Brodie Van Wagenen aims for a splash but does a belly flop

When the Mets embarked on the process of hiring a new GM, it was a pivotal moment in club history. The stakes were high and as fans we had to deal with the one-two punch of hearing some bad names in the running – Dave Littlefield, anyone? – and good names, like Ben Cherington and Thad Levine, who decided for whatever reason to remove their names from the process. On top of that, there was always the concern that Fred Wilpon would advocate for his old pal Omar Minaya to get another shot.

Despite that less than glorious start, the Mets ended up with three solid finalists. There was the old pro in Doug Melvin, the hot shot youngster in Chaim Bloom and the wild card in Brodie Van Wagenen. Melvin had brought two different clubs to the playoffs, Bloom had a ton of experience despite his age and Van Wagenen would bring a fresh approach to the chair.

My preference from the remaining three in order was: 1. Bloom, 2. Van Wagenen and 3. Melvin.

In what seemed like a surprise from the Wilpons, the Mets ended up with Van Wagenen. Some worried about his lack of front office experience but it was my belief that having veterans like Minaya and John Ricco around would help ease the transition for Van Wagenen. And if nothing else, he would probably ace the people part of the job that seemed like a challenge – or a chore – for Sandy Alderson.

The process seemingly got off to a good start. With Van Wagenen on board, there seemed to be more momentum than ever before to sign ace and fan favorite Jacob deGrom to an extension. And the new GM traveled to Arizona to meet with top prospect Peter Alonso. After there was some bad press for the organization when it decided against giving Alonso a September promotion, having the new GM visit the power-hitting prospects shortly after he took over was a nice PR move.

But then came the pressure to do something more tangible.

Seemingly, the Mets inquired about J.T. Realmuto but either balked at the price or the Marlins felt they didn’t have the necessary parts. Then there was the overt shopping of Noah Syndergaard. And next came the fascination with Robinson Cano.

And let’s be honest – once you get past the lip service nature of “no one is untouchable or ungettable,” these are all bad ideas and hardly indicative of the fresh vision that an agent was supposed to bring to the table as a general manager.

If we learned anything from 2018, it’s that the game is trending younger. Realmuto’s age in a vacuum is not a problem but catchers operate under a different aging process than other positions on the diamond. Then they were going to trade a prime age Syndergaard for a bunch of prospects and then turn around and “replace” him with a 30-something starter from free agency. Seems like a plan with a ton of risk in it for a potential reward that might not even exceed just enjoying Syndergaard for the second half of his twenties.

But then came the ultimate – actively seeking out a guy who’s about to enter his age 36 season, who carries a five-year obligation. To be fair, the deal that the teams have agreed to in principle also has the Mets getting a young reliever who posted a 3.5 fWAR last year. But in order to get the stud reliever, the Mets had to part with two of their top prospects, including the sixth-overall pick in last year’s draft.

Early reports had the Mets getting $60 million of salary relief – along with sending $22.5 million of “bad” contracts to Seattle. Now word comes out that it might be only $20 million in cash coming the Mets’ way. You could squint and say that the $60 million made it a tolerable deal, if Cano could give at least a couple of years like he did when on the field in 2018. That extra money would allow the flexibility to chase other solutions in free agency.

Even economic illiterates who wouldn’t understand a Ponzi scheme if they fell for it twice would know the difference between $20 and $60 million. Even Gilbert Gottfried couldn’t squint hard enough to make the deal look good at one-third of the original cash incentive.

So, we’re now faced with the first real test of the Van Wagenen era. Can the guy who wants so bad to make a big splash walk away from the deal he’s created when the other team is trying to change the terms so drastically? Will he walk away if Seattle says it’ll “settle” for $40 or $50 million? This deal is a huge risk at $60 million for the Mets.

In a way, you have to be impressed by the huevos of the Seattle GM for trying to make such a good deal for them even better.

Few teams, if any, are jumping for joy at the prospect of acquiring Cano and the five years left on his deal, even if Seattle covers half of the freight. And while Edwin Diaz has electric stuff, getting Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista for him is a pretty good haul.

When the Braves gave up Craig Kimbrel to free themselves of Melvin Upton’s salary, Upton was six years younger and only was owed about half of what Cano has coming to him. And Upton wasn’t busted for using PEDs, either.

This proposed deal isn’t as imaginative as it is retro. And it’s retro in a bad way, like leg warmers and parachute pants making a comeback. There’s nothing good about overpaying in both dollars and prospects and getting an old second baseman and a reliever. It feels like a deal that back in the day we were afraid that Minaya would make. But he never did. Maybe this is why the Wilpons embraced Van Wagenen – he thought in ways even more backwards than Minaya.

Maybe there was a good deal to be had here for the Mets. But this wasn’t it, especially at just $20 million coming back and with Kelenic going away. And I say that as someone who’s happy about having Diaz come to Queens.

You want to make a splash with a cannonball, a jump that leaves people on the deck getting wet and those in the pool scrambling to maintain their balance from the shock waves of the blast. Instead, Van Wagenen did a belly flop. Sure, it made a lot of noise and made people take notice, but it just had them laughing at the Mets while the team ended up with a sore midsection.

68 comments for “Brodie Van Wagenen aims for a splash but does a belly flop

  1. TJ
    December 2, 2018 at 1:32 am

    I will confess to being less than excited about this deal, which is pretty sad when the team with maybe the worst bullpen in the league just acquired likely the best closer in the league, plus one of the best 2b to ever play the game, still playing at a very high level (we’ll park the PED issue).

    I am trying to make a case on the positive side here, so here it goes. First, as we say each winter, the offseason work needs to be viewed in its entirety, not piece by piece. This is impossible to do at the onset of December, regardless of gut feelings, but it is always a good reminder. Ultimately, the judgment will be based on how the Mets are positioned in the NL East on opening day, and what the cost was to get them there (both current and future cost). Some of the judgment is contingent on what the opposition accomplishes relative to the Mets.

    With regards to this particulaer deal, as others have noted, it looks like two separate pieces. Piece 1 is the 3 prospects for Diaz. Two top 100 guys for perhaps the best closer in the game, aged 24 and controllable for 4 years. That looks to be an overpay, highly debatable, but likely close to market. Additionally, if BVW failed to obtain Diaz, there was a high probability that he would land with a “win now” divisional rival, the Braves or the Phillies. I can live with this but it is clearly a premium paid. The second part is trade 2 years of Bruce and one of Swarzak for 5 years of Cano, at a net cost increase of $67.5m (Cano $124m – $20m cash-Bruce $28m-Swarzak $8.5m, give or take). Again, it smells of an overpay for a 36 year old 2b. Looking at Baseball Reference highest JAWs 2b, Cano will likely land near the top of the modern era 2b when he is done. There are a few that have put up 8+ WAR after age 35, still playing 2b. Whitaker, Kent, and sitting at the top is Joe Morgan with about 15 of his 100 WAR age 36 and beyond. So, given Cano’s pedigree, it is possible that he can give the Mets up to 10 WAR. He has been extremely durable and consistent, he is built like a bull, so I see most of the risk in his performance dip coming from the PED issue and the question of how much this behavior impacted his performance to date, a question we will never know the answer to regardless of how this plays out.

    In conclusion, I am very uneasy with the move, it is bold and risky, but it does have a decent shot at working out for the possibility if the Mets can be serious competitors for the division for 2-3 years and develop enough quality players to fill the void from the dealing 2 of the top 5 prospects.

    • December 2, 2018 at 8:48 am

      I would worry about a team without any other obvious holes, like the 2017 Nationals, getting a top shelf closer way more than the Phillies or Braves, who were both in the top half of the league in Save Percentage last year.

  2. December 2, 2018 at 1:50 am

    Brian I was stunned at only 20 million in the deal to offset the last 3? years of Cano’s contract? It’s not worth it. Why over pay? There’s no need to be that excessively desperate for a closer. Keep the kids and sign a FA closer. The Mariners are desperate to unload Cano. So let them blink first. Why add another stud to the deal and not get a CF from Seattle included in the deal? I could live with Smith in the deal but the Mariners needed to put in at least 40 million. This is such a lob sided deal. Met management needs to take a step back and review this again

    • December 2, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Not one player who finished in the top 10 in BABIP in 2017 repeated the trick in 2018. Smith finished fourth in the majors with a .366 BABIP last year.

  3. Meticated
    December 2, 2018 at 2:21 am

    What a bizarre start to his stewardship. A potentiall drug problem in his declining years with a massive backloaded contract. Albeit alongside a supercharged reliever with triple digit heat , can’t complain there, except why give up two blue chip prospect first rounders and a young reliever we traded Addison reed for as opposed to free agency. Seems counterintuitive when youth is at a premium in this evolving game. Why not save the farm and outright purchase free agents like Miller Robertson or Kimbrel ? I just don’t see the value of cano while we have an apparent heir to Murphy at the keystone… move cano to first and block Alonso ?? My gut tells me that this is a money motivated deal to get out from under Bruce’s deal , and Swarzak who also seems a deadweight That’s fine but why mortgage the future , unless you’re going for the crown this year. Is that the plan? Recapture the fanbase, revenue from media, and the accumulated taxes on shake shack takeaways. Dig deep and buy offense instead of a 36 year old dinosaur. This will end badly!

  4. TexasGusCC
    December 2, 2018 at 2:38 am

    Great job Dalton. Nice article, you nailed it starting with your headline.

    Last week I read this:
    Prospects are cool, Parades are cooler.

    During the summer when discussing the Mejia trade for Hand from the Indians point of view, an announcer said “Flags fly forever”.

    Having said this, I’m not happy about the way this trade was carried out. I thought Bruce in LF should be ok. Swarzak may bounce back… The big motivation for this trade is to win at the present payroll rate. It a l w a y s comes back to money with these losers. The biggest losers in all of baseball. Had they sent Bruce and Swarzak and didn’t ask for a measly $20MM, they keep Kelenic. They just got $50MM from a new TV contract! I hate this team so much, and my allegiance to it is really starting to be questioned. Not another big market team gives up Kelenic, not a single one!

    Moving on:
    Nimmo
    Rosario
    Cano
    Ramos
    Conforto
    Alfonso
    McNeil
    Lagares
    Syndergaard

    But there news of Kluber for Nimmo, Syndergaard for who knows what… This lineup is fine and can get better when the big bat comes back. However, today is a day to realize the ownership sucks and waiting for it to change is a waste of our time. I need to evaluate how much of my time and resources in the future I am willing to dedicate to these clowns. They aren’t just clowns, they’re stupid gullible clowns that got played by the people that everyone else feasts on!

    • December 2, 2018 at 3:01 am

      Rosario had a 290 obp he should be hitting 8th or 9th not second. As far as the rumors by Martino and others of trading Syndergaard for prospects and Nimmo for Kluber well that would be unbelievably dumb so I expect it to happen.

      • TexasGusCC
        December 2, 2018 at 4:25 am

        David, stop being a hater and enough of everyone looking at stats and becoming an expert. He was 22 with a .297 overall OBP when most 22 year olds are in AA, and if you look at Jose Reyes 22 season his OBP was .300. Also, Rosario has improved greatly, just had a great series in Japan and needs support to become better.

        I am not saying that he can’t bat at the bottom; Lagares may show that the glimpse from last year was real or this lineup may not need to be righty/lefty balanced as I wrote it. But, I’m not going to knock Rosario because of his numbers. I watch the games and I’ve seen thousands of games and thousands players. I can see improvement, I understand talent wins, and I have seen young players who struggle but have the talent, “get it” with time. I give chances and second chances if need be.

        • LongTimeFan1
          December 2, 2018 at 9:42 am

          I don’t get the Rosario bashing either. He hasn’t even begun his age 23 season.

          What he did in 2018 was improve. For instance, 18/24 steals in the second half, improved plate discipline, improved triple-slash. That growth will continue in 2019.

          I’m expecting 15 homers, 30-35 2B, 8-10 3B, SLG in the 400’s, OPS in the 700’s, Batting average in the 260’s or better. OBP in the .320’s or higher. 30-40 steals.

          In other words, incremental improvement and then more in 2020.

          • December 2, 2018 at 9:35 am

            It’s not bashing I think he’ll be good but he shouldn’t hit at the top of the lineup until he vastly improves his obp

  5. December 2, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Gus if that Kluber rumor becomes reality we need to walk away from this ownership. They can’t be that stupid? Can they? I know we have cheap ownership. No choice but to accept that. But being stupid too? God help us. Depressed already and we’ve barely started the off season

  6. Mike Walczak
    December 2, 2018 at 7:31 am

    This is just a first step in Van Wagenens master plan. We have to let the cards play out. He has a strategy that obviously the Wilpons liked that will play out over at least five years.

    I am happy about it. You can look at all of this with all kinds of metrics and analytics, but it’s also for better or worse part of the fun of the game.

    Yeah, let’s get Kluber. Let’s take the barrel, turn it upside down and shake it up. To me it’s fun and a lot better than Alderson”s approach. Alderson shopped in the garbage dump and we paid the price.

    Let’s remember, 1986 was 32 years ago. Even our 86 legends are getting old. I am glad that he is rocking the boat. These changes may turn out poorly, but I’d rather have this than signing horrible players.

    I am glad that Bruce is gone. I sincerely hope that Vargas is next.

    Let’s go Mets.

    • TexasGusCC
      December 2, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Ike, I’m not knocking the trade on players, I’m knocking the mentality. If you leave out the $20MM – asked for by the team that was #7 in revenue last year – these losers don’t need to give up a good young prospect. That’s my only point. I can’t believe another large market team would do it.

      The Yankees asked for nothing with Stanton, and got him for mediocre prospects.

  7. Joseph Bonfiglio
    December 2, 2018 at 7:51 am

    The Cano deal reeks of Roberto Alomar, and you all know how that went.

  8. LongTimeFan1
    December 2, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Bad enough we’re losing Kelenic which is terrible decision.

    Now they want to trade Nimmo for a 30-something pitcher. Brodie’s nuts if he does this or trades Nimmo, period. Not acceptable. It’s raping the fan base of homegrown favorites this franchise rarely produces.

  9. MattyMets
    December 2, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Great metaphor. I thought it was a bold, outside the box move at the start. But as it evolve it seemed like DiPoto was calling the shots. Shouldn’t the GM taking on the big bad contract have the leverage? Especially with the no trade clause.

  10. Chris F
    December 2, 2018 at 10:02 am

    This move gives us a few bits of information about the new FO that we needed to know.

    1. This is definitely Brodie van Wheelindealin’s team. Alderson is out as are his plans.

    evaluation: this is great news IMO. I think Alderson was terrible at nearly all aspects of being GM.

    2. Win Now!

    evaluation: No reader here would think I value this much, because I am (and still am) a believer this team needed to be rethought from the bottom up, and the top down. Im luke warm over the approach, but if this becomes a new look team and not being fed the same slop Alderson offered I may come around. This move says more is coming. Corollary thought that must be running though the new FO: Prospects are cool, parades are cooler.

    3. Can this be viewed as Diaz for Kelenic/Dunn/Bautista and Bruce/Swarzak for Cano?

    evaluation: Ive been trying to find a way see how this most benefits the Mets by shuffling the players going each way. I wasn’t a huge supporter of Kelenic on draft day, but he showed the kind of stuff you want in the system with a real chance to impact the team down the road…in a rebuild, he’s who you want, maybe to the point of building around. If Diaz turns into Kimbrel, I think you have to like how the next few years are gonna go. I read that BVW was clearly impacted by the outcome of deGrom games this season and was not sending JdG out there without a quality end piece. If this adds say 7 wins to deGrom alone it could be huge. Cano for Bruce and Swarzak. Dumping both mattered from several angles: roster spot, salary, position blocking. In return we get a middle infielder better than anyone we’ve put out there in ages and a lock for a > .800 OPS for a couple year at least. BVW is a big Cano fan having constructed (and now taking responsibility for??) Cano’s deal. McNeil is playing 3B now, and I like that if he keeps on hitting (but there is doubt on that). Its a lot of money, but if money is no object, then…
    Overall its not making me thrilled, but Im ready to keep seeing what van Wheelindealin does next, and it better be more.

    • December 2, 2018 at 10:13 am

      In one way, I admire your desire to be optimistic about this transaction.

      But I can’t decide if I’m more shocked about your willingness to support this “win now” approach or more shocked that you’re not slamming Cano for being a drug cheat.

      • TJ
        December 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

        Brian,
        It seems that Chris and I have a similar take. I don’t want to speak for him, but I want to point out that looking at the trade from the BVW point of view is not necessarily a desire to be optimistic. It may be more of a desire to be objective.

        The PED thing is very troubling and blemishes a great player, but frankly I just don’t know where to go with it. No way to condone it, but it’s in the game now and likely forever, the game tries to police it, and unless I abandon interest in the game it is something that has to be accepted begrudgingly. It adds risk to the player, but we’ll never know the true role it will play on his age 36-40 seasons, regardless of his performance.

        Lastly, I don’t know of anyone that thinks the Wilpons are good owners. But to some degree, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. With its starters and some core pieces, relative to NL East competitors, they are on the fence of contending or selling. To contend, they will have to part with some prospects as well as some money, both on current payroll and with the risk of future “dead” monney. Big market teams do this, some more wisely than others. We need to see the rest of the executed plan here.

        • December 2, 2018 at 11:09 am

          My opinion is that it’s 100% justifiable to “go for it” and I wouldn’t fault the Wilpons for this path.

          I fault anyone for taking on money and giving up the type of prospects they did to get a second baseman owed $120 million for his age 36-40 seasons and a reliever – no matter how much I like the reliever.

          It makes no difference what comes next – this was a bad trade. Someone made the comparison to trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. That Kazmir didn’t have the career that he could have does not make up for the fact that it was a bad deal. If the Mets had shopped him around, they could have gotten a better trade. But they were so focused on getting Zambrano that they didnt’ do that. My opinion is that the Mets were so focused on getting Cano/Diaz that they didn’t maximize the return for Kelenic/Dunn.

          And if BVW offered that duo to every club in the majors and this was the best return offered – the only logical thing to do would have been to hold onto them.

          • TJ
            December 2, 2018 at 2:19 pm

            Brian,
            I guess we’ll disagree here. The trade clearly looks like and overpay for the Mets, but I can’t jusdge it in a vacuum. It is way more rational to justify an overpay when if aligns a team to be an objectively legitimate shot at winning the division. So, if an overpay plus the remainder of the offseason leaves the Mets as a consensus 85 win team vs. divisional competitors at 90+, that differs greatly from a final product with the Mets as a consensus 90+ team within a game or two of all divisional rivals. To me it doesn’t matter if the overpay is on the first deal or the last, but I admit doing it on the first deal increases the overall risk.

            • TexasGusCC
              December 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm

              TJ, if I’m reading Brian’s comment correctly, and since I’m of the same mindset, I believe we aren’t opposed to the targeted players. What we oppose was wanting some measly funds back and thus costing a blue chip prospect. That’s where we feel the foolishness lies.

              • December 2, 2018 at 6:33 pm

                Since there seems to be doubt on your part, let me clear it up.

                In no way, shape or form would I target a guy (a 2B!!) who is under contract for five years starting at age 36.

                I would accept him as a handcuff for acquiring Diaz but I would want so much more financial relief coming back (or fewer prospects going out) than what they got.

            • December 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm

              With the severely reduced money coming back to the Mets, there’s nothing in this deal that makes a subsequent move easier. Whatever move they make after this deal – they could have done without this trade. Therefore it’s my opinion that you can very easily judge it in a vacuum.

              If the Mets make two killer trades after this one – it doesn’t make this a good one.

              • TJ
                December 2, 2018 at 10:57 pm

                I agree with you on that point – the subsequent moves won’t make this one good or bad. But, they can make it more tolerable.

                I agree as well that the Mets should have gotten back more in money or given less in prospects.

                But, on April 1, if the Mets over/under is 92, I will be much more accepting of this deal than if the over/under is 85.

      • Chris F
        December 2, 2018 at 10:49 am

        I guess I have remnant positive feelings about dumping Alderson and not hiring Ricco as GM. That the Alderson years are over is clear, and for that, I am happy to no end. I viewed Sandy-ball as anachronistic to a fault; I completely detested his approach and demeanor. That said, I preferred Bloom by some distance in the GM hire. Im not excited about “win now” in the least unless the team has a string of new faces that represents a significant shuffle and does not “bring back the band” (Familia, Murphy, Mejia,…etc) of failed could-have-beens.

        As for the Cano doping. Im not happy there in the least. This is not a trade I make at all. He denied doping all along yet he’s popped for a masking agent for which he does not have a TUE for actual medical purposes. He’s a cheater plain and simple. And we have seen, the Mets don’t care about outside the lines behavior.

        I’ll make clear. I am ok with dangling *anyone* on the team as long as the team really improves. I don’t think this team is close to winning with band-aids. Kelenic needed to bring an MLB every day player, not a reliever.

        But its what we got. If this is “it” then Im completely o-u-t on this.

  11. Joe F
    December 2, 2018 at 10:13 am

    This is two deals wrapped into one. Cano+$ for Bruce and Swarzak, which gives the Mets the better player for the next two years and a little more cash to work with in 19. The last three years will cost the Mets more money and presumably a Cano decline, but that will be after Ces and Wright are off the books, so they can absorb it. This side of the deal has upside on the front and downside on the back, but definitely makes Mets better in 19 and 20.

    The second trade is Diaz for the three prospects and given the need for closer which would cost about the difference between the Cano side of the trade and 4 years of control, I can live with giving up a solid prospect in Dunn, a huge prospect in Kelenic, who is at least 3 years away and Nuke LaLouche. I think it helps them get better immediately. Sign two more relievers and a catcher to begin season and then see what Alonso and Ces might contribute and then make any further changes at ASB when needs will become know

  12. TexasGusCC
    December 2, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Brian, my apologies. I came home late last night, saw the article and since it was Saturday assumed it was Dalton’s and gave him the props. Nice job, love the headline.

  13. December 2, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Since 2000 there have been 380 seasons where a 2B has had enough playing time to qualify for the FanGraphs leaderboards. Only 18 seasons came by players 36 and older and only four of those put up an .800 OPS. And three of those were Jeff Kent.

    Biggio didn’t do it. Kinsler didn’t do it. Utley didn’t do it.

    Biggio went from an .835 OPS at age 35 to a .734 mark at age 36 and the Astros responded by moving him off 2B.

    Through age 35, Utley had a 124 OPS+ (Cano has a 127 OPS+) and at age 36 he put up a .629 OPS and never again exceeded a .728 mark.

    Kinsler’s seen his OPS go from .831 to .725 to .681

    If we lower the threshold to 400 PA, we get 29 2B age 36 or older and two more join the .800 OPS club – 2006 Jose Valentin and 2008 Ray Durham. In ’07 Valentin fell to a .676 OPS in his final season in the majors. Durham never played in the majors again.

    Is it possible that Cano could join the .800 OPS at age 36 and up list? Yes, absolutely. But to label him “a lock for a > .800 OPS for a couple year at least,” is a bit of an exaggeration.

    • Chris F
      December 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

      I wonder if BVW sees Cano as a Ben Zobrist type the will still be a catalyst even in the hard dark days.

      • December 2, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Zobrist is the only other player to put up an .800+ OPS at age 36 or above. Of course, Zobrist played more games in the outfield than he did at 2B last year.

      • Eric Bloom
        December 2, 2018 at 11:33 am

        I think he sees McNeil as the Zobrist type.

        • Chris F
          December 2, 2018 at 11:53 am

          I mean in age and ultimate versatility. Cano will have to fill in wherever he can in age 38-40 seasons to keep getting ABs, just like Zobrist.

          I know the trade does not look good Brian. The resounding input from the industry id the Mets “lost” the deal – and by that I mean simply did not get fair value WRT talent, and holding the Ms over the barrel for Cano’s lumbering waste of a contract.

          Suppose this (and I am *not* proposing this will happen): what if by some miracle van Wheelindealin’s bigger picture comes to fruition and the team wins a pennant…and even a WS in the next 3 years, would that make the trade a success?

          • December 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm

            I’ve never been an end justifies the means type of guy.

            And in your hypothetical, you have to differentiate between a WS win because Cano and Davis combined for 10 fWAR and one where they combined for 2.

  14. Mike Walczak
    December 2, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Will Kelenic be a star while we still have deGrom, Syndergaard and Wheeler? He is a prospect and as good as he may look, he may not pan out. Sure, I hate to see him go, but it is all a crap shoot.

    Winning teams have to be a mix of young talent and established stars. That’s how free agency has changed the game. It is not just looking at today, but looking three to four years down the road. Cespedes and his salary and aching feet will be gone in two years.

    But, I also still lament and question the Dykstra and McDowell trade for, ouch, Juan Samuel. If we trade Nimmo for Kluber and sign a high profile free agent and trade Syndergaard for a haul of prospects, that will fill the pipeline back up.

  15. December 2, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Brian….did the Mariners change the deal, or is it just the reporting of the Money that has changed( 20 million versus 60)?

    In a deal this big, I want to be very, very excited about the Players. That’s apart from the Money. I don’t like the deal…I don’t like the Headliners we’re getting….. I’d rather sign a Reliever or Two and save the assets—and that includes Bruce and Swarzak, as well as the minor Leaguers.

    I hate this deal.

    • December 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      Initial reporting by Martino had the Mets getting $60 million. Then reports started leaking out that it was going to be for fewer dollars. And now it’s down to $20 million.

      • Name
        December 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        Most likely it was always 20 mil. The 60 mil number comes from adding the 20 mil plus Bruce’s 28 mil and Swarzak’s 8.5

        • December 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm

          “The boatload of cash (roughly $60 mil, and separately unloading Bruce and Swarzak) is a dramatic update to this deal. Baseball folks who hated it last night are like, oh ok, that’s a lot of cash”

          https://twitter.com/martinonyc/status/1068522208471838721

          • Name
            December 2, 2018 at 2:47 pm

            I think the Mariner’s originally wanted McNeil. If so, did Brodie really concede 40 mil in cash in exchange for swapping out McNeil with Bautista?

            • December 2, 2018 at 6:31 pm

              I like McNeil and hope he gets 500+ PA in 2019. Having said that, I’d rather have dealt him than Kelenic and no way should removing him from the deal should result in $40 million fewer dollars.

              • Name
                December 2, 2018 at 7:18 pm

                I still think that Seattle never offered 60 mil and that there was (intentional?) miscommunication or misunderstanding between the leaker/source and the media.

                So either he’s terrible at trade valuation or he’s the worst negotiator in the world for agreeing to such a reduction. Lose-lose situation for Mets fans.

  16. steevy
    December 2, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Terrible trade,I find myself hoping something keeps it from happening.I was not a fan of hiring Van Wagenem but I was willing to give him a chance to convince me it was a goid hire.This is an awful,awful start.

  17. Mike Walczak
    December 2, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Lets see what the Mets record is at the end of October next year.

  18. Name
    December 2, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    I praised Brodie when he released Mejia but it’s now obvious he didn’t do it for ethical reasons. Acquiring the filthy cheater Cano makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t care that we’ve invested millions into him, i will root hard for him fail and i hope he has a miserable end to his career.

    Even if you don’t consider the ethical portion, the trade makes little sense. The net on Cano’s contract comes out to 63.5 mil over the next 5 years, and if we use Kimbrel as a comp for Diaz, he’ll get around 40 mil of the next 4 years, so maybe 105 mil between the 2 of them.

    Kimbrel is likely to get something closer to Melancon than Jansen/Chapman, but let’s assume the higher end and give him 5/80. Then we could probably overpay Murphy for 3/45 for a total commitment of 125 mil, which is 20 mil more than Cano/Diaz and also slightly older, but then you wouldn’t have to give up 2 top prospects, a tradeoff most anyone would take. And that’s a worst case because Kimbrel more likely goes for 70 mil and Murphy probably 30 or less.

    Like you said, the trade seemed a lot more palatable when it was 60 mil cash instead of 20 mil, where they could have come up with other comparable options that don’t involve giving up top prospects and selling your soul to the devil

    • TexasGusCC
      December 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Name, I wish you were the GM instead.

      A Joan Paxton-like knee jerk reaction. And Keith Law looks better and better everyday: #LOLMets

      Why don’t you apply for the new hire position they have in their analytical department? As a former credit analyst, I know you know your stuff. But who know how little it probably pays… They probably want a college kid that would just like to be there.

  19. December 3, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Bruce and Swarzak salaries=about $35 million….. add the $20 million….. $55million. So, maybe I look at Cano as 10-55= $65million over 5 years=$13m/per

    Diaz is a tremendous asset, and cheap. If I look at Dunn, Bautista, and Kelenic, they are lottery tickets…nice ones, but lottery tickets.

    The reality of FA’s is carrying the dead end—the back of the contract. This is in exchange for the front end.

    I hope for a RH Bat…Todd at 3rd? This is also heavily leveraged against “Somebody” taking that 1b job.

    The bench starts with McNeil—a tremendous upgrade versus last year’s bench. Will it also include Chechinni?…maybe Marwyn Gonzalez—he still checks lots of Boxes.

    They’ve really dumped a large portion of their tradeables and growable players.

    Moving this many parts— I believe they solved some problems…but I don’t like it. Cano is not a team maker—maybe Diaz is.

  20. December 3, 2018 at 8:33 am

    On Cano: I meant to write that he’s 120million, less the 35million in jay and swarzak salaries and the 20 million in Money— 120-55=65million over 5

  21. Chris F
    December 3, 2018 at 9:06 am

    The trade to actually acquire Cano remains insane to me. Id rather have Bruce and Swarzak doing literally nothing rather than have Cano, a confirmed cheater. I keep trying to see the plus here. I dont want him even at 12.7M$/yr. I dont want him because hes a doper. We dont need a second baseman.

    BVW seems to be blinded by his own love for a player he once represented. If this is true, and he has not listened to his own evaluators, we have to be concerned.

    I dont want Kluber for Nimmo either.

    • December 3, 2018 at 9:20 am

      I fear that this offseason may be deteriorating into which idea is worse.

      I don’t want to trade Nimmo for Kluber, either. But a gun to my head, I’d rather do that one than trade Syndergaard for prospects to turn around and sign a FA pitcher.

      • Chris F
        December 3, 2018 at 9:30 am

        agreed.

        It will be fascinating how BVW spins this at the presser today.

      • Mike Walczak
        December 3, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Maybe they will trade for Kluber and not trade Syndergaard. That would be an awesome staff. But, and that is a big but, you will need to replace Nimmo.

  22. Charles Hangley
    December 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    There’s a wacky conspiracy theory floating around that Wags knows Cano is back on the juice and that if he gets nailed again, the Mets won’t have to pay him.

    Note, I said “wacky…”

    • Chris F
      December 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      or maybe no so much. Like killing that first cockroach, you are kidding yourself if you think there’s “only one” in the kitchen. Just because he got caught doping does not mean it was the first time he *was* doping. In fact of all the pro athletes that get caught virtually none of them are popped the first time. It is much more accurate to assert that he had been doping for some time prior to being busted, and that he still is.

      In this game, dopers are far far ahead of testers. Not getting caught is relatively simple, and that has been demonstrated repeatedly.

  23. MattyMets
    December 3, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    I’ve turned this trade over and over in my head and read all of your comments, all the blogs and articles and listened to all the podcasts. I was intrigued by the early rumored iteration of this deal where we we’re getting Cano, Diaz, Mallex Smith and $60mm and not giving up Kelinek. I think even Brian would have gone for that version. I just don’t understand how BVW gave up the leverage. As one of the only teams Cano would waive his no trade clause for, the Mets should have been able to call the shots. Maybe that first iteration was a bit lopsided, but we either should have gotten a lot more cash, not had to give up two top prospects or gotten back an outfielder like Smith or Haniger.

    I want to give BVW a chance. I love some of the front office and coaching moves he made. However, I don’t understand the d’Arnaud decision and I’m not at all on board with trading Nimmo or Syndergaard. BVW has a long checklist ahead – both in acquiring needed players and negotiating contracts with several current players. Acquiring a catcher, outfielder and another reliever (at least) may have to be done through free agency as we don’t have a lot of trade chips remaining. Trading Nimmo or Syndergaard just opens up another hole that won’t be easy to fill.

    Hypothetically, would adding Grandal, Miller and Brantley make us a 90+ win team? Would the Wilsons even dream of letting BVW spend $50mm aav on FAs?

    • TexasGusCC
      December 4, 2018 at 12:39 am

      Matt, you saw how Seattle took Santana’s whole contract to get JP Crawford while giving up Segura.

      If the Mets said to the Mariners, “we’ll take Cano’s entire contract but we want Díaz”, no sending Bruce or Swarzak just Cano and Diaz, what do you think Seattle wants back? Is Dunn enough?

      ARod was on with Francesca on Friday saying Cano is in fabulous shape and has a bazooka for an arm. ARod has taken grounders with Cano at third and he feels Cano can win a gold glove there; meaning next year Giminez could be at 2B. Too, I read from a sportscaster that the Mariners told the Mets to pick two prospects to protect, and the Mets picked Alonso and Giminez. So, naturally, Seattle took the #3 guy. Assuming the Mariners were dictating terms because the Phils were in on Cano, at this point, who would you rather have Segura or Cano?

      • Name
        December 4, 2018 at 12:55 am

        You’d still have to be nuts to want that.
        Cano is at 120 mil. Diaz is probably going to cost around 25 mil in arbitration, 30 mil if you think he’s the best thing since sliced bread.

        Would you pay $145 mil for 5 years of Cano and 4 years of Diaz combined on the open market? Plus give away a prospect for the privilege of overpaying?

        • TexasGusCC
          December 4, 2018 at 2:07 am

          I see your point Name. In the open market, if Cano could be valued at 5/60 (I think he would get it) and Diaz should be about 4/60, then sending Bruce evens it out. This saves Seattle $92MM, but admittedly, I’m not satisfied if I’m Seattle. I want something to show my fans. What would you give to get two present all-stars that are about 20% above market value, but I’m taking back a contract about 60% above market value in Bruce? Bruce plus, what?

          I must admit that I am literally bummed out over this deal. Getting Cano doesn’t bother me, it’s how they did it. This is a big market team that could have flexed its muscle to get two good pieces and instead acted like they were a small to mid market team; like they always do.

          The Mets got so played by idiots. What does that tell you?

          • December 4, 2018 at 9:47 am

            No one in their right mind gives a 36 yo 2B a five-year contract. Last year Brandon Phillips was a free agent at 36. He signed a minor league deal.

          • Name
            December 4, 2018 at 9:55 am

            I can’t see how you come to the 5/60 valuation. The best contracts i can find for a 2b since Cano signed his deal in 2013 are

            2013 Omar Infante (32) – 4/30
            2015 Utley (37) – 1/7
            2015 Murphy (31) – 3/37.5
            2016 Walker (31) 1/17.2
            2016 Utley (38) – 1/2
            2017 Utley (39) – 2/2
            2017 Walker (32) – 1/4

            I think in the open market, he would probably only command 2 years, let’s say 14 mil, and if you had to tack on 3 more years, the money would have to be low, maybe something like 4 mil, and it’s not like they’d be jumping for joy doing it, making it 5/40 total.

            It’s silly to consider the Mariner’s fans pov. This is a team that won 89 games last year and has the same crew coming back. There is no reason for them to have a fire sale other than to guarantee themselves job security by having a fire sale. GMs only get fired when they try to win and fail, or when they lose for a long time, not in the first few years of a rebuild.

  24. TexasGusCC
    December 4, 2018 at 2:58 am

    To make the bellyflop be from even higher up, check this out:

    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-phillies-were-jean-seguras-entire-market/

    I’m sure the market for a 36 year old second baseman with an immovable contract and a no trade clause was robust. I hope their press conference is as rediculous as this trade.

  25. Chris F
    December 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Does anyone feel any different about this trade and the Mets posture after today’s presser?

    Kelenic was a requirement for Diaz. Phillies were closing in on Diaz. The Mets do not believe masking agents are proof of doping.

    …all interesting…

    • December 4, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      From MetsBlog:

      “When asked about parting with top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, Van Wagenen explained landing Cano and Diaz was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

      “The opportunity to go fill two primary needs was paramount in trying to get this deal done,” he said. “And we were willing to make those sacrifices.”

      I wouldn’t have considered second base a primary need. Wouldn’t have considered it a secondary need. Wouldn’t have considered it a tertiary need. Might have considered it a quaternary need. More likely a quinary need.

      • steevy
        December 4, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        He is either blowing smoke or he is a dummy.I’ll leave it up to you all which…

      • TexasGusCC
        December 4, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        The only “logic” I can come up with is the “Win now for Fred” mantra they have been on. Meantime, the Phillies had to live with not getting ripped off and a ton of high end relievers available on the market.

    • TexasGusCC
      December 4, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Chris, presser? My best friend put it best: “Would you watch thaaaat?” I told him I won’t even read the articles after it. Makes me wonder why I’m so emotionally involved with this team and actually thought a light would come on eventually. Where was Minaya in all this?

      It’s not a disaster, per se, but why must we live with the ones who always want to recreate the wheel? I’m trying to put as much optimism as I possibly can into it, and Name won’t let me! LOL!

  26. December 6, 2018 at 5:10 am

    BVW on with Francessa— start listening at 100:50 thru 101:55

    101:28–“we have to do more…we’re gonna win this year”

    101:35 “we’ve gotta win a lot more games this year”

    101:40 “we’re not trying to build models to get into a wild card game and take our chances.”

    101:44 “we’re here to win divisions….we’re here to win Championships”

    And Finally!!! “The Mets” have said The C Word!!!!!

    Championship!

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