Mancuso: Ramos Upgrade; More To Come?

You can argue that the Mets are a better team than they were in September. Another need was completed and made official Tuesday when Wilson Ramos signed on as the catcher. Ramos is an upgrade over Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. If healthy, Ramos is a good fit and will provide the production from a position that has provided nothing for the Mets lineup the past few years.

With this latest acquisition, GM Brodie Van Wagenen continued to operate aggressively as the Mets have become the busiest team making moves this offseason. ‘Count on it,’ as Brodie said again Tuesday morning at Citi Field, “We are not done.”

Four all-stars in two weeks with Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and Wilson Ramos, so the Mets have filled most of their needs. Still to come, and take this as more than speculation, a left-hander or two for the bullpen and a right-handed hitter for the outfield.

What we have learned about Brodie Van Wagenen, in this limited tenure, is that he can throw a good right and left. By spending money and not sacrificing prospects or Noah Syndergaard, if that was ever true, the Mets obtained a veteran catcher in Wilson Ramos who was always on their radar. In two years perhaps J.T. Realmuto talks will resurface but for now the Mets can proceed with Ramos and a $19 million contract.

Yes, it’s too early to grade these moves with eight weeks before spring training begins. There are question marks about Ramos and the injuries such as a torn ACL, hamstring issues, and a broken hand. That caused him to be on the field an average of 100 games since 2013, however, the two-time All-Star is one of three catchers to have two seasons with 400 plate appearances, with an OPS of 120 or more the past three years.

“If he remains healthy two years the Mets will be very pleased with Wilson,” a high ranking NL official said. At the Winter Meetings last week in Las Vegas, all the talk was about the Mets and when was the last time that happened in an off season?

Brodie Van Wagenen is reason for the talk. He is making things happen for the Mets, and as my colleague, Howie Karpin, reported in his off season column, Karpin’s Korner Omar Minaya who was retained in this revamped front office, has been instrumental in guiding the new GM.

Ramos said, “I felt really comfortable in the room with them,” regarding his meeting last week with Mets brass and Van Wagenen in Las Vegas. “They gave me confidence and I felt that was one of the reasons I chose to be with this team.”

They sold Ramos on the idea he will catch NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, not a bad foursome. He was sold on the manager, Mickey Callaway, previous stints with the Nationals and Phillies, and familiar territory with the NL East.

And in the Cano trade came Edwin Diaz, the best closer in the game. That was significant and for Wilson Ramos, the opportunity now to catch deGrom and Diaz was the right challenge. This process of putting the Mets back into contention is just about complete but there is more to come.

The remaining process for Brodie Van Wagenen will not be a major punch. With Realmuto out of the picture, veteran All-Star Adam Jones could be added for the outfield. Jones and his reps met with Van Wagenen in Las Vegas. Juan Lagares, as of now, is expected to be a part of the outfield.

A source informed nysportsdaycom, as has been reported, the Mets could make an offer for outfielder A.J. Pollock, considered the best among the free agents left on the market. Andrew Miller is not out of the picture that will fill a need for a left-hander out of the bullpen.

So when Brodie Van Wagenen says, “We’ve done a lot of what we set out to do this offseason,” he is not wrong. When he said, “We would argue that we’re the favorites in the division right now,” that can be questioned.

The Mets are better but there are still the division winning Atlanta Braves, the Phillies, and the Nationals. They, too, made improvements and we are months from Opening Day. Contenders, you can say for sure about the Mets and with that core four on the mound there is always a chance.

The Mets got a viable closer with Edwin Diaz to finish the job, but Tuesday, and for the next few years, they also obtained a viable and All-Star catcher they have not had in a long time.

Credit: Neil Miller NYSD

More so, there is no stopping the Brodie Van Wagenen commitment to put a winning team on the field. It’s working and there is more to come without J.T. Realmuto and with Noah Syndergaard. Amed Rosario, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and prospects still in the loop,

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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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