There’s been plenty of attention centered on the Mets’ bullpen needs this offseason, and new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen plainly indicated yesterday that his team is in the market for “multiple” bullpen pieces (Twitter link, with video, via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). “I can’t imagine we’d be looking to try and do a ’one and done’ situation,” said Van Wagenen. As for the type of reliever he’s looking for, Van Wagenen spoke in general terms — missing bats, controlling the strike zone — but suggested that closing experience might not be a big factor. In fact, it seems there’s no guarantee the Mets even plan to use a set closer in 2019.
“I think a lot of teams are going away from a traditional closer,” said Van Wagenen. “I think we had — in [Robert] Gsellman and [Seth] Lugo last year — a lot was asked of those two guys. They were about as good as they could be. As long as we can control their workload and not put them in situations that are over-taxing, I think both those guys can get outs at the back end of the game — the last three outs in particular. We’ll see whether other guys can be added to that mix.”
Here’s more from Queens…
- In other Mets news, Van Wagenen says he feels the club is at least “covered” at the catching position, as Tim Healey of Newsday writes. That won’t stop the organization from looking at upgrades. In fact, the Mets have made a strong early push for glove-first backstop Martin Maldonado, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. It seems he’s the club’s top catching target in free agency, with Wilson Ramos of secondary interest. Meanwhile, pursuit of star Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto does not sound particularly realistic. The Fish are evidently not enamored of the top New York prospects, so there may not be a deal to be made. (What should Realmuto cost in a trade? Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs took a worthwhile look at the subject.)
- Though late-blooming Jeff McNeil’s MLB audition lasted just over two months last season, he looks to have done enough to assure himself a spot in next year’s lineup. Van Wagenen said at this week’s GM Meetings that McNeil is “penciled in” as the team’s everyday second baseman for the 2019 season (Twitter link via Healey). McNeil opened eyes with a .329/.381/.471 slash through 248 plate appearances, and while he only homered three times in 63 games, he also hit 11 doubles and racked up six triples in that time. Most encouraging of all, perhaps, was the infielder’s minuscule 9.7 percent strikeout rate. Even if his .359 average on balls in play regresses, as one would expect, McNeil’s knack for putting the ball in play should help him hit for a quality average and get on base at a solid clip.
- The Mets have some coaching vacancies to fill, including hitting coach and bench coach. Puma tweets that former D-backs hitting coach Dave Magadan is among the Mets’ candidates to replace Pat Roessler at that position, while Matt Ehalt of the North Jersey Bergen Record tweets that former Cubs/Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis could also be in the mix. Meanwhile, Jim Riggleman, who recently left the Reds after being passed over for their managerial vacancy, is a candidate to take over as Mickey Callaway’s bench coach, Ehalt adds.
I would love Maldonado. Gold glove catcher to compliment our great pitching staff would be amazing. Now we just gotta scoop up Miller and/or Robertson and then we would be decent
Descent as 4th best team in the East. Silly Mets fans the longer you postpone your rebuild the longer it will be for recovery.
Add to that the Phillies, Nats, and Braves are on full speed ahead now!
The Mets will never recover as long as they’re owned by the Wilson’s. I already know we’re doomed, but I can’t really stop being a Mets fan, having been one for over 50 years. I go every year on opening day because at least it’s a new season, but I know it’s an exercise in futility.
Don’t be so sure about that. The Mets aren’t nearly in as bad of shape as people think, and this is coming from a Braves fan.
All the Mets really need is their starting staff to stay healthy, a couple reliable arms for their pen, and a solid defense. They don’t really need a big power line-up that’s in the top tier of the league in runs scored. They have the pitching to shut down opposing teams’ lineups.
They have Nimmo, Conforto, Rosario, McNeil, Bruce, Frazier, and the strong bat of Alonso. So, they have the outfield covered, 1B, 2B, SS, and 3B. They need a catcher, and they need a more versatile, situationally flexible bench.
Could they improve upon Frazier or Bruce, of course, but it really isn’t direly important for sustained success.
Another starting pitcher, a catcher, bench depth, and some upgrades to their bullpen is really all the Mets need to once again become a formidable opponent.
If they can cover these holes, then the Mets will be right there at the very end. Let’s be honest, it isn’t like the Nationals nor the Braves have really built juggernauts just yet, so the Mets still have an open window to contend this season.
Again, moreso than any splashy addition, they just desperately need Wheeler, DeGrom, and Syndergaard to all stay healthy..
Thank you for actually writing a well thought out, unbiased, fact based comment. So tired of all the mindless Met bashing that is persistently posted. Your comments are spot on. The Braves have not as you said built a juggernaut… yet… but their young group of talent if properly coached should be a strong contender for years to come.
he’s a very good catcher with a powerful arm. the only thing i did not like about him while with the angels was his setting up too far outside to edge of the strike zone.or even farther from it.
Can we get:
A) a training staff that can keep players physically fit
B) players who don’t strike out 150 times a year
C) players who actually TRY to play every day
D) give up in Lagares, Bruce, Cespedes. What would it cost us to release them?
E) if Alonso isn’t given the opportunity to play 1b, get Conforto some time there this spring
F) throw away the band aids and get real players. Swarzak, Frasier, Vargas, AGon (gone), etc etc etc. stop trying to convince fans these are quality additions and money well spent.
G) just rebuild already. Let’s be honest. Every year we hear the same thing in regard to health. Well, every year the players are 12 months older too!
It’s tough to be a Mets’ fan right now.
No Tebow news? This isn’t a Mets update then.
Moved to Triple-A.
You can get all the Tebow news your little heart desires on SEC Nation.
Celebrating that news with some strawberry preserves
He would put fanny’s in the seats!
The offense isn’t good enough to have a defense only catcher unfortunately. Same goes for Lagares in CF
Maldonado? Really? That guy can’t hit. I rather stick with D’arnaud who hits better.
Because hitting is the most important thing you want from your catcher… wait a sec…
Batter Up… that’s wonderful of you to share your opinion! Good job! Keep up the great work! Unfortunately, the Mets front office will not be taking it into consideration.
Because you know, defense isn’t a thing.
But his framing and defense are trash. And in the mets case we need that to be solid to compliment our pitching staff
There are a few positions in baseball where defense is more important. Catcher, Shortstop, and maybe even center field. But Catcher more than any of them. They have an incredible amount of impact on the game. That’s why catchers typically have the worst bats second only to pitchers.
You think that D’arnaud is better? He can’t stay healthy plus he can’t throw out a one legged base runner. We have the pitching but they keep stealing bases because they know that our catchers don’t have an arm.
Mets should be willing to sacrifice offense in their catcher if he can control the game and keep the pitchers focused. Keeping the pitchers in the game and performing to their ability is the key.
I agree. The Mets best route is to enhance their pitching with defense, within reason. I would like to think they can do something with thier offense but whatever increase they get should be counted as gravy.
Zack Wheeler for Gary Sanchez & Clint Frazier.
You just caused ey to crack that seal, and take a header off the wagon.
Better than a backdoor slider
That’s what she said.
are you serious!
You…are out of your mind. I wouldn’t trade just Gary Sanchez by himself for Wheeler.
In line with what I wrote under the Mets preview article. The Mets already gave out enough bad long-term contracts. They need to keep the powder dry to have enough to resign their starting pitchers.
A defensive game caller is needed to support the pitching staff. Gsellman and Lugo’s 2018 move to the bullpen can be built on. Cody Allen can be rehabbed for cheap. Maybe one other reliever – preferably LH. The Mets are not dropping $8-14mm on a veteran reliever. Callaway and Eiland have developed top flight bullpens out of castoffs. They’re on the right track.
Nice to see that MLBTR was forced to cover McNeil. Finally. If one of their darling stat teams brought up a 2B that played that well over 1/3’rd a season, they’d have been gushing about him for the last 2 months. So he’s 26. He’s cheap and under control. Are the Mets supposed to shell out an additional $5-7-9-11mm to bring in a Dozier or Starlin Castro type? In overall play McNeil may well be better then them.
Again, the Mets are stuck with too many bloated veteran contracts that can’t be moved – partially because they get hurt all the time; along with 3 banjo hitting OF’s. The Mets have a serious lack of depth with position players, making any starter injury catastrophic. Example – Rosario is no great shakes, but if he goes down for 2 months, who plays SS?
In reality, 2019 is about developing the pitching and waiting out the bad contracts.
Think you need to give the MLBTR staff some slack on McNiel. They would have gushed over any OTHER second basemen for two months if he had played well for a third of the season? I think you are exaggerating a little. Can you think of any examples? I sure can’t. Allowing them to see a player put together a good half season before bringing that player up is not to much to ask.
Exaggerating? Sorry, I’m no troll.
I see it all the time. They push players that are publicized minor leaguers all the time – particularly if they play for name organizations. When those guys get called up, they’re covered.
How many hundreds of complimentary articles were written on Blake Swihart inferring he was the next big catching star, before it dawned on them that the guy’s a stiff? I watched them make fun of Joe Panik when the Giants brought him up, discounting what he was doing on the field. Anyone watching the games was seeing a guy doing everything he could to help his team win. Maybe he’s no superstar, but he had 4 very good years for the Giants until 2018.
In articles about the Mets future from as far back as September, they never once mentioned McNeil, and at times came out and said the Mets needed a 2B. I KNOW because I was leaving comments under the articles.
If Van Wagenen had not said McNeil was starting @ 2B in 2019, they wouldn’t have done a paragraph here.
I want to state that I do believe the more realistic rout for the Mets is a rebuild.
Having said that, I really can see the argument for Mets going all in..again. The more I look at the Mets the more I think they really aren’t that far from contention.
Look, I’m a Braves fan so trash talking the Mets is practically my job but checking my mind at the door isn’t. The Mets have two aces and two strong no.2 pitchers. This really does have the potential to he the best rotation in baseball.
Before you object, yes, I know, the Mets have been selling potential like it’s ice out on the Arctic, but I also can’t help but think that the Mets have been really unlucky too. The thing with luck is that it’s random. Bad luck has to go away eventually. So you can’t help but wonder what a full year or close to it of DeGrom, Syndagaard, Matz and Wheeler would look like. That sort of idea has to be tempting to at least try for.. again.
Now imagine the Mets make smart bullpin decisions. This is probably the cheapest way to a contender. A top rotation with a top bullpin is certainly a good way to make a playoff team. I have seen plenty of Braves teams that were great pitching and light hitting. That was the early 90’s Braves MO.
If McNiley is for real, somewhere around a 300 hitter with an OBP of 360 and plays with speed that is one less roster spot that you have to worry about being productive.
The Mets have plenty of holes in their line up but with strong pitching in a weak division, they just might be able to do something.
Not sure why it has to be mentioned that the Mets are unlikely to be the team to acquire JT Realmuto. They don’t have the prospect matches; Marlins aren’t impressed with the Mets prospects; the Marlins aren’t eager to trade him within the division; and so many teams will be bidding on Realmuto that it virtually would require the Mets to put a package that would open up more holes than they already have now. If you doubt it, just consider just a couple of the potential trade offers that may be out there right now:
– Nats using either Robles or Soto (not both) as headliners
– Braves using about 2 of their top pitching prospects or one of their top pitching prospects and one of their top position prospects
– Yankees using Gary Sanchez and multiple prospects (and perhaps even taking on contracts of either Starlin Castro, Martin Prado, or Wie Yin Chen)
Now, think about what the Mets would have to give up to beat out those potential offers.