismal 2017 Mets season will take years to really know. More importantly it clears salary and room on the roster to start planning for 2018.

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