NEW YORK—As general manager Sandy Alderson has steered the steady rebuilding process of the Mets, he has staked the organization's future success to the development of a once-moribund farm system.
With Justin Upton on the market, Alderson engaged in trade discussions with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers. The discussions could never travel far, Alderson would explain later, because Arizona sought either Harvey or Wheeler in exchange for Upton. Alderson would not budge. He had no interest in parting with either young power pitcher.
Entering his third season as GM, Alderson's Mets have not displayed many signs of tangible improvement. However, beneath the surface team officials see reason for optimism.
That starts with Harvey, who has a place in the middle of the team's rotation this season, and Wheeler, who the team hopes can join the big league club by midseason.
When Alderson appeared on SNY's Hot Stove program in early February, he lumped Harvey and Wheeler together with righthander Noah Syndergaard, acquired in the December deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, as evidence of the team's growth in the minors.
"I think they're representative of a broader development, and that is our farm system has gotten a lot stronger," Alderson said.
"It's important that every team—including big-market teams—have very solid farm systems. Otherwise, success is not going to be sustainable or achievable, eventually."
The Mets believe they have one of the most promising stables of righthanded power arms in the game, a group that also includes Luis Mateo, Rafael Montero (an invite to big league camp), Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia and Cory Mazzoni.
• Minor league free agent outfielders prioritized the Mets as a landing spot this offseason. New York came to terms on minor league deals with veteran center fielders Marlon Byrd and Corey Patterson as well as righty-hitting corner bats Andrew Brown, Jamie Hoffmann and Mike Wilson.
• The Mets signed veteran relievers Pedro Feliciano and LaTroy Hawkins to minor league deals, but because both are Article XX-B major league free agents, they receive a $100,000 "retention bonus" and automatic June 1 opt-out date if they begin the year in Triple-A.