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New York Mets: What would make this a disastrous offseason?

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 20: New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon listen to manager Mickey Callaway speak during a press conference before the game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on May 20, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 20: New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon listen to manager Mickey Callaway speak during a press conference before the game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on May 20, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets are hoping to build off of the success from 2019. A disastrous offseason could put an end to any hope of that.

After the New York Mets went “all-in” last winter with new General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen and missed the playoffs anyway, fans are anxious for big moves this winter. They have a core that is ready to compete but there is still major work needed to be done before Brodie is able to say “Come get us”. Yet, already, Brodie has been moving the goalposts back in lowering the expectations for the team, potentially foreshadowing a disastrous offseason.

When Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo asked Brodie what the Mets offseason priorities are this winter, his response was this:

  1. Add to the rotation, though that could mean shifting Seth Lugo and/or Robert Gsellman to starting roles.
  2. If Lugo/Gsellman move, then upgrade the bullpen.
  3. Improve team defense.

This is an insanely low bar for a team trying to contend for the playoffs. The Mets are preparing to replace Zack Wheeler‘s spot in the rotation with a pitcher who is going to be cheaper and not as good.

If the team actually wanted to improve their rotation they would be looking into Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, or bringing back Wheeler. Anything they do short of that puts the Mets rotation in a worse position to compete. They did not make the playoffs with a rotation of deGrom/Syndergaard/Wheeler/Matz/Stroman and downgrading what they already have is not going to help their chances in 2020.

Putting Seth Lugo in the rotation might not be the worst idea but it takes away the team’s most reliable relief pitcher from last season. The Mets bullpen ERA in 2019 was 4.99, the 5th worst in the MLB. It is also the highest ERA in Mets history. With money already tied up to Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, and Edwin Diaz next season, I don’t see how the Mets can afford legit upgrades to replace Lugo.

The Mets are going to rely on the same mediocre group of guys from 2019 and hope that they magically make improvements in 2020. Their genius plan to make the playoffs next year involves either downgrading their rotation or downgrading their bullpen- instead of upgrading both.

Brodie’s goal to improve the team’s defense is a shallow statement given the way they are actually choosing to address it. When asked about signing Anthony Rendon to play third-base, Brodie responded by saying “Right now we feel pretty good about the options in house,” and has referenced Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, and Jed Lowrie to be the Mets third basemen next year.

How is Brodie going to improve the defense by going with two guys who didn’t even play third base full-time last year and another who missed the entire season?

With McNeil/Davis/Lowrie at third and Amed Rosario, Robinson Cano, and Pete Alonso making up the rest of the infield, how are they actually going to improve their defense? If they make no changes to the way the infield looks, this improved defense isn’t a thing unless the players already on the roster make improvements (which they very well can).

Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are locks for the outfield next year and assuming McNeil/Davis or Dom Smith receive some time in the outfield, there isn’t much room to improve their outfield defense either. The most likely scenario that happens is they sign a defense-first fourth outfielder type ala what Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton were supposed to be.

This claim that Brodie wants to improve their defense can’t actually be done given the way the Mets operate. Improving the defense requires spending actual money. Ways to improve the Mets defense include signing Yasmani Grandal, Anthony Rendon, or Marcell Ozuna. Yet, the Mets won’t go near these guys’ price tags.

Brodie has been rejecting proposals to spend legit money all winter by referring to the options the team already has on their roster. Instead of spending money on actual upgrades for the team, the Mets are going to go the cheap route and try to make the playoffs with what they already have. While it is possible they make the playoffs with roughly the same roster intact, it makes no sense to me to not do everything you could to improve the team.

There is a reasonable scenario in which the Mets leave this offseason having only acquired Gerardo Parra, Steve Cishek, and Tanner Roark as their big additions. Don’t let the Mets front office sell the team as being a few small additions away from locking down the playoffs. The Mets offseason will be a disaster if they rely on what they have going into next season and don’t make moves to acquire elite talent.

Next. Under the radar starting pitchers for the Mets to consider

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The Mets should try and build on their 2019 season. Instead, they are going to keep everything the way it is and hope for better results.

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