Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen idly stands by as drama unfolds in San Diego and teams barrel ahead of the Mets. And this one doesn’t belong to the Wilpons.
Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen is not even giving the Wilpons a chance to say no. Seemingly paralyzed at the Winter Meetings, he can’t even muster up the imagination to steal a small headline.
This, while the Braves and Phillies whisk on by with signings and trades that reinforce the fact they are serious in their efforts to put the best team they can on the field in 2020.
Is Brad Brach (Mets) in the same league as Will Smith (Braves)? Is Didi Gregorius (Phillies) not a better shortstop than Amed Rosario? And is the Mets pursuit of Rick Porcello and adequate answer to the team’s apparent lack of interest in keeping Zack Wheeler home?
The Mets will tell us that recent trade acquisition Jake Marisnick can fly and catch any ball hit to center field. But they won’t tell us he’s a cheap substitution for Starling Marte, who can hit a bit as well as play defense.
This is the sum of Brodie Van Wagenen’s offseason work to date. All the time it took to feed the interview process and to hire Carlos Beltran finally.
Plus, together will all the time it inexplicably ate up to nail down the coaching staff (completed two days ago) – it’s all coming home roost now.
Mets and the cost of taking a nap in San Diego
Van Wagenen’s inert and impotent display in San Diego is inexcusable. For all he knows, the Wilpons might very well be akin to Jeffrey Loria, the former owner of the Miami Marlins, who sold the team, its fans, and the city down the drain before he left.
Yes, this is the same Loria, who dumped $325 million on Giancarlo Stanton as a going-away present to Derek Jeter and company.
The example is extreme, but the point is glaringly valid. Brodie Van Wagenen is not even giving the Wilpons a chance to say no. He has brought nothing to them that requires the expenditure of the almighty dollar.
To where he’d be able to say with a straight face to a fan he encounters who has questions of this kind – “I did my best. But they wouldn’t let me trade for Mookie Betts and the $20+ million it would cost to have a four-time All-Star playing for the Mets”.
Van Wagenen has another issue, though, and this time it’s one he brought on himself. He needs to come up with a way to dump Jed Lowrie ($10 million), Robinson Cano ($24 million), and Jeurys Familia ($11.7 million) before he can regain any credibility with ownership – even if that owner is named Steve Cohen.
In that light, the Wilpons have a relevant point in saying – “What, you expect us to spend good money on more of your crap dealings?”
And so, perhaps it is that Brodie Van Wagenen has lost the bravado he possessed at this time last year. And that’s the reason why he brought only a cap gun to San Diego.
Van Wagenen and his fourth-place caliber team
The Mets have enough talent to make their presence known in the NL East despite the competition they face from the Nationals, Phillies, and Braves. But this was designed to be the year in which they became the team everyone else was chasing.
The Mets are good with Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman backing up Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but they are not nearly good enough.
Losing Wheeler hurts, and the day may soon come in which the Mets rue letting him slip away – only because they refused to pay him.
Van Wagenen can recover. There is still time to work out a deal for Marte with the Pirates that will cost Brandon Nimmo, but nothing more. And if they must, the Mets can take on Porcello for one-year (no more).
But most of the damage is already complete, leaving the Mets in a catch-up mode. The Wilpons did not put the team in that mode – Brodie Van Wagenen did.
What a stark contrast this is to the gunslinger who rode into Las Vegas last year with a chip on his shoulder. But let’s see what he can do shopping in the bargain basement when Van Wagenen gets home this weekend…