Eager to quickly impress, Mets GM, Brodie Van Wagenen lit up the offseason with trades and acquisitions designed to give hope. And then, the season began…
Brodie Van Wagenen looked his usual dapper self (photo below) when he signed autographs in Syracuse the day before the Met’s season began. Fresh off an all-nighter in Port St. Lucie, Van Wagenen was flying high with the news the Mets had agreed to a contract extension with Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom.
The team was “up” and so were their fans. Exhibit number one remained the deal Van Wagenen had swung with the Seattle Mariners sending former All-Star Robinson Cano and All-Star closer Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets for outfielder Jay Bruce, reliever Anthony Swarzak, right-hander Gerson Bautista and prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. More on that deal in a second.
Van Wagenen then raised a few eyebrows when he signed free-agent Jeurys Familia as a set-up man for Diaz. Another splash followed with the signing of free-agent, Jed Lowrie. Tallied up, these deals cost the Mets around $60 million, plus whatever the Mariners did not pick up on Cano’s contract.
Monday-morning quarterbacking is ever so easy but the fact remains Brodie Van Wagen made his own bed. None of the players coming to the Mets have met expectations, and one of them has yet to step on a field in a Mets uniform. Brodie Van Wagenen owns the Mets season – not Mickey Callaway and not Jeff Wilpon.
What Brodie Should Have Known
It’s fair for instance, to say Van Wagenen should have known about Robinson “Robbie” Cano. And if he didn’t know, he could have asked Terry Collins or Omar Minaya. Maybe he did, but the Mets are getting exactly what they bought in Cano.
Robinson Cano is an April and September hitter with not much in between. Except for this season when Cano is only hitting .241 with a paltry three homers and 13 RBI, not producing when the Mets needed him most to get off to a good start as a team. Rest assured though, when the season is over, Cano will have his .300 average with 20 home runs and 80 or so RBI – because he always does. Robbie can do anything – when he wants to.
Edwin Diaz, ah yes, Edwin Diaz, the so-called steal in the Cano Trade. Once again, assuming Brodie did his homework before executing the trade, he had to have noticed that the young arm of Diaz had pitched in 133 games, amassing 139 innings for the Mariners over the last two season.
This didn’t give Van Wagenen pause to wonder if there wasn’t something behind the Mariners willingness to part with their All-Star closer – in effect – for Jay Bruce? – who by the way the Mariners traded to the Mets rival Phillies yesterday for a bag of peanuts.
Edwin Diaz is not the same pitcher he was the last two seasons and the Mets know it. They know it to the point they have yet to figure out how to use him, with Callaway trying to work within the edict from Van Wagenen to only use Diaz for three-out saves. Supposedly, that restriction was lifted, but who knows?
“There’s Nothing I Can Do”
Todd Frazier, Jed Lowrie, and Wilson Ramos (not mentioned before) are the kind of players you want in your clubhouse. Advancing in age, the leadership they can provide to a team like the Mets with young players (think Amed Rosario, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil) is invaluable.
But you can’t lead if you don’t play, as is the case with Lowrie and was the case in the beginning part of the season for Frazier. There’s no timetable for Lowrie, and that’s typical with the Mets these days due to previous misdealings with injuries. To compensate, the Mets will be 300 percent sure Lowrie is ready, and they will pull Jacob deGrom from a game the other night, against his will and to his displeasure.
As for Jeurys Familia, his struggles continue and all he can say to that is “there’s nothing I can do”. (New York Post 6/3/19). Say what? And he gets away with this?
But that is the climate surrounding the New York Mets as they arrive home to face the San Francisco Giants tomorrow night at Citi Field. This follows a 2-5 road trip out West, which in turn followed a 6-1 homestand. Who’s up, who’s down, and who doesn’t give a crap…this team is floundering.
And where is Brodie Van Wagenen? Giving voluminous press conferences like he was a few months ago when there wasn’t a camera he didn’t like? Hardly. Nowadays, his patsy, Mickey Callaway, does all the talking for him.
A good man with good intentions, the world of baseball takes no prisoners. Brodie Van Wagenen is learning the hard way that the other side of the table as management instead of a player’s rep is not as easy as he seemed to think it would be.
To reiterate, Van Wagenen made his own bed and now it’s time to remake and repair the mess he created, as best he can. Because as Sachel Paige, in his wisdom once said, “Don’t look behind you, because someone may be gaining on you”.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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