The end of Sandy Alderson’s disappointing D.J. Carrasco project

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Sandy Alderson. (Photo via mlb.com.)
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Well, Terry Collins doesn't have to worry about David Wright's safety anymore. 

A day after D.J. Carrasco's errant pitch got him thrown out of the game and set off an argument between Wright and Collins, the Mets designated Carrasco for assignment. The reliever is expected to be granted free agency.

The Mets announced Carrasco's freedom about a half-hour before the corresponding move--bringing up Robert Carson from Double-A--sending the unmistakable message that they didn't want Carrasco around anymore.

The final returns on the two-year, $2.4 million contract Carrasco signed were not good ones: 53 innings, a 6.11 E.R.A. Worse yet, the Mets kept Carrasco on the 40-man roster this past offseason, choosing to let former top prospect Fernando Martinez go instead. It is far from certain that Martinez will ever approach his once-heralded future, but he certainly could help the team in one area or another, with his strong bat making him a possibility to play at first base.

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The first winter in charge for Sandy Alderson wasn't a great one, at first glance. There's Carrasco, and catcher Ronny Paulino, who lasted one indifferent season in New York. Outfielder Willie Harris, relievers Taylor Buchholz, Taylor Tankersley and Blaine Boyer were all failures, and starters Boof Bonser and Chris Young each broke down early in 2011.

But Alderson has had his successes. Chris Capuano was a valuable rotation member for the Mets in 2011. Tim Byrdak became a mainstay out of the bullpen, and re-signed for 2012. Scott Hairston was a useful fourth outfielder, and returned for 2012 as well.

The success rate wasn't terrible, considering this huge factor: D.J. Carrasco's $2.4 million deal represented the most guaranteed money the Mets gave to anyone that winter.

The reality is without a baseline level of new spending--not counting the old contracts Alderson inherited when it comes to putting together a team--neither the Mets nor anyone else can be expected to make moves with any consistenty that make them more competitive.

The early returns on Alderson's second winter of investments aren't great, either. Two years, $12 million went to Frank Francisco, and his E.R.A. hovers near 9. And a one-year, $3.5 million deal to Jon Rauch has given the Mets a very hittable righty who struggles to retire lefties or strike anyone out.

Alderson's strategy was clearly to build up his bullpen to maximize whatever his limited roster gave him. But again, limited resources left Alderson with only that card to play, since roughly $10 million in spending wasn't enough to address any of the other, real problems with the roster. Betting on bullpen arms, the most difficult thing to project in baseball, was his only real option.

Elsewhere in New York sports:

YANKEES

New York was routed by Toronto, 8-1. Hiroki Kuroda pitched poorly, but it hardly mattered on a night when the Yankees were dominated by Kyle Drabek. It appears Ivan Nova, battling an injured ankle, could start on Saturday.

RANGERS

The Devils evened the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, beating the Rangers, 3-2. The series now shifts to Newark for Game 3.

KNICKS

European star Georgios Printezis of Olympiacos would be a great fit for the Knicks, and they own his rights. They just don't appear to have the cap space to bring him to New York right now.

RED BULLS

New York found out its two possible opponents in the upcoming round of the U.S. Open Cup, the aspirational American equivalent of the FA Cup. Jack Bell's pointed questions at the bottom of his piece detailing how the Red Bulls have ignored this contest in the past speak for me as well.

GIANTS

Eli Manning and his teammates received Super Bowl rings Wednesday afternoon.