Very little was done to address the outfield depth
The outfield depth for the Mets, even into 2021, isn’t superb from the major league level down to the minors. There are a few reasons for it. We can cite the Jarred Kelenic trade as one reason for it. More important is to realize just how many outfielders this franchise has successfully developed.
Even so, two of the projected outfielders for the start of this season are out of position. Brandon Nimmo is a serviceable center fielder better suited for left field. Dominic Smith is a first baseman who looks out of his element as a left fielder more often than not.
Some of Van Wagenen’s biggest busts came from his attempt to build around the already existing outfield. The biggest problem with this would arise whenever they needed to turn to the bench for some innings beyond the infield dirt. Juan Lagares played way too much in 2019. Everyone else he brought in for the 2019 season and in 2020 to provide depth to the outfield seemed to fall flat. Can you believe Carlos Gomez actually had 99 plate appearances for the team in 2019? It seems like he was only with the team for two weeks, not 34 games.
Van Wagenen can consider himself lucky that J.D. Davis actually blossomed to provide the team with one quality outfielder during his tenure. Even then, you can argue Davis isn’t a true outfielder and probably better off in the American League as a DH. This can help lead us to the other reason why so many of his players didn’t work well in New York.