1. Not Deploying the “We Just Have to Stay Healthy This Year” Strategy
Sandy Alderson’s tenure as Mets general manager was highlighted with a World Series appearance in 2015, but was also marred by major injuries to many of the team’s top players, which time and again pulled the rug up from under their seasons, and left the fan base continually looking ahead to ‘next year’.
The team’s focus is keeping their players healthy and allowing their talent to match up against the league. A reasonable enough plan on paper, but then 2016 happened. Then 2017. And then 2018.
All three were examples of just what can, and probably will, go wrong without sufficient, at least above average, major league ready depth on your team and in your system, as seasons don’t play out on paper. All of the promise and momentum of the Mets’ magical 2015 World Series run was lost on each of the next three seasons, accordingly.
Brodie Van Wagenen’s early approach as Mets GM has differed, however, as his stated aim to ‘eliminate as many ‘ifs’ as possible’ is not only coming to fruition but should provide a foundation for sustained success even when the injury bug bites (and it always does).
When I saw that the Mets had signed Jed Lowrie, for example, my initial reaction was that they really needed another bullpen arm – not a third second baseman. But, upon further review, why not add another solid piece, especially with the apparent versatility that Lowrie brings to the field and approach the switch hitter brings to the plate?
It’s still early enough that the Mets could still add a bullpen arm and having as many assets on your team is the name of the game – not only in building a winner but in providing chips for future maneuvers in case things don’t go according to plan.
Van Wagenen’s pension for adding what he feels is the right player and lengthening the roster in general also creates an environment of competition and a healthy pressure to do your job, as there are capable options right behind you in the pecking order who can pull ahead of you if you can’t.
And while the rotation lacks much depth at the moment, there seems to be a divergence from the “cupboard is already full” philosophy of the previous brain trust.