The New York Mets have been active this offseason, but holes remain. Let’s try to make sense of what Brodie Van Wagenen is doing.
The current New York Mets offseason has been one of the most interesting and exciting in recent memory. After making the seemingly questionable decision to hire former agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their general manager, the team has totally revamped their roster.
Van Wagenen began his tenure in an aggressive manner by acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz in a trade. He then signed catcher Wilson Ramos and relief pitcher Jeurys Familia, adding a total of four former All-Star players.
Van Wagenen’s “win-now” approach was even more apparent when the Mets were reported as possible destinations for J.T. Realmuto and Corey Kluber.
However, now that the dust has begun to settle, let’s look at where the franchise currently stands.
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Most Mets fans agree that the best remaining course of action is to sign prized free agent Bryce Harper. In a perfect world, this would be the transaction to solidify the roster and make them the favorites in the NL East. It makes all the sense in the world that a New York-based franchise would be in a prime position to sign elite players. However, as all Mets fans know, money is always a concern for owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon.
While the prospects of adding a player like Harper is obviously appealing to fans, offering a $300-$400 million contract would be unprecedented.
So where does this leave the team?
The Mets have been aggressive in filling their needs at second base, catcher, and bullpen. There are also still noticeable holes.
The team has the makings of a dominant bullpen, yet they lack a reliable left-handed option. They are also ridiculously thin in the outfield (even with the recent trade for Keon Broxton) and at shortstop. If the team is indeed in a win-now mindset, they clearly have work to do.
So where does the team go from here?
One option is free agency. While the Mets likely aren’t serious contenders for the top names, there are several middle-tier options that would be solid fits. The first of these options is utility man Marwin Gonzalez. At just 29 years old, Gonzalez would provide much-needed depth at both the outfield and shortstop positions. In terms of lefty relievers, there are a number of cost-effective options (such as Tony Sipp) still available.
So why is the team waiting to fill these needs?
After a barrage of moves early in offseason, many fans are becoming frustrated after a stagnant several weeks. Which begs the question: why the delay? Why not be proactive and address these needs while many free agents are still available?
At this point in the offseason, the team seems to be waiting for the market to settle. It does require patience, but recent history shows that it may be a sound strategy. With nearly 200 players still on the market, it seems apparent that many will remain unsigned as Spring Training approaches. This could be the perfect opportunity to add valuable depth at below-market prices.
In the last several seasons, teams have been able to sign players like Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond, Justin Turner, and Nelson Cruz after February began. If the Mets could add a player of that caliber at a team-friendly price, it would be a great benefit.
The Mets still have plenty of options on the table. We know the team won’t begin the season with four outfielders and one shortstop on their roster. They have addressed these needs with several trades and signings in early January. However, none of the additions are true MLB starters.
There’s a small chance they are able to get creative with their contracts and offer a deal to someone like Harper. There are still plenty of impact players in free agency as well. Perhaps Van Wagenen will continue to be aggressive in the trade market.
One thing is for sure: the success of the 2019 season will hinge on how management chooses to move forward from this point. If they finish their roster with minor league players, the offseason will feel like a failure.
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However, if they continue to add legitimate major league talent to their core, they may have a chance at serious contention this season! Here’s hoping they commit to the latter!