Never afraid to be candid in his brief time as a Major League general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen spoke with SNY’s Steve Gelbs today and stated, “…[I]nternally, we would argue that we’re the favorites in the division right now” (Twitter link, with video). Van Wagenen expressed pleasure in being able to add a pair of back-end relievers (Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia) as well as a pair of middle-of-the-order bats (Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos). That said, the rookie GM also made clear that the Mets aren’t done adding this offseason and indicated that they “still have some real money to spend.” Unsurprisingly, Van Wagenen didn’t dive into specifics about who else might be a target, but it seems that there’s still work to be done as the Mets look to reemerge as contenders in an increasingly competitive division.
A few notes on what could yet be in store in Queens…
- The Mets at least discussed the possibility of making a run at Mike Moustakas last week, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. However, as Puma notes, it’s not clear whether the addition of Ramos has lessened their desire to add another free-agent bat. The 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 homers between the Royals and Brewers in 2018 — his fourth consecutive season of above-average production at the plate (by measure of park-adjusted metrics OPS+ and wRC+). The Mets already have Todd Frazier, a former client of Van Wagenen from his days as an agent with CAA, lined up to play third base next season. Frazier, 33 in February, struggled to a .213/.303/.390 slash line in 472 PAs with the Mets last season, though he still turned in above-average defense in 954 innings at the hot corner.
- Van Wagenen also told reporters today that teams have been calling about catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki for the past month (Twitter links via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com). Interest in both catchers has increased, per the GM, since the club agreed to terms with Ramos. Either d’Arnaud or Plawecki could be a logical trade candidate, especially given that both are out of minor league options. DiComo, though, notes that Van Wagenen has repeatedly talked up d’Arnaud’s versatility and indicated that d’Arnaud could be utilized in either left field or at first base in addition to his work at catcher. While the GM has suggested that the Mets could carry three catchers, it’d be a less clumsy roster structure if the Mets were to find a trade partner for either Plawecki or d’Arnaud and dedicate that would-be third catcher spot to a more traditional utility option.
- Also via DiComo (Twitter link), Van Wagenen implied that the A.J. Pollock may no longer fit into the Mets’ plans, suggesting instead that Ramos gives the Mets the right-handed, middle-of-the-order bat the team sought. Whether there’s some degree of posturing there remains to be seen, but Pollock was always at least somewhat of a stretch as a fit on a roster that already includes Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares. While Cespedes will miss significant time in 2019 as he recovers from surgery on both heels, a long-term deal for Pollock would’ve eventually presented some degree of a logjam. On the other hand, that’d only be the case if all those options were healthy, and the majority of them have had some notable injury issues in recent seasons.