Mets Alternate Universe: What would they look like with Chaim Bloom as GM?
By Jason Dye
Brodie Van Wagenen was officially introduced as the New York Mets new GM at a press conference on October 30, 2018. But what if Mets ownership decided to go with the other finalist for the position, Chaim Bloom?
Imagine a baseball world where New York Mets ownership did not hire Brodie Van Wagenen, but, instead, chose Tampa Bay Rays executive Chaim Bloom as the man for the job. A reality where the powers that be made a more traditional hire at GM with a young, up and coming front office veteran who would have certainly had a different approach to the offseason than BVW had.
We would have seen an entirely different offseason for the Metropolitans than the one we just saw unfold in front of us, move by move.
And just how we saw the moves made (and not made) this offseason that got us to the current version of the Amazins, how would the timeline of transactions have unfolded if Bloom was calling the shots and not Van Wagenen? How different would the 2019 Mets look?
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Bloom is an Ivy League graduate who is entering his fourteenth year in major league baseball; having worked his way up from intern to now interviewing for the General Manager position with multiple major league organizations.
He has a strong background in player development and scouting, with an emphasis on the science behind making players the fittest and most prepared they can be. Bloom also has extensive experience in contract and trade negotiations.
As the vast majority of his baseball experience came with the Tampa Bay Rays, working within a limited budget is not a challenge that he hasn’t faced before.
In fact, even though the Wilpons are a bit more conservative financially than most fans would like, Bloom may initially suffer from a case of ”kid in a candy shop” syndrome considering the extreme budget restraints that he worked with in Tampa.
I’m, honestly, very high on the roster in 2019 as presently constituted and really appreciate just about all of the moves that BVW made (and, again, didn’t make) this offseason, but let’s take a look at what our alternate baseball universe timeline may have looked like if the Wilpons had chosen door number one (Bloom) instead of door number two (BVW).
October 29th, 2018: Mets name Chaim Bloom as their General Manager. Press conference scheduled for tomorrow to introduce the Mets new GM.
November 26, 2018: In Bloom’s first splashy move as Mets GM, he instantly wins over the fanbase by bringing 2015 playoff hero and fan favorite, Daniel Murphy, back to the club on a two-year, $22 million deal, with a club option for 2021.
November 26, 2018: Mets deal catcher Travis d’Arnaud and pitching prospects Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista to Seattle for outfielder Mallex Smith and right-hand pitcher Alex Colome. No, Colome has never won a Cy Young Award, but both Smith and Colome are former Tampa Bay Rays.
December 1, 2018: The Mets announce the hiring of former Rays executive, Carlos Rodriguez, as head of Amateur Scouting along with former Rangers executive, Rafic Saab, as the head of International Operations.
December 10, 2018: The Mets strike again in free agency, as former Ray, Nathan Eovaldi, inks a five-year, $76 million deal with the club. Accordingly, rumors abound about why the Mets were in on a starting pitcher at this price at all and the tantalizing hot-stove possibility of a corresponding Syndergaard trade.
December 13, 2018: Free-agent, left-handed reliever, Oliver Perez, returns to Queens on a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
December 16, 2018: The Mets sign free-agent catcher and former Tampa Bay Ray, Wilson Ramos, to a two year, $18 million contract.
December 17, 2018: A trade has been finalized between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers, as per sources, with the Mets sending minor-league pitcher Jordan Humphrey and infielder Will Toffey to Los Angeles in exchange for left-handed pitcher Alex Wood and $500,000 in international slot money.
December 28, 2018: And the other shoe finally drops, as the Mets send Noah Syndergaard, Anthony Swarzak, and Kevin Plawecki to Cincinnati for prospects, Taylor Trammel (OF – #11 overall prospect, MLB.com), Hunter Greene (RHP #22 overall prospect, MLB.com), and Lyon Richardson (RHP).
January 8, 2019: The Mets make a move to further help their previously ailing bullpen by signing free-agent reliever and Queens native Adam Ottavino to a three-year contract worth $28.5 million.
January 10th, 2019: The Mets bring Asdrubal Cabrera (former Ray and Met) back as a utility infielder/switch-hitting bat off the bench on a $5 million, two-year contract.
January 11, 2019: The Mets announce that they have avoided arbitration with their ace, Jacob deGrom, signing him to a five-year, $100 million extension through 2023. The team also announces a four-year extension for Zack Wheeler at $42 million through 2022.
January 18, 2019: Mets sign infielder Mark Reynolds to a minor-league deal.
January 28, 2019: The Mets sign free-agent veteran reliever, Sergio Romo (former Ray), to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
February 7, 2019: The Mets sign infielder, Adeiny Hechaveria (former Ray), and catcher, Devin Mesoraco (former Met), to respective minor league deals.
February 28, 2019: The Mets send Jay Bruce to the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league pitcher, Luis Gil.
March 8, 2019: The Mets sign outfielder Carlos Gomez to a minor-league deal. Gomez has previously played for both the Mets and Rays in his career.
March 15, 2019: The Mets hold a Twitter poll to see what their new nickname will be. It’s between ’Tampa Bay North’ and ’The ex-Rays’.
- C: Wilson Ramos
- 1B: Pete Alonso (Frazier until service time allows)
- 2B: Daniel Murphy
- SS: Amed Rosario
- 3B: Jeff McNeil
- LF: Michael Conforto
- CF: Mallex Smith
- RF: Brandon Nimmo
- C: Devin Mesoraco
- 3B: Todd Frazier
- INF: Asdrubal Cabrera
- OF: Juan Lagares
- OF: Carlos Gomez
- Jacob deGrom (R)
- Zack Wheeler (R)
- Nathan Eovaldi (R)
- Steven Matz (L)
- Jason Vargas (L)
- Adam Ottavino (R)
- Alex Colome (R)
- Alex Wood (L)
- Seth Lugo (R)
- Robert Gsellman (R)
- Oliver Perez (L)
- Sergio Romo (R)
Mets MLB.com Top 100 prospects:
- #11…Taylor Trammel – OF
- #22…Hunter Greene – RHP
- #51…Pete Alonso – 1B
- #58…Andres Gimenez – SS
- #62…Jarred Kelenic – OF
Now, did I speak with Chaim Bloom and get his opinion on the Mets roster prior to BVW’s arrival along with what specific moves he would have made? No. Not even close.
But this was an exercise in playing with the roster and coming up with alternate ways to have attacked the offseason. Although, in the end, there were many moves that simply made too much sense for one reason or another not to overlap.
Another overlap would be the way that both the real Van Wagenen and my imaginary version of Chaim Bloom seemed to lean on the players they’re familiar with as well as the way they value what they personally feel about a particular player they know and trust over how the industry as a whole views them.
In the end, I’m not sure which version (actual or alternate universe) of the 2019 team that I prefer, but I believe that the Wilpons got this one right with Van Wagenen’s hire in October (assuming he can take advantage of the recent wave of extensions and get some extension-worthy players extended) and that National League East fans will witness some great baseball this season from wire to wire on the strength of the top four teams in the division.
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Let the games begin!