Brodie Van Wagenen has trade chips

Brodie Van Wagenen has hit the ground running as the new Mets GM, with a headline grabbing trade and several free agent signings. If the season began today, the team would be better than the one that took the field the past two seasons. But if the organization is serious about being in “win now mode,” there’s clearly more work that needs to be done to shape this roster into a playoff contender.

Van Wagenen has said that “ifs” don’t translate to wins and any Mets fan that’s followed this team closely these past few years can certainly get on board with that sentiment. To address this, the Mets will need to add depth in a number of areas. The 40-man roster needs fewer aging veterans, reclamation projects and AAAA players and a few more versatile arms and bats who can step in and step up when needed.

With the additions made thus far, the Mets are already looking at an increased payroll, so we can likely forget more than maybe one more mid-tier free agent signing. According to some reports, the Mets are already up $15 million over last year’s opening day payroll, but there are a lot of variables, such as our mysterious operating budget and how much of David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes salaries will be covered by insurance and how much will count toward payroll and also how much of Robinson Cano‘s salary is allocated. It appears ownership is smitten with their new front office leader. Jeff Wilpon thinks Van Wagenen is the bee’s knees and Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz aren’t getting any younger. They’re not happy with the way the last few seasons played out and they’re anxious to get back to winning too.

One thing everyone here can agree on is that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are not coming to Queens. The Mets have never given out a contract even half what those two are commanding. There are plenty of other available free agents, but if the Mets have room in their budget for just one more, the guy who really screams “sign me” is Marwin Gonzalez. The switch-hitting Swiss Army knife has played every position except pitcher and catcher. Gonzalez has hit for power and average and can provide depth in the infield and outfield. This signing checks a lot of boxes, but not quite all of them.

If the Mets can’t get Gonzalez, they at least need a solid outfielder – either someone who can also play infield or someone on a short-term commitment to make way for Cespedes at mid-season (or next season). Additionally, the roster is missing a solid lefty in the bullpen, another bench bat, and more pitching depth. The current 40-man roster has a lot of possibilities – guys with potential, guys who can compete for roster spots and guys who might someday be contributors. The list is led by a dozen hard-throwing, right-handed twenty somethings who have yet to prove they belong in the show. Surely they can audition in spring training for a few roster spots, but, perhaps a few of them could be used as trade chips, along with one of our three back-up catchers, and two former top prospects without an obvious role on the team – Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith.

A package from among that group won’t land us an all-star, but these types of low-cost, high upside players are valued by rebuilding teams, some of whom may have a quality relief pitcher, outfielder or bench bat to spare. Van Wagenen lamented earlier in the off-season that creating a new hole to fill another hole doesn’t solve a problem. Sensibly, he seems to have moved on from the notion of trading Noah Syndergaard or two of our building blocks for a catcher we’re all sick of hearing about. The sensible moves for Van Wagenen to make next involve one more free agent signing and then a couple of shrewd trades. He’s got the chips.

19 comments for “Brodie Van Wagenen has trade chips

  1. TexasGusCC
    January 4, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Matt, everyone has righty twenty-somethings that throw hard in their system; it’s all people draft today. Too, the Mets system wasn’t ranked 29th for nothing, and that was before trading away two guys that I’ve blocked from my memory.

    BVW’s trade chips are Plawecki, Giminez, Alfonso, and McNeil, that’s it. No one else is close enough or is possibly expendable. But with over 200 free agents still out there, he doesn’t need to trade anyone. He can sign Herrera or Ottavino, he can sign Jon Jay, Cameron Maybin or Carlos Gonzalez as a rather affordable outfielder, and if you like Swiss Army knives, sign Romine or Solarte. All this can be had for about $12-$15MM of which it seems the Mets have and fits into your wish list.

    Of course, Captain Spotlight is still available…

    • MattyMets
      January 4, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Other than Marwin Gonzalez and the two guys out of our price range, no other FA bat entices me. The OFs you mentioned provide depth and Lagares injury insurance but don’t really add anything to the offense. If we don’t get Marwin I think we have to look to trades. Castellanos is intriguing. I know his defense stinks but that right handed bat on a one year deal could help plug the Cespedes hole. That’s my biggest concern with this team as it stands – more than depth, it’s balancing this lineup with another righty power bat. Ramos helps, but he and a hopefully healthy Frazier don’t replace Cespedes and Flores. Unless Alfonso is awesome right out of the gate our righties are all either injury prone or have no power.

      We can probably still plug the pitching holes through FA, but there are other options in trade. For instance the Rangers’ Mike Minor, the O’s Eichard Bleier, the DBacks’ TJ McFarland and Andrew Chafin…

      • TexasGusCC
        January 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm

        I’m surprised that several people haven’t jumped down your throat for using the F-name. Seems he was pretty useless and then the Wilpon stooges just splattered everywhere that he has arthritic knees; Justin Turner was lazy; Murphy wasn’t worth investing in….

        As for Castellanos, hard to argue with his value, but Detroit is demanding and the cupboard is pretty bare.

  2. January 4, 2019 at 10:57 am

    I agree with Gus. Also, given what BVW did in his first trade, I’m not especially eager to see him do another just quite yet.

  3. Chris F
    January 4, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Gus is absolutely correct.

    You could pile up all the righty arms (who have yet to prove they can pitch in the pros), Cheech (who is a bench at best guy), and Smith (who has become so devalued that a team wouldnt tie down the roster spot to have him) and that’s not worth a single major leaguer. At best its a bucket of batting practice balls.

    The trade value this team has as I see it:
    Nimmo, Conforto, Alonso, Gimenez, McNeil, pitching

  4. JimO
    January 4, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Sign Harper and we’ll all be eating strawberries.

  5. Rick
    January 4, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Late last night I was listening to WFAN and there’s one radio personality that said the exact same things I said. I’m not impressed with the trades thus far and additions. They’re mostly all on the wrong side of 30+ There are many players out there we could have had or should have but the Coupons won’t spend. We were promised great improvements and a winning team now. Didn’t happen yet and it’s not going to. All I’ve seen is just more of the same thing we’ve seen for the past several years. Talk, talk, talk and….nothing. All the players we need and as a big market team, should have….we won’t get. “They don’t fit our style or roster.” We’re a 70-80 win team at best. The NY Cellar Dwellers!

    • Chris F
      January 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      I lean your direction Rick. This team is getting older not younger.

      The only steep improvement for ’19 is Diaz, and we all know how mercurial relievers are.

      Familia is treading water. Cabby is just as good as Cano. I believe Ramos is a step up, but I dont see 10+ more wins from Ramos and Diaz. Who knows about health?

      I have never been an advocate of the Alderson mantra that we are “better than our record”, which to me is a whitewash of reality. Surely, if we changed our play, we would need to consider the same for our opponents. Until the sport changes rules and becomes officially ranked on advanced metrics and not Ws and Ls, the record is the record.

      • MattyMets
        January 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm

        Chris F – I’m a huge Cabby fan, but the guy is a coat rack in the infield. Cano is a far better player in every respect, but especially in the field. I’ve seen a number of fans suggest bring Cabby back, but with McNeill and Rivera, I don’t see the need. Get Marwin.

        • Chris F
          January 4, 2019 at 6:51 pm

          Sure, but its possible to get a 0 dWAR out of Cano this year. Even at zero its a step up, I agree with you.

    • MattyMets
      January 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Rick, that’s a bit harsh. I get that not everyone agrees with the long term outlook of the big trade but there’s no question it improved our team in the short term. Diaz, Familia, Ramos and Cano greatly improve us at two positions and at the back end of the bullpen. BVW is not done and neither are most GMs. The hot stove has a long way to go – this is the new normal where rosters are not set until at least ST, if not opening day. If BVW can get Gonzalez and another good bullpen arm I’ll be very satisfied. That would be a team with playoff potential.

      • Rick
        January 4, 2019 at 8:04 pm

        Matty, you may think I’m harsh but I assure you I’m not. Just speaking my thoughts about what I’ve seen and more importantly, not seen. Yes, Diaz is a nice addition but our problem has been and still is, no offense. Look at what happened every time DeGrom pitched…no runs! We were terrible at producing runs, that’s a fact. Ramos is ok but not that much better than what we had and considering Realmuto was/is out there, there’s a major gap in talent between the two. We’re in NY city and we’re acting like a minor league team. not to mention, other teams in our division are getting better and will continue to get better while we sit and count pennies.

  6. January 4, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    The GM took a pay cut to do nothing different than the team has been doing— is that what I’m supposed to believe?

    They have 3-4 power SP’s….a good selection of back end bullpen arms and an impact Closer. They have a Major league Catcher who will provide some offense.

    It’s January 4th, Folks!!! I believe BVW when he says “We’re not Done”…..and the already done transactions cannot be equated to “Doing Nothing…Treading Water”. You cannot pretend that this has been a Sandy Alderson Off Season…and it’s hardly over.

    I expect more moves…I expect them to compete.

  7. TJ
    January 4, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    So, nice conversation and I’ll chip in my two cents…

    The Mets are pretenders until proven otherwise. This is the only rational conclusion given the ownership’s behavior over an extended period of time, and that period of time is now way beyond when they were in financial distress.

    The payroll is most certainly not above the 2018 opening day payroll. That said, there is plenty of time, they have plenty of money, and there are more than enough free agents not named Harper and Machado to improve this roster to the 90-92 win range. Brodie may well be waiting for prices to drop, but talk is cheap. I’ll believe commitment when I see it. They are still the 4th best team in the NL East in spite of the acquisitions.

    I believe they have more trade chips than mentioned above, some of the younger pitchers would be targeted, but they’d be wise to hold these guys and not overpay (again). I like Minor but it needs to be reasonable in prospect cost.

    • Eric Bloom
      January 4, 2019 at 10:29 pm

      Fan graphs has them 2nd behind the Nats at 85-77. Nats at 91 wins.

  8. January 5, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Really now, D.Smith and Cecchini are ‘Chips’..???
    Sure, maybe potato chips !

    No one wants those guys that cannot even make their own team.
    D.Smith has been so far, ruined by the Mets, Gavin with injuries and being moved around all over the place, has also been behind the curve of success.

    They have to remain with the club or at AAA and build back value as assets so then to become “Chips”, and I don’t mean of the potato or nacho cheese type.

    • TJ
      January 5, 2019 at 9:51 am

      Not those guys. Peterson, Kay, Szapucki, Vientos and Mauricio are definitely players that interest others. It is likely that Texas wanted a couple of these for Minor, which was balked at by the Brodie. But the Mets need this group given their system status, so it is time to pony up some Benjamins, fill some holes, and project over 90 wins. If the Nats retain Harper, more likely every day, Brodie will need to make up 10 games.

  9. NYM6986
    January 5, 2019 at 11:18 am

    I believe we have made progress towards improving our offense with Cano and Ramos and hopefully Alonso providing 50% of the offense he did in the minors last year if he makes the big club. The Mets were 23rd last year in runs score and decreased nearly a half a run from 2017. If we can pick up a half or full run a game with our starting staff we will win 10 more games than last year. DeGrom alone would have had ten plus more wins. That means we need one more right handed bat and a lefty in the pen to make the playoffs. We don’t have a lot of good trade chips but Tda and Plawecki are still valuable as backups throughout the league and Smith needs a change of scenario to get back on track. If they spend money on some free agents and start winning, increased attendance will more than foot the bill. Hoping our GM leverages his relationships as a former agent to bring home a few more chips.

  10. Mark
    January 5, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    A lot of good moves have been made ,but yes a few more holes remain . Hope owners will be willing to spend more money to fill those holes .
    The Mets are better than last year but more work needs to be done
    Get it done. Let’s Go Mets !!!

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

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