Slap my head and call me silly but there is a new gunslinger in town. That being new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen. He is doing things this off season that we haven’t seen in a long time in Queens.
For now, the Mets have taken center stage over that other team across the river and clearly are the talk of the town this winter. The Yankees lack of a block buster trade or acquisition so far is not that unusual for them. They always go about the winter with an uppity arrogance of ‘you other guys are small potatoes’ as we wait for them to blow everyone out of the water with a mega deal, which I suspect they will do again this year, but clearly the Mets are the shakers and movers of the New York baseball scene this winter so far.
We have become so used to the Mets’ organization kind of going through the motions at times and seeing their lethargic meandering every year when it comes to trying to make their club better. Whether it was a bad deal or no deal, it’s been frustrating over the past few seasons to watch the Yankees get it done and the Mets sit on their butts. Now I can honestly say I see a positive approach by them that should give their great fan base a genuine feeling of excitement for this year and beyond. Even if they don’t get to the playoffs this year, I feel confident that Van Wagenen will not take his foot off of the pedal.
The Mets big trade with the Mariners for Robinson Cano and top closer Edwin Diaz brought them a big bat and solid defensive star for the right side of the infield along with a top of the line closer they needed to strengthen their bullpen. Today, with the return of Jeurys Familia, who they traded to the Oakland A’s last year for a pair of prospects, plus $1 million in international bonus pool money, they now have the set-up guy and proven closer to finish the 8th and 9th for that stellar rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. If the Mets had this pen last year deGrom would have won 20 games or more. The only thing standing in the way of that becoming a reality now is staying healthy. I believe Familia will get real comfortable in the setup role and he can still close when needed. He was over worked in the past with the Mets and it showed. That shouldn’t happen now with Diaz as the anchor of the pen now.
I admit being a skeptic of the hiring of Van Wagenen at first, but he has surprised all of us doubters very quickly. The fact that he has come right out of the gate with a big trade and signing in the areas they had big concerns with, tells us a lot about where he can take this club now and into the future.
Next on the list is a catcher. That has to get done soon. The availability of good catchers on the major league level has always been thin and when you get one it sets you apart from other teams. Sometimes you get lucky and one comes along through your farm system but that’s rare. Most of the good ones take a while to develop. The Mets don’t have the time to wait for that to happen and need to get that done next.
I expect to see some shakeups in the organization in the near future with the front office, player development and scouting. The issue of their farm system still needs to be addressed. They need to not only develop their own stars but make smart trades that could bring them other teams’ future stars.
There are also big decisions coming down the road regarding that starting rotation and what they will be demanding in both arbitration and free agency. Who will they try to lock up with a team friendly deal and who will they use in a trade in a walk off year for some of those future prospects. Having the guts to possibly trade one of those assets on the big league level for that catcher who will solidify their starting nine remains to be seen. I have to admit though, it wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen soon.
I see bigger things are on the horizon for the Mets with Brodie Van “We-gett-n-it-done” who just rode into town!