After a 77-win season, which resulted in a second straight sub-.500 overall record, the New York Mets knew it was a time to make some changes. The Mets organization introduced former agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their new general manager, taking over for Sandy Alderson, and he wasted no time in making a splash. After some talks, the Mets acquired All-Star closer Edwin Diaz and eight-time All- Star Robinson Cano for outfielder Jay Bruce and prospects, most notably Jarred Kelenic who was drafted last year with the sixth overall pick because of his high potential. Van Wagenen also brought back closer Jeurys Familia, added utility infielder Jed Lowrie along with catcher Wilson Ramos on free agent deals which will give New York some veteran stability.
There is no doubt that this Mets team is better than it was when the season ended in October. With such a busy off-season as 2019 has been, there are still moves to be made. And no, these moves will not include Manny Machado or Bryce Harper unfortunately.
One need that the Mets still have to address is their bullpen, more specifically bringing in a left-handed reliever. Since New York lost out on the Andrew Miller sweepstakes to the St. Louis Cardinals, they should direct their attention to one specific lefty. His name is Justin Wilson. Yes, his name is not a household name like Andrew Miller or Craig Kimbrel, but he is effective against left-handed hitters. In 2018, left-handed hitters recorded a .190 batting average with only 15 hits allowed in 79 at-bats. As a comparison, Jerry Blevins, who was the Mets lefty specialist in 2018, allowed 19 hits in 72 at-bats, which equated to a .264 batting average against. Blevins also allowed 16 runs to just lefties alone as Wilson only let seven runs come across against left-handed batters. As of right now, the Mets do not have a left-handed relief pitcher on their roster which should strike a bit of urgency to sign a player like Wilson for the 2019 season.
To further improve their lineup, which is projected to be seventh-best in the National League, the answer is not as obvious as Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Yes, either superstar would bring a different energy to the New York fan base. However, signing either player is rather unlikely. But do not worry, there is still another solution out there. His name is Nick Castellanos. The only drawback is that the Mets would have to draw up a trade in order to acquire the former first-round selection. The Detroit Tigers are in full rebuild mode so making a move for Castellanos could be a real possibility.
There are so many reasons the Mets should make a play for the veteran hitter. First, he plays multiple positions. For example, he plays third base and his secondary positions are the corner outfield spots, being left and right field. Second, he has hit above. 270 for three consecutive seasons, including driving in 101 runs in 2017 and 89 runs in 2018. He established career highs in batting average (.298), hits (185), doubles (46), on-base percentage (.354), slugging percentage (.500), and OPS (.854) last year as well which makes all the more sense for Brodie Van Wagenen to make a move for the 26-year old slugger. The addition of Castellanos would immediately improve this Mets’ lineup, possibly pushing third baseman Todd Frazier to the bench or even including him in the return package to Detroit. Castellanos no doubtedly will be cheaper as well as being a much more effective alternative than Harper or Machado.
The New York Mets need a lefty reliever along with another impact bat. Justin Wilson and Nick Castellanos fit those needs despite them not being named Andrew Miller, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. However, there is still time for Brodie Van Wagenen to make his final moves, if there are any left. It remains to be seen what the Mets GM has left in store before the 2019 season starts.