NEW YORK -- Gradually, over half a decade, general manager Sandy Alderson molded the Mets from a fourth-place team lacking direction to a National League pennant winner primed for future success. For that, Baseball America named him its Executive of the Year on Tuesday, making him the first Met to win that award since its inception in 1998.
Alderson is also an MLB Esurance Awards finalist for Best Executive, an honor that will be revealed next week at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. Among his 10 competitors for the award are former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, who won the Sporting News' Executive of the Year Award, and Royals GM Dayton Moore, whose team bested the Mets in the World Series. The Mets have already won two MLB Esurance Awards (Best Social Media Post and Best Call, Radio).
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Alderson, 68, produced a winning record as Mets GM for the first time this season, relying on a slew of midseason trades to overcome the Nationals in the NL East. Deals for Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed transformed the Mets from fringe contenders to division champions, who ultimately toppled the Dodgers and Cubs in postseason play to reach the World Series.
"We felt that there were a lot of different things we needed to address," Alderson said after his team clinched the NL East. "We picked them off one at a time and ended up with Cespedes -- fortuitously, honestly. But I think before the Cespedes trade, there was no question we were all-in."
The foundation for this team, however, was built in the first half of Alderson's tenure, when he traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants for Zack Wheeler, and R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays in a seven-player deal that included Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. Those players helped Alderson form a core that he supplemented with the free-agent signings of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon, plus the key decisions to keep Lucas Duda at first base and trade Ike Davis.
The Mets also drafted aggressively under Alderson, shoring up a barren farm system with such players as outfielder Michael Conforto.
It all gelled into Alderson's first pennant since he won three straight with Oakland from 1988-90. Following a 14-year tenure as A's GM, he moved to jobs with Major League Baseball and the Padres before arriving in Flushing in October 2010. Alderson moved slowly at first, waiting mostly for old contracts to expire; his first significant move did not come until the Beltran trade the following summer.
Now Alderson has some hardware to vindicate his success, with a chance for more.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.