There’s been a lot of talk circulating throughout Major League Baseball concerning the moves the New York Mets are exploring this offseason. This, in my opinion, is due to the efforts of their new General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, who seems to be on track in keeping the promises he made during his introductory press conference weeks ago when he stated his desire to build a championship team in Flushing by shopping for premium talent to add to the Mets lineup.
That being said, aside from a series of small moves such as waiver claims, minor league signings, and the hiring of a new bench coach, Joe Riggleman and new Vice President of Player Development and Scouting/Assistant GM, Allard Baird – who actually made headlines by choosing to leave the reigning World Series Champions Boston Red Sox and join the Mets organization – Van Wagenen has not moved past simple “house-keeping” when it comes to constructing the projected 25-man roster for 2019.
So far, we’ve learned of the front office’s decision not to keep Pat Roessler as the hitting coach for next season, as it appears that the Mets are expected to name Chili Davis to be the new hitting coach instead of promoting Tom Slater from his current role as the assistant hitting coach. Gary DiSarcina was also picked to be the new third base coach, while Rubén Amaro Jr. was also named as the new first base coach. In addition to these minor changes, Ricky Bones is expected to be reassigned from his current role in the bullpen to another part the organization. However, unlike the Atlanta Braves who recently signed 3B Josh Donaldson to a huge one-year $23 million contract before also reaching an agreement with their former catcher, Brian McCann to rejoin the team, the Mets have yet to make any sort of free agency splash that would excite their fan base. Frankly, they need to up their game and not lose the spotlight in the NL East division.
Additionally, there’s been a lot of talk from Van Wagenen’s front office about possibly trading Syndergaard and about trading for veteran 2B Robinson Cano and CP Edwin Diaz, among other free agents the Mets are exploring, yet no action has been taken to improve the organization on the actual ball field. I do not doubt that Van Wagenen is trying to put his stamp on this team and build a contender, and whether that involves a trade or a free agency signing will be his prerogative. But as December rolls around, this is the time when top players normally sign new contracts and find new homes before the New Year and the upcoming season. So far, I back Brodie and his efforts in finding players and coaches that can make this team better, but right now all I’ve heard is talk.
With two big trade discussions in the works, it certainly seems to be the case that Van Wagenen is determined to shape this Mets team in his image and distance the Amazins’ from Sandy Alderson’s configuration of ballplayers and front office staff. Apparently, this might mean dealing SP Noah Syndergaard. However, the trade that seems to be gaining more momentum as of Thursday evening is the potential one with the Seattle Mariners for 2B Robinson Cano and CP Edwin Diaz. As part of this deal, the Mets would acquire Cano and Diaz in exchange for OF Jay Bruce, two of the Mets former first-round draft picks in OF Jarred Kelenic and RHP Justin Dunn, and 2B Jeff McNeil. There have also been discussions about making separate deals for either Cano or Diaz, but those don’t seem as likely.
From the players rumored to be a part of this deal, I think getting a quality young closer like Edwin Diaz could be very valuable for the Mets in their efforts to bolster their bullpen ever since they parted ways with closer Jeurys Familia last July. However, the only way for this deal to work would be for the Mariners to pay for some of the $120 million still owed to Cano over the next five seasons. Otherwise, the Mets would be better off using their money to sign 3B Mike Moustakas, keeping their current 2B Jeff McNeil at his position, and signing closer Craig Kimbrel in addition to RHP David Robertson, LHP Andrew Miller, or RHP Adam Ottavino.
Robinson Cano would not be the prize of this deal. The Mets would acquire him though, to get Edwin Diaz in their bullpen and to get rid of Jay Bruce’s contract and receive some cash to offset the burden of Cano’s remaining contract. I would do that deal. It’s a good deal for the Mets because this would help them win now, even though at least two former first-round picks in Kelenic and Dunn, would probably be shipped off to Seattle.
But no matter what, the Mets must keep Jeff McNeil and stick him at third base if need be. After coming up late last season, this 26-year-old provided a series of stunning performances both on the field and at the plate. Trading him as part of a package for the 36-year-old Cano would be a horrendous move even if Edwin Diaz were part of the return package. My take with all these rumors is that I like the idea of trading for a star talent – just not this star. When it comes to acquiring Robinson Cano, I think the possible bad outweighs the possible good. After all, he did just serve an 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs last season.
Nevertheless, I do agree that this deal (without dealing McNeil) would help the Mets contend in 2019, and if it works out that way, then this should be hailed as great deal and defining moment for GM Van Wagenen as a leader of this franchise. Losing Kelenic and Dunn, two of their top prospects, would also be worth it because the Mets already have young stars in their outfield with Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, and in their starting rotation with Noah Syndergaard (if they don’t trade him elsewhere) and Zack Wheeler. I hope Van Wagenen makes the right decisions before all the top talent is taken. So Let’s go Mets – Come on, let’s go.