The Mets held a fascinating press conference today to introduce recent acquisitions Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz — players who the organization clearly sees as major pieces of the club’s next winning roster. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo was among the reporters to cover the festivities; all links below are to his Twitter feed unless otherwise noted.
New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen offered soaring thoughts on the occasion of his first major move with the club. “I stated that this organization intended to be relentless and fearless in the pursuit of greatness,” he said. “This trade should be a signal to our fans that words alone will not define our franchise.”
Getting a deal done was spurred not only by the team’s own direct interest, but also by a desire to land Diaz before the Phillies could do so. COO Jeff Wilpon indicated the presence of the division rivals in the bidding helped drive the talks. The Phillies ultimately balked at including their best young pitching in a deal for Diaz, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription link). Ultimately, they struck a separate deal for shortstop Jean Segura.
Van Wagenen explained further that an “all-consuming” push over the past ten days or so led to a deal. Though Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto had said he was “inclined to hold onto Diaz” and “told us no a number of times,” the Mets “kept staying on it, kept trying to be aggressive on it” and ultimately made a match after batting around numerous deal possibilities.
Unsurprisingly, the addition of an aging but still-excellent player in Cano and a top-shelf young closer in Diaz seem to portend yet more acquisitions. As Van Wagenen put it, the Mets “did not make this move to be our last move.” Wilpon went into further detail, offering up some internal perspective on the club’s status. The team’s own analytical staff see this move as taking the club from an 83 to 84 win team to one that is a true-talent, upper-eighties outfit. With “a couple more things,” he suggested, “maybe we can be 90-plus.”
As ever, payroll remains a factor. This deal is cash-neutral for the 2019 season, though it does add future dollars. And as ever, there’s an opportunity cost — in this case, long-term spending capacity and the loss of young talent. But the Mets evidently feel they can continue to boost their competitiveness.
Wilpon chatted about the Mets’ financials, explaining that the ongoing efforts to work out a settlement on the insurance coverage for David Wright will hopefully soon result in a deal. Even if the funds won’t come in a lump sum, “some of that will go back to payroll.” Meanwhile, though the coverage on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is said to be a “little bit less” than the 75% coverage the Mets have on Wright’s salary, there could be some funds flowing back for his absence as well.
It’s still not clear how high the Mets will go in an Opening Day payroll. The club has yet to crack the $155MM barrier to start a season, though even that mark would seem to leave room to spend. Of course, there are still quite a few obvious needs on the roster — as we covered in breaking down the Mets’ offseason outlook. Most notably, the club has a variety of bullpen openings to account for and could still pursue upgrades in the outfield, behind the dish, and perhaps also in the infield mix.
One possibility that has popped up on the rumor mill in recent weeks is a trade involving starter Noah Syndergaard, presumably with intentions of adding multiple youthful assets who could join a still-developing core. The early explorations evidently have not shown promise of resulting in a deal, however, as the Mets now say they are strongly leaning against moving Thor. Per Van Wagenen, only under “very special circumstances” would he “even consider” trading a pitcher who, at his best, is among the top hurlers in all of baseball.
Needless to say, there’s tons to digest from this presser. Taken in conjunction with the trade itself, it sets up the Mets for a fascinating upcoming trip to Vegas for the Winter Meetings.