Mancuso: Winter Meetings Finale

Las Vegas-  Dull as it gets was the opinion as the baseball world departed Las Vegas and headed home at conclusion of the Winter Meetings Thursday.  Dull, because this was once the site of trade activity and big free agent signings, and again it was more buzz than Let’s Make A Deal.

What we got instead was more business and MLB endorsing their product for diversity and inner city youth to play the game. 

If you expected Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to be the money winners the past few days, you had more luck at the tables and slot machines. It’s simple to understand again that baseball and that era of free agency has changed.  It’s now wait for the highest bidder.

As of Thursday, when these meetings concluded, the Yankees and Mets were no closer to obtaining one or two of the major free agents that are looking for new teams. The Mets left these meetings with an old friend returning to their bullpen and reportedly still in the mix to get J.T. Realmuto as their catcher. 

And Noah Syndergaard, if you believed it or not, is staying where he is. The Mets pitching rotation is their core and you have to build around it with better defense, score more runs, and improvement to a bullpen that was 28th in baseball this past season. 

So the first Winter Meetings experience for GM Brodie Van Wagenen was more exploring and making some inroads in a quest to make this Mets team better.

Are they improved with this reunion with Jeurys Familia? Pending the physical and logistics ,Familia improves the bullpen as a setup to their new closer Edwin Diaz. A reliable source said there will be more to come as Brodie Van Wagenen sticks to his commitment of putting a winning Mets team on the field.

More to come, well that awaits as the ground work was made at the Mandalay Bay Hotel/ Casino the past few days. Keep in mind the talk was about the Mets during these meetings and when was the last time that could be said?

“Coming out of this week, I think we have a pretty good understanding of the acquisition cost for  all the players  both in trades and free agency,” Van Wagenen said.

In other words, this is a holding pattern for the Mets with that sense of enthusiasm. Make what you want about this, manager Mickey Callaway said, “There is a lot of energy.”

This time the energy was a buzz the Mets created.

YANKEES WORKED THE PHONES: Wednesday GM Brian Cashman said about the Yankees, “We’re a fully operational Death Star.”  To an extent, and with all this talk about Bryce Harper, the Yankees are always looking for the star.

Last year at these meetings they returned to the Bronx with Giancarlo Stanton. This time ,there was limited buzz and J.A. Happ was re-signed to fulfill a second need for the pitching rotation.

This does not mean the Yankees are done. However, and for the moment, Cashman and the Yankees are moving away from Harper. They set the stages for doing more and what is needed for their bullpen and middle of the infield.

Cashman said, he has discussed names with various agents. Manny Machado was also one of those names, and with the Yankees as we have learned over the years, anything is possible.

For now, similar to the Mets, Brian Cashman returned to New York with a clearer picture of the haves and have nots.

And, Sonny Gray has no takers for the moment. Brian Cashman said about getting the additions, “All I can keep telling you is, you know where my current focuses are.”

Sit back and relax. The Winter Meeting have concluded but we have only just begun with more moves to come.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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