It has certainly been a wild ride since Brodie Van Wagenen has taken the wheel.
Now we just need him to pull the car into the driveway.
I believe we are at the part of the journey where you look up, start to see familiar sights and have no recollection of anything for the past hour. That freaky phenomena is called auto-hypnosis by the way.
We are almost home.
I’ve really come around on this offseason.
I know, I know. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still available. Yes, I know. Jed Lowrie is going to be 35 and was productive for the first time in his career at age 33. Yes, I realize that Robinson Canó is 36 and just served an 80 game suspension for PEDs. Hear me out though. 2019 is going to be a fun year to be a Mets fan.
It CAN be a special year. I truly believe we are almost there.
Shortly after taking the job, Van Wagenen gave a quote about roster construction that I absolutely love.
“One of the things that I think this club suffered from the last couple years was putting a lot of weight into ‘ifs’ Van Wagenen said. If player X is healthy, if player X rebounds to have another year, if we have a breakout season from a young player. My goal is that we try to eliminate as many ‘ifs’ as possible.”
YES! Also, our new GM is being very kind. Those “ifs” he is referring to could have easily been called “pipe dreams” or “throwing shit at the wall and praying it sticks.”
Don’t get me wrong. This 2019 roster is far from a sure thing. For example, Peter Alonso has zero MLB at bats. Amed Rosario has a lot of work to do offensively and defensively. However, i am confident that we are taking calculated risks with contingency plans, as opposed to hoping for miracles all over the diamond. Also, it should be noted that this roster has a TON of upside. Maybe more importantly, this team now has the depth to withstand some bad breaks.
So, let’s get into it.
Robinson Canó was suspended 80 games last season for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Canó still compiled a WAR of 3.2 for the year.
Yes, we’ve established that Canó is 36 years old. Let’s say disaster strikes. Who’s the backup? Matt Reynolds? José Reyes? Nope. Jed Lowrie.
What I’ve just written above may not excite you in an offseason where Manny Machado is still available on the free agent market. But it should comfort you.
We have a glut of infielders who can produce. We have the very real breakout potential of Amed Rosario and Peter Alonso. You also have a wildcard in JD Davis and Jeff McNeil if needed.
Since Juan Lagares won the Gold Glove award in 2014, the Mets have made him the starting center fielder every season. (More or less.) Every year he’s missed a large portion of the season on the disabled list.
OK. That deserves a little explanation. Let’s unwrap this.
Keon Broxton isn’t a sure thing. You know what he is though? He’s an elite defender, who is on par with Lagares at the position. He also has huge power potential. Now, again, he’s NOT a sure thing. But, he’s a backup plan who can legitimately win a gold glove. Factor in the power upside, and you have a damn good contingency plan.
Granted, it’s not the most sexy option out there. But could you imagine what 4 years of AJ Pollock would look like here in Queens? Adam Jones? Everyone else available would just be this year’s version of Austin Jackson.
Harper isn’t coming here so we’ll just move past it.
Céspedes may or may not return this year. (I think he will.) I’m sure they will ease him back into action when he returns, but 2020 is all Céspedes. Let’s just be realistic about it. He will be playing every day. He is owed 29 million dollars for the next two years. Money aside, Céspedes is the best player on this roster.
So, if you acquire another outfielder on a multi year deal– Take AJ Pollock for example. Who are you trading when Céspedes returns? Nimmo or Conforto? You’re not leaving either of those players on the bench. We may be looking ahead too much, but it’s something to consider.
With that being said, I like the roster construction. I’d imagine they go with Juan Lagares in center one more time. And if he stays healthy? What’s to say he can’t have a season similar to the one he had in 2014? If he can’t provide that, you have Keon Broxton. Listen, I know it’s not Bryce Harper. But what’s the absolute worst case scenario? You get elite defense either way.
Jeff McNeil is a very interesting name. We saw his elite batted ball skills on full display to close out the 2018 season, but he’s been essentially banished to the outfield. If he commands everyday at bats then he’d be forcing Conforto or Nimmo into center field which isn’t optimal. But Jeff McNeil is a very intriguing utility option.
How about Travis d’Arnaud? Every season he gets hurt and then returns to have a big September to suck us in again. But, this time he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. That’s ok, he’s the backup. Wilson Ramos is as good offensively as virtually any other catcher. Sure, he’s injury prone himself, but really? How many catchers can you carry? You’ll take Ramos and d’Arnaud over d’Arnaud and Plawecki. We made an offer to Grandal. Miami wanted the world for Realmuto. I’m happy here.
We added Edwin Diaz to the bullpen. We welcomed Jeurys Familia back. We added Justin Wilson. That alone puts less strain on Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. I’m confident we made enough additional depth moves, because I’m also confident that out of the group that contains Eric Hanhold, Tyler Bashlor, and Drew Smith…at least one of those young pitchers are going to pop off. I’m also a big Daniel Zamora guy.
Ok, Brodie. This is me. Just wait until I get in to pull off, ok?
GET SOME STARTING PITCHING DEPTH.
Credit where it’s due. You have depth and a contingency plan all over the diamond. You have huge potential upside in many spots.
GET SOME STARTING PITCHING DEPTH.
This is a strength. Look at this. We have three starting pitchers in the league’s top 25. Two in the top ten! This is the rotation that Washington has spent a half billion dollars trying to keep up with. Why aren’t we putting the finishing touches on it? Another legitimate arm and we are ready to go to war.
Brodie spoke the other day about Jason Vargas and how he really liked Walter Lockett. He mentioned something about Hector Santiago being a former all- star. Sorry Brodie but this is an if. IF Walter Lockett can pitch at the major league level. IF Santiago can pitch like he did a few years ago. Mainly, IF Jason Vargas can pitch at a major league level.
Don’t forget. An injury or two and we are in FlexenOswalt territory. Not to be a dark cloud, but would an injury or two be completely out of the realm of possibility?
I know Gio Gonzalez has a great Era at Citi Field. Guess what? He was pitching against the 2013-2018 Mets. Forget that.
Brodie. Let’s get Dallas Keuchel. Let’s have the best 1-5 in baseball and leave nothing to chance.
Take us home.