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Mets are learning from the mistakes Brodie Van Wagenen made

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen gets set to introduce new manager Luis Rojas to the media at Citi Field on January 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen gets set to introduce new manager Luis Rojas to the media at Citi Field on January 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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The approach to this offseason by the New York Mets is much different than the way Brodie Van Wagenen handled winter moves.

This offseason should be a huge one for the New York Mets. Every top free agent is on the table.

During his tenure as the general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen didn’t have this luxury. Under the Wilpon financial restraint, Van Wagenen had to make smart moves to succeed. He wasn’t able to accomplish that which is why he is now out of a job.

The approach the Mets are taking this winter is like one we haven’t seen in a long time. Aggressively targeting anyone that’s even the slightest fit, the team seems to prefer players whose talents run perpendicular to what Van Wagenen brought in.

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Trevor May was the first major league signing by the team. Compared to the pitchers Van Wagenen brought in over the last two seasons, we can see how different this front office is approaching things.

In offseason number one, the big splash for pitching help came in the infamous Seattle Mariners trade. This deal brought us Edwin Diaz. And while the verdict is still out on what he can accomplish in New York, there’s no denying the Mets gave up a lot to get him.

May isn’t the same type of pitcher Diaz was prior to joining the Mets. However, all it cost the team was a few dollars and a roster spot. He seems to fit in well as a guy with a solid recent track record. With the team in need of at least a bullpen upgrade or two, it was a wise move to pounce on.

In winter number two, Van Wagenen signed three free agent pitchers. Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, and reliever Dellin Betances were all guys looking to make good after down and/or injured seasons. None pitched well at all. While it’s impossible to predict how healthy a player will be, all three joined the Mets after a negative 2019 season.

We will see the Mets do something different than what Van Wagenen did at the catcher spot. Wilson Ramos was one of the better offensive catchers in the game when he hit free agency. The problem was apparent pretty quickly—he wasn’t an elite defender.

Whether the Mets sign James McCann or J.T. Realmuto doesn’t matter from the perspective of learning from the past GM’s blunders. Both are superior defenders in the game. Both have also managed to hit well. This is an added bonus.

Seemingly more eager to spend on free agents than to trade away members of the farm system for talent, we get yet another lesson learned from Van Wagenen. The minor leagues are barren of talent; particularly at the higher levels. Although we should still expect the team to shop prospects around the trade deadline if they’re still alive, this winter may not include much subtraction from the future.

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We all knew when Steve Cohen took over ownership of the team things would be different. So far, so good. There’s no bargain-hunting or coupon clipping on free agents. The Mets are improving where they are weak and not trying to simply fit it all together and hope for the best.

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