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Mets “dumpster diving” offseason approach needs to end

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Jay Bruce #19 of the New York Mets celebrates his two run homerun with Todd Frazier #21 to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Jay Bruce #19 of the New York Mets celebrates his two run homerun with Todd Frazier #21 to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Often, the New York Mets look for bargains in the offseason rather than the best available player. This dumpster diving approach needs to end.

The New York Mets don’t need to buy a Rolls Royce to make the team better. They do, however, need to stop asking the dealer for the cheapest car on the lot.

It seems like every offseason the Mets go into it with the approach that they can outsmart others. Rather than add a consistent commodity, they bank on a guy like Jay Bruce having a productive year when his career suggests otherwise. They think Jason Vargas’ second-half decline the year prior was the fluke and that the first-half showcase was the real him.

This hasn’t worked out well. Every year, the team ends up with the second, third, or fourth choice. I give them credit for bringing back Yoenis Cespedes twice. However, the overpayment makes me question whether or not they understand a baseball team is made up of 25 men or not.

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I don’t want to see the Mets pay big money for one player and stop there. This doesn’t work unless you’re a ready-made team. Clubs like the 2017 Houston Astros could afford to add Justin Verlander via trade. So much of their core was made of homegrown talent on cheap deals. As a result, they could take on the gigantic salary Mr. Kate Upton receives.

Unwise decisions over the years have hurt the Mets in a quest to build a more balanced team. At the start of the 2018-2019 offseason, Juan Lagares is tied for the third largest salary on the team at $9 million. Lagares, Cespedes, and Todd Frazier are now joined by Robinson Cano as the active $9+ million plus players on the team. Excluding Cano, these men played in only 277 games last season. Add in David Wright and that’s a lot of dead money even with the insurance coverage.

A problem with this organization is how they add complimentary players with a plan to make them into the most important parts of the lineup. The free agents they added last offseason are finishing touches. Without the true star power around them, we saw their weaknesses all year long.

With a new general manager in place, there’s an excuse for ownership to make a change. They can blame the poor spending on others who sat in Brodie Van Wagenen’s chair. It’s up to the Wilpons to give the directive to actually start spending like they play in the country’s biggest city.

This includes paying the best scouts they can and allotting enough resources to spend on the international market. It’s about more than offering the most money to free agents. It’s about bringing in the right guys in a variety of ways.

There’s a difference between cost-cutting and spending wisely. Based on what we’ve seen from this organization in recent years, they haven’t figured out the right formula.

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More than anything else, this is what the new regime needs to figure out.

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