The list of bad Brodie Van Wagenen trades and free agent signings and even other decisions is so extensive and includes a good majority of his transactions during his tenure as New York Mets general manager. In some ways, it’s hard to believe he was only with the organization for two years. He did enough damage for at least five.
As big of a joke as the Jed Lowrie signing was or how little the Mets got from Dellin Betances, at least those transactions only cost money. There was one trade Van Wagenen made that immediately hurt the Mets and helped the team he did business with.
On December 5, 2019, the Mets traded two minor leagues for outfielder Jake Marisnick. It didn’t take long to realize the Mets were the losers in this move.
The Jake Marisnick trade had the most immediate negative impact on the Mets in both directions
Although the infamous Seattle Mariners trade which brought the Mets the 2019 versions of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to town stunk, at least each had good years in 2020—one having an asterisk next to his name. Diaz continued to prove his value in 2021 with a few too many hiccups along the way. Whatever you believe, at least there's something to salvage from this move.
The Marisnick deal is much different. He was meant to be a fourth outfielder on the club to give them superb defense in center field. However, in the season shortened down to 60 games, Marisnick battled injuries and would only appear in 16 games and amass 34 plate appearances. His performance was good, hitting .333/.353/.606 with a pair of home runs. It was far too little for the below .500 2020 Mets.
To make matters worse, Marisnick was only under contract for a year. The Mets rented him for 16 games at what has turned out to be a rather high cost.
Kenedy Corona is one of the players sent to the Astros in the transaction. He hit .301 in his first professional season back in 2019. He wasn’t so great when minor league baseball returned in 2021, posting a .244 batting average in his first minor league season with his new organization. You can file Corona in the lottery ticket category.
He’s not the story as to why this trade should keep Van Wagenen awake at night. The other player sent away from the Mets was Blake Taylor. The lefty reliever was awesome in 2019, pitching to a 2.16 ERA in the minor leagues through 66.2 innings of work. It was his first year transitioning to the bullpen full-time. He couldn’t possibly carry it over to the big leagues, could he?
The Astros gave him 20.2 innings in 2020 to prove that he could. Taylor went out there and delivered a 2.18 ERA for them in his very short and unofficial rookie season. He followed it up with 42.2 innings in 2021 that included a still favorable 3.16 ERA.
Taylor isn’t a perfect pitcher just yet. He doesn’t strike out a lot of batters and his walk rate is way too high. He has things to work on. But given the choice between losing a rented veteran outfielder or a left-handed project, I’m going with the latter.
Losing Taylor in the deal doesn’t set the Mets franchise back. Still, each year they go hunting for a new lefty reliever, it would be nice to be able to undo this move and know you at least have Taylor around.