During his year-end news conference Tuesday at Citi Field, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced a two-year extension for manager Terry Collins and addressed some of the key issues facing the team this offseason. The only big surprise came at the end.
After Alderson finished his remarks, he met with reporters off to the side of the podium. Then he suddenly collapsed. He fell to the floor while answering questions, and reporters quickly tried to grab him to slow his fall. He was down for about 30 seconds.
Alderson, who turns 68 Nov. 22, was able to get up and, after taking off his jacket and being helped into a chair, quipped, "OK, where were we?" He eventually walked out of the interview room under his own power. He had been standing on a platform and answering questions for about 13 minutes when he collapsed.
After leaving the interview room, Alderson was examined by the Mets training staff and was "fine," a team spokesman said. Alderson didn't have breakfast before the news conference and felt lightheaded, the spokesman said. He was examined by EMS at the stadium and returned to his office.
Before Alderson collapsed, he announced the two-year deal for Collins, who led the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 2000. In the days since Sunday's Game 5 loss to the Royals, the Mets' braintrust has begun to ponder what the 2016 team will look like.
The first order of business is deciding whether to make a qualifying offer to impending free agent Daniel Murphy. The Mets have to decide that by Friday. Alderson declined to tip his hand, but it is expected they will extend the offer.
"Murph has been a great player for us over the years," Alderson said. "He's been a Met over his entire career. So we're going to make that decision a little later this week."
Murphy had a postseason for the ages, setting a record by homering in six consecutive games, and is expected to have a robust free-agent market. No player ever has accepted the qualifying offer, which this season is set at $15.8 million. If the Mets offer it and Murphy declines, they still can sign him. If he signs elsewhere, they will receive a draft pick as compensation.
"Take it out of the Murphy context," Alderson said. "I think you have to start with whether you want the player back. If you decide the answer is yes, then it's easy to make a qualifying offer. If you decide no, then you get to the question of, for gamesmanship purposes, whether making a qualifying offer is a good idea."
The Mets' other marquee free agent, Yoenis Cespedes, is not subject to the qualifying offer. But the Mets are not expected to give the 30-year-old the six- or seven-year contract he probably will demand after a herculean run following his acquisition on July 31.
"That's not something we like to do," Alderson said. "Those contracts often don't work out. I've said that before. But look, we'll make those decisions as they're presented."
Even if the Mets don't re-sign Cespedes, Alderson said he considered the trade "a price well paid . . . Oh yeah, absolutely. We wouldn't have gotten to the World Series without Cespedes."
Can they get back there without Murphy and Cespedes, their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters?
Alderson acknowledged the Mets probably would need to add offense but said it was "unlikely" he would be willing to part with any of the Big Four of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz to add a big bat.
"I can't see it happening," Alderson said. "You never know what comes up. But I think it's unlikely. You have to look at are you improving the team or weakening the team? If you start talking about trading one of our starting pitchers, you have to be careful about weakening the team. We're fairly resolute about what we're going to do and not do with regard to those four, but we'll see what happens.''
Alderson labeled Harvey's first season after Tommy John surgery a success, even with the innings-limits controversy that consumed much of the oxygen around the team for parts of the summer.
"Matt Harvey did an extraordinary job for us this year," Alderson said. "We had a couple of bumps along the way, but the fact is he pitched exceptionally well coming off of his injury. He pitched exceptionally deep into the season coming off of his injury. I think he demonstrated his commitment to the team and his willingness to really go the extra mile for the organization and his teammates. I couldn't be happier with Matt."
Alderson also said he was "open-minded" to re-signing Bartolo Colon but didn't know if he would accept a job without a guaranteed rotation spot. Collins said Juan Lagares was getting his troublesome throwing elbow checked out, but the Mets didn't think surgery was necessary.
As to the everpresent questions about whether the Mets can and will increase their payroll next season, Alderson said: "My hope is we'll start with a somewhat higher payroll -- I don't know exactly what that will be -- than we started last year. And we'll have room at the deadline to make acquisitions, as we did this year."