Mets: Jacob deGrom extension shows Brodie Van Wagenen is serious about winning
By Staff Writer
By signing his star pitcher and former client Jacob deGrom to an extension, New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen showed the fans how serious he is about making this team a contender.
New York Mets fans, far and wide, are rejoicing upon hearing the news that their star hurler Jacob deGrom has been signed to a 5-year $137.5 million extension this past week. This was something that all us die-hard fans have wanted to get done and out of the way in order to ensure that we have an anchor to build the rest of our team around both for 2019 and beyond.
Clearly, the extension deal was a win-win for all three sides of the participants who were vested in this little drama – the fans, deGrom himself and the Mets management.
But no one came out looking more authentic and credible from these talks than did general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. Van Wagenen has been talking a big game all winter since he was handed over the reins as Mets GM in late October of 2018. He had made bold statements and warnings to the rest of the NL East rival teams to “come get us” when referring to how good he thought the Mets were going to be in 2019.
On several radio station interviews, Van Wagenen had also stated that he would not be satisfied in 2019 if the Mets simply played well but did not make the postseason. When asked what he thought about the Las Vegas oddsmakers setting the over/under win totals for the Mets at 84.5 for 2019 during a WFAN radio interview, Van Wagenen responded:
"“I think 84 wins is light. I think this will and should be a playoff team. I believe we can win. More importantly, our players believe we can win and have every intention to do so.”"
Clearly a lot of pressure has been put on the plate of the Mets new general manager, as he is trying to wipe away that bad taste in the mouths of the Mets loyal fan base due to the recent lack of spending by the owners to improve the ball club. But this isn’t an easy task to overcome. Once fans feel slighted and disrespected for not having their concerns heard, it can be very hard to get them back on your side in a supportive way.
Van Wagenen has tried to battle this negative stigma, however. Coming into the month of March 2019, he and the Wilpons have shown a willingness to spend money on talent to strengthen up the Mets roster as well as add more depth to areas where they feel the team is lacking in talent. But the lack of commitment or desire to “break the open the bank” to sign a franchise-altering player like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or Dallas Keuchel is still leaving many Mets fans feeling skeptical as far as how serious the management is to build a postseason-worthy contender.
That is until the Mets just resigned their newest version of Tom Seaver in Jacob deGrom.
Van Wagenen’s ability to set a deadline to come to a resolution before Opening Day and commit to doing whatever he can to resign deGrom to a contract extension shows us that he is willing to prioritize winning and the franchise’s on-field success over the financial budgetary concerns of Fred and Jeff Wilpon.
Brodie is showing us signs that just spewing out dialogue to create fancy sound bites in press conferences and on radio shows without doing much to back it up in real life isn’t going to cut it with this Mets fan base. It’s going to take more.
And most importantly, he wants to do more. Personally, I think this is very refreshing to see as a Mets fan.
For years and years, we were made promises by previous management and by the owners that money would not be a deterring factor when looking to improve upon this team. And for years, we were fed many lies and false promises. Almost to the point that now there is a gigantic rift between what we as fans feel about the team and what the owners feel it would take for the Mets be a legit club.
Forget about not seeing matters eye to eye, some of us are not even on the same planet as the Mets ownership in our views and expectations of what it takes to build a solid team.
But now things may be different.
Even though I think Brodie has done a solid job at aggressively putting together a better roster in 2019 than was done by Sandy Alderson in 2018, we truly won’t know just how effective and dangerous this team can be until they actually play together in meaningful games come April. Team chemistry and depth can sometimes be a tricky thing to gauge before the start of a regular season despite being a very vital component to winning.
But with the type of commitment that Van Wagenen has shown to keeping his core group of talented players around while making the fan base happy in doing so, he is ensuring that his time in the Big Apple is not just some fly-by-night stint to pad his impressive resume. He seems to want to build something meaningful for us that can be sustained for years to come.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
And that is a vision and mantra that we as fans can really get behind.