Are New York Mets fans prepared for a possibly quiet winter from the front office?
The MLB offseason is here although I’m not quite sure we’ll see too many major moves take place for at least a few weeks if not months. For the New York Mets, it’s a time to get over the hump which has prevented them from reaching the postseason the last two years.
Last winter was a rough one for free agents. And while we can say this was partly because the market was held up by $300+ million free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, I don’t think things will go as they have in the past this offseason.
The first major splash of the offseason is already for the Mets. Carlos Beltran will manage the team, but that’s only the beginning of what they need to do. The bullpen needs a nearly complete overhaul. The team could also look into acquiring a true center fielder or possibly go the route of upgrading at third base.
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There are a variety of directions the team can go this winter. Unfortunately, there are also enough excuses to do nothing at all.
Several key Mets will receive big pay raises via the arbitration process. With little hope of dumping salary elsewhere, they’re going to see the payroll rise. The higher it goes, the less likely we’ll see ownership explore the idea of adding highly-paid players.
There’s no doubt the Mets will do something about the relief corps in some way. At worst, they will explore cheap options in free agency and maybe pick up an arm or two via trade. There’s no way the front office can possibly sell to the fans or themselves what they currently have is good enough.
For better or worse, Brodie Van Wagenen backed himself into a corner with decisions from last offseason. There’s not much wiggle room with the roster. The team does have a few trade candidates, however, most of them could also fit in well with the plans for 2020.
To the chagrin of many, an offseason with little movement can feel like there’s no improvement. Fans like change as much as we get giddy about a reunion with a former player. The Mets probably need to make more adjustments than the minimum outlined above. Changes that sometimes look lateral can actually be good if only to give something new a try.
One thing I do fully expect from them this offseason: we’ll have far fewer free agent signings and trades to talk about.
Van Wagenen did something unique last winter. He made more trades than the Mets typically do. Considering the expected budget challenges he faces this offseason, it is possible we see him heavily explore the trade market once again.
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At the very least, we won’t see the Mets take on any ridiculously big salaries handcuffed to older players. They did so last offseason with the Robinson Cano trade. This won’t protect them from making bad moves, which is indeed the greater fear than a stagnant, quiet winter.