It doesn’t matter who the New York Mets general manager is. Until the ownership changes, the philosophy will remain the same.
For those who know me, it’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan of the New York Mets hiring Brodie Van Wagenen. Heck, I even wrote a post about it right here at Rising Apple. To be fair, I had been even less of a fan of the Sandy Alderson hiring, years earlier, but still, I can’t help but feel bad for both of them, or anyone having to work with Fred and Jeff Wilpon. Whoever the GM is, starts his regime already handcuffed.
Seemingly, every new GM that comes in, promises change. Van Wagenen just did it at his press conference. What he had in common with other new GM hires, were his promises that the culture would be different. Promises that the team would be competitive. Promises that they will have final say on matters. As we’ve learned all too well, none of that is true. It’s just words.
Now, I realize that Van Wagenen is not even a full month into his tenure and a lot may happen, but so far, those recurring Wilpon nightmares have come roaring back.
In an offseason where we’re reading how the Yankees are seemingly in on every free agent, the biggest name I’ve seen the Mets linked to was Martin Maldonado. Not only that, but I’ve seen some New York papers even endorsing the move. Every time I see that it just infuriates me.
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It’s all part of the Wilpon conditioning process, which unfortunately, some papers play an active role in. Condition the fans to accept and be excited by aiming low. Telling us what mid-level player might be a good fit. The coverage for the Yankees talks about how they might get Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. There have even been pieces trying to figure out how to get both. The Mets? Martin Maldonado, with his nine home runs and .225 batting average.
The Yankees go out and trade prospects to the Mariners for an ace pitcher, James Paxton. The Mets? They talk about trading AWAY one of the best pitchers in baseball, Noah Syndergaard, for another team’s prospects. Why? To say anything other than money is to be naïve, because they simply can’t add players without shedding payroll, so they can still be a mid-market team.
They should be looking to add to their strength, instead of trading away their one selling point. Save me the talk about replenishing the farm system. Not when they say they aim to contend next year. As always, the Mets’ best offseason move, is their talk. They’ll say that they’re considering everyone, but we all know better.
I’ll gladly eat crow, and hope to, if they show me something. Cut free-agent-disaster, Jason Vargas loose and sign Nathan Eovaldi, to have a dominant starting rotation. Do anything to get J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. Make it happen.
I’ve even thought they should make a splash by including Brandon Nimmo in a deal for Realmuto and then shocking everyone by signing Bryce Harper. Show the fans that you’re a New York team. Show the fans that things have really changed. That you’re ready to play with the big boys. Use the financial clout of being based in New York. Seemed to work out well for the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are in the playoffs year after year, and they’re not looking on Groupon for players.
Instead, Met fans get treated to Jeff Wilpon just saying that they’re going to be aggressive. How? When? They’re just vague promises. Nothing but Wilpon Words, which we’ve been subjected to for far too long.
We hear Wilpon say that signing Jacob deGrom to a long-term deal is “Not a priority.” Why? Any guesses? We hear the buzz that Machado isn’t the type of player that they’re interested in investing in long-term. Why? More buzzwords to produce a negative light on a player because they simply don’t want to spend. Get the fans on board to say he’s not worth it.
It’s the old 24 + 1 speech about A-Rod, all over again. I know all of Manny Machado’s faults. Believe me, he’s not my favorite player. I’d much prefer Harper. But, how can anyone not think Machado makes the Mets a much better team? He would walk in the door and instantly be the best player there.
Show the fans something. Enough with shopping second-tier. Not in this city.
I’ve seen the Wilpons’ act long enough to know their motives. Talk without meaning, pass the buck when it doesn’t work out, start over. I know all this. Logically, I know. Yet STILL, I find myself disappointed when they don’t go after the top players. I don’t know why, because I’m aware of the routine. Yet, foolishly perhaps, I still always hold out hope.
Show the fans something, Wilpons. Show the fans something, Brodie. Finally, change the narrative around the Mets. This team needs a star brought in.
Create some excitement in Queens for once, instead of the usual loathing. Show the fans that you hear them and give them a star, instead of giving them what you always give them . . .
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