Not since the Yoenis Cespedes speculation and acquisition has there been so much buzz at Citi Field. Welcome to the Brodie Van Wagenen era of the New York Mets and more to come now that Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz have officially arrived.
Like the trade or not, the Mets are a better team today. Better in the bullpen with, arguably, the best closer in the game in Diaz and if Robinson Cano still has some punch left, then losing top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn will not matter at the cost of winning now.
Winning and that’s what Mets’ fans want. Brodie Van Wagenen is far from done dealing and working hard. He made a commitment to put a winning team on the field in 2019 and next week at the annual baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas there should be more to come.
Yes, the Mets have arrived by taking a page out of the Yankees off season book. That’s all good and since the Cespedes signing, it’s been awhile since the Mets made the headlines in the offseason. So there is little doubt about the energy and enthusiasm that the new GM has delivered.
Even when the Mets made a move, every fan still feels that lingering doubt and skepticism. Moves that went bad and even that Cespedes’ contract has left a doubt because, so far, the right handed slugger has not lived up to the deal after his splendid run in 2015. There have been some infamous deals for second-basemen that never go away. Roberto Alomar, Juan Samuel and Carlos Baerga, just to name a few.
However, Robinson was Hall of Fame bound before that 80-game steroid suspension of last season, and that stigma will always be with him. Now, Cano is here to win with the Mets. Obtaining a 36-year old Robinson Cano does provides more credibility for Brodie Van Wagenen’s commitment to win in 2019 and the near future.
The GM is persistent, and it seems this approach will continue before the first pitch of Opening day in late March. COO Jeff Wilpon was quoted as saying Brodie Van Wagenen has that “energy and persistence.” This is becoming more and more apparent about a GM that is making a quick impression.
Again, agree or not with dealing those limited prospects, the Mets have payroll flexibility and that a sense to spend is more of a reality.
“We kept staying on it, we kept trying to be aggressive with it and ultimately found a deal structure that we could get both players,” Van Wagenen said.
In essence, Edwin Diaz was the key player that Brodie wanted. The Mets have their closer and under control without parting with payroll. This provides leverage to spend and get the other arms to set up Diaz, who has a nasty slider and fastball.
There will be more to come. Names will be floated around. There are no untouchables on this Mets’ roster. Van Wagenen appears to be willing to improve a product that resides in a NL East division that suddenly got more interesting with the Washington Nationals’ acquisition of left-hander Patrick Corbin.
The Noah Syndergaard rumors, which were not realistic anyway, have come and gone. It would take an overwhelming package of a deal for the Mets to trade away a core piece of their pitching rotation.
So you ask, what is next? This will be a Mets franchise that will be an attention grabber in lieu of the slots and tables next week in Las Vegas. The catching position, more help for the bullpen, an obvious need for another right hand bat in the lineup and with the ability to spend, it’s all on the agenda for what figures to be an active Winter Meetings for the Mets.
As every Mets fan knows, you can’t forget that this is Wilpon money. Supposedly there has never been enough financial means or the proper players to be obtained, but this seems to be different with Brodie in charge and with support from ownership. As one high ranking NL executive said, “Brodie did not take this job to lose and there is more to come.”
Inquiries about left-hander Gio Gonzalez have been bandied about. However, that would only occur if Syndergaard or another part of that rotation is dealt for a catcher or some prospects.
Gonzalez was quoted this past season as saying, “Citi Field is his favorite ballpark.” That was the feeling from the previous regime and Gonzalez, with roots in New York, could now be off the radar. The 33-year old left-hander and one time Cy Young Award candidate had an off year with the Nationals and later with the Brewers with a combined 4.21 ERA, and a 10-11 record in 32 games.
More likely, the next moves will be for the bullpen. Then acquiring a proper catcher that will add defense some offense to a spot in the Mets lineup that has been void of production during the past few seasons.
You know the names: Zach Britton, David Robertson, Andrew Miller, Joe Kelly, Adam Ottavino are all options for the bullpen. Wilson Ramos, Martin Maldonado, and, longshot, J. T. Realmuto would be a certain upgrade over Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki behind the plate.
Again, anything is possible and this is what makes Brodie Van Wagenen someone to watch with what could be ahead for the Mets. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, are names that have not been linked to the Mets. Then again, did anyone think Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz would be headed to the Mets.
Point is, this is the beginning of more to come. The Mets are a better team and Brodie Van Wagenen arrived to assure that winning is the only thing.