Mets 2020: How The Team Can Add By Subtracting First

Mets vs. Marlins in Puerto Rico 2020

Several Mets have called for the team to remain intact for another shot in 2020. But that isn’t going to happen. Subtractions will come first…

The Mets, like every team looking forward to 2020, have several players “on the bubble” and in danger of being let go before Spring Training. Brodie Van Wagenen will add before he subtracts. How far he goes is the question at hand.

Seth Lugo, Mets Dominant Reliever (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Seth Lugo, Mets Dominant Reliever (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

If it was up to Seth Lugo, though, he’d like to see the Mets field the same team next year. “I really do think we’re a good ball club,” Lugo said. “It just took us a few months to figure out how good we were and have faith in each person on the team. Hopefully, a lot of this group is together next year, and we’ll definitely make a run out of it.” (New York Daily News)

Lugo makes a good point. The Mets are not the Cubs or Phillies who self-combusted at the end of the season when memories are fresh, and it is easier for the finger-pointing to occur.

With a few exceptions, only positive minds prevail for individual Met performances during the second half when the team played .600 baseball.

Thus, the Mets need only tweaking and not a tear-down to measure up for the 2020 season. But before Brodie Van Wagenen can act by addition from the talented pool in the free-agent Class of 2020, he must first subtract from the current Mets 40-man roster.

So, who’s a keeper and who isn’t? In most cases, as we’ll see, sentiment and a player’s popularity go out the window. Of necessity, if the Mets intend to engage in the free-agent market, Van Wagenen must first create room on the payroll.

Brodie Van Wagenen’s Subtraction Checklist


Todd Frazier, New York Mets Sparkplug (Pgoto Credit: New York Post)
Todd Frazier, New York Mets Sparkplug (Pgoto Credit: New York Post)

1) Who wouldn’t want Todd Frazier on their team? A player’s player who is solid defensively at third base, can play a little at first base, and still swings a power bat as one of five Mets to hit 20 or more home runs in 2019.

A hometown boy of sorts (New Jersey), Frazier will be 34 when the 2020 season begins. Much traveled in recent years from the White Sox to the Yankees, and then to the Mets, Frazier has been a “fit” everywhere he’s been.

But – yes there’s always a but – Frazier will command at least the $9 million the Mets paid him in 2019, and possibly more if he explores the open market for a one-year deal.

Conclusion: I like him a lot, but that money needs to be banked to acquire another player of an equal or higher caliber. Aside from the money, the Mets (in theory) already have J.D. Davis ready to rock and roll at third base.

Zack Wheeler Heads To The IL (Photo: New York Post)
Zack Wheeler Heads To The IL (Photo: New York Post)

2) Is Zack Wheeler a starting pitcher, the Mets, should pursue for what will probably amount to the remainder of Jacob deGrom‘s contract (about $128 million) over the next four years?

In that context, the answer is a resounding no; the Mets have no business doing that – right? The Mets do have another option, though, which is to extend Wheeler a qualifying offer which is expected to be around $19 million for one season.

Wheeler can either accept or reject the offer. But if he rejects the offer, he automatically reduces his value in the open market because any team signing him after that will forfeit a first-round draft pick to the Mets.

Conclusion: Do not extend the qualifying offer – because Wheeler might take it – thereby putting a huge crimp in Brodie’s budget plans for 2020. At some point later in the process, the Mets always have the option to jump in, hoping to entice Wheeler into a home-town discount.

Note: Wheeler is known to be resistant to change, and therefore, might jump at the chance to stay with the Mets.

Battery "Mates" Wilson Ramos and Noah Syndergaard (Photo: Paul J. Bereswill)
Battery “Mates” Wilson Ramos and Noah Syndergaard (Photo: Paul J. Bereswill)

3) Has Noah Syndergaard reached the end of the line in his tenure as a New York Met? Opinions vary, but Syndergaard has done anything but raise his stature with the team given his finish in the 2019 season.

Not counting Sunday’s start to end the Met’s season, Syndergaard’s last Quality Start (six innings or more allowing three runs or less) came on September 2.

In the ensuing four starts, Syndergaard is winless, allowing 31 hits and sixteen earned runs in only 20.2 innings.

You almost have to wonder if Syndergaard is purposively writing his one-way ticket out of New York.

The Mets paid Syndergaard $6 million for his services this season. Eligible for arbitration, he will qualify for a raise based solely on his 31 starts and just under 200 innings pitched.

At 26, teams will jump over each other to acquire Syndergaard in a trade. Back in July, teams complained Van Wagenen’s asking price was too high, or Syndergaard probably would have been gone then.

Conclusion: Remember, the question of addition and who replaces Syndergaard in the Mets rotation comes later following the subtraction. If possible, Van Wagenen will want to trade Syndergaard out of the National League.

A deal involving the Twins Jake Odorizzi comes to mind, as does a swap with the Rangers for Mike Minor with players to be named later on both sides.

Juan Lagares - The Odd Man Out? (Photo:
Juan Lagares – The Odd Man Out? (Photo:

4) Juan Lagares all but knows he will have played his final game as a New York Mets on Sunday. Bracing for the inevitable, Lagares told the New York Post:

“This is the only organization I have played for, since 2006, so I feel blessed to play for that long, and it’s probably going to be sad,” Lagares said referring to Sunday’s season finale. “I hope I can stay here, but nobody knows.”Mike Puma, New York Post

And so it is that Juan Lagares has a zero chance of returning to the Mets next season.

Conclusion: His primary disabilities? He can’t hit worth a lick, and he’ll cost the team around $10 million if they sign him for next year.

By all accounts, a great teammate who has slid into any role Mickey Callaway has given him, Lagares deserves to be fondly remembered by Mets fans.

With Salaries Cleared – Van Wagenen Takes The Stage

With at least $30 million cleared off the books for next year by the subtractions we’ve made (if you agree), Brodie Van Wagenen is now free to add talent to the Met’s roster.

He can reach to the expensive stars for an Anthony Rendon to play third base for the Mets for the next decade. Or, he can split the money in any variety of ways he chooses.

Van Wagenen could if he opts to, stock a brand new bullpen for the Mets. Or, he can seek to find two mid-level starters to complement deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. Any combination of the two will work as well.

There you have it. What say you?…

Here’s a thoughtful counter-argument from Victor Parlati,
who is a member of the New York Mets Orange And Blue Nation Facebook Group


Victor Parlati Major problem with this article’s thesis.

Trading Syndergaard and letting Wheeler go unsigned and then later they add 2 starters to replace them is very “a matter of factly” mentioned at the end.


Where are these two pitchers coming from? Who might they be?

Yes, say goodbye to Frazier and Lagares.

Make a 3 year $45M offer to Wheeler. If he says no then fine – you will get somebody’s first-round pick for him.

But DO NOT trade Syndergaard.

He is young and is still capable of being one of THE BEST number two starters in the game – and for a few more years you will have him at a bargain-basement price.

Have an amiable sit down with him and listen carefully to his objections and concerns about pitching to Ramos.

Give him some latitude.
Show him that you respect his talents greatly.
Make a deal with him.
Let him pitch to Nido for the entire first half of the 2020 season.
Make him feel wanted and appreciated.

And if it doesn’t improve the situation…

Trade him at the 2020 July 31 deadline for a good relief pitcher.

God knows you can always use another one of those.


And btw, during this offseason GO GET AT

It’s a lot easier to do that than to get TWO new quality starters.

Note: The featured image above is a reminder the Mets will be playing a series in Puerto Rico in 2020

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.