“Come get us.” That’s the message that Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen had today for the rest of baseball, and particularly the club’s division rivals, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports. While other organizations in the NL East surely also feel optimistic about their own recent roster improvements, that created an opening for the hard-charging rookie exec to dish out some further smack talk: “There’s a lot of good teams. … I hope that those guys continue to get themselves better because we’ll go slug it out with them every day.” Otherwise, as he introduced Jed Lowrie today, Van Wagenen suggested that he may be more or less done tinkering with the position-player mix, though he didn’t rule out further action. On the pitching side, it’s less of a complete picture, though the newly minted baseball ops leader did laud the “depth” the organization has already assembled, citing players such as lefty Hector Santiago and Rule 5er Kyle Dowdy. Certainly, a few additional arms wouldn’t hurt, though there’s no denying the talent the Mets have assembled at the back of the bullpen and, especially, in the rotation.
More from the eastern divisions …
- The most recent chatter on Bryce Harper has focused on his ongoing dalliance with the Phillies, due in no small part to a recent, in-person meeting. Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that Harper “hit it off” with Phils skipper Gabe Kapler, which perhaps represents a notable, though unquestionably secondary, factor in the still-developing situation. Though the word long has been that the Philadelphia organization has at least a slight preference for Manny Machado over Harper, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the latter may actually be a better match. Lauber ticks through a variety of ways in which that’s arguably the case, ranging from Harper’s fit in the lineup and on the roster to broader considerations such as marketing.
- Even as they look for a deal to send out starter Sonny Gray, the Yankees are seeking another rotation asset, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). It stands to reason that such a player would be a depth piece, whether a veteran on a minor-league deal or an optionable hurler acquired via trade, or perhaps a swingman type who’d initially work out of the bullpen. After all, even without Gray, the Yanks appear to have five rotation spots accounted for. It’s certainly understandable that the club would like to account for any starts that end up being missed by that unit, however. Otherwise, the New York org is said still to be looking at the relief market.
- Veteran second baseman Brian Dozier weighed some multi-year offers before he landed with the Nationals, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com writes. He and his wife ultimately preferred the fit in D.C., says Dozier, who says he spoke with Kurt Suzuki and Josh Willingham about their experiences in the nation’s capital before making his decision. Dozier ended up securing a $9MM guarantee for one season of work; in all likelihood, he’d have taken a lower annual salary if he went with a lengthier pact. The opportunity will also give him a shot, then, at returning to the market in search of a bigger contract. For both Dozier and the Nats, the bottom-line question is whether the 2018 season is merely a blip or the start of a decline for a player who had been a star-level performer for several prior seasons. Dozier says he’s fully recovered from a knee issue that may have led to “some bad habits,” calling his rough campaign “a good learning year.”