Sometimes the best deals are the ones that never were, and sometimes teams are left kicking themselves for not shelling out extra to close a deal. The 2018-2019 offseason was an incredible failure of potentially gigantic proportions, however the front office will now be judged on how they handle the pending trade deadline and offseason. With that in mind, a look at the 2019 performances of a few players who were linked to Mets can offer valuable insight to how the Mets may handle 2019 and sets a framework for the club moving forward.
Yasmani Grandal – Grandal is known for turning down a 4 year, $60 million offer from the Mets for a 1 year, $16 million deal with the Brewers. The 30 year old catcher owns a .873 OPS and 3.2 fWAR so far on the season and is undoubtedly outperforming Mets acquisition Wilson Ramos. At this stage it seems as though the Mets will be stuck with Ramos for the 2020 season. However it is interesting to note that former agent Brodie VanWagenen was not able to identify the importance of AAV to Grandal and structure a different deal to meet his request.
J.T. Realmuto – Realmuto was the final piece of the Marlins talented core to be traded away as part of their rebuild. The Marlins, who had received negative attention for their return on their former outfielders, were open to trading Realmuto to the Mets and were supposedly asking for either Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo or Amed Rosario. The Mets clearly valued all three players more than Realmuto, who was eventually traded to the rival Phillies. He owns a .755 OPS and 2.8 fWAR on the season
Marwin Gonzalez – Gonzalez signed a two year, $21 million contract with the Minnesota Twins during the offseason who have enjoyed his versatility, solid bat and plus-defense. Gonzalez had moderate success with the Houston Astros for seven seasons, playing a multitude of infield and outfield positions. In 2019 he owns a 16.6 UZR/150 in the OF and 19.0 UZR/150 at 3B with a .744 OPS at the plate. The Mets elected to trade for utility man J.D. Davis instead of signing Gonzalez which has paid dividends on offense, although the Mets could certainly use an improvement on the defensive side of the game.
A.J. Pollock – Pollock signed a five year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers, who also sacrificed a compensation draft pick as a result. Pollock landed on the Injured List after a shaky start to the season and has just recently resumed play with the major league club. The outfielder owns a .267/.329/.444 slash line on the season and has started all of his games in center field with a -2.6 UZR. The Mets elected to sign a plethora of veteran journeymen to minor league contracts instead of shelling out for one of the higher profile free agents of the offseason which has turned out to be a good move.
Adam Ottavino – The Mets were interested in signing Ottavino who broke out with the Colorado Rockies last year. The reliever ended up signing with their crosstown rivals for three years, $27 million. Met fans will recall that Jeurys Familia signed for 3 years, $30 million. Ottavino has been fantastic so far this year with a 1.62 ERA and 12.6 K/9 over 44.1 innings.
As a former agent, it is a bit surprising that Brodie VanWagenen failed as much as he did in closing deals and identifying talent. It is known that the Mets were very aggressive in their discussions for Realmuto, which this writer was a huge fan of. The group of Realmuto, Gonzalez and Ottavino have played to a total of 5 fWAR on the year which is six times greater than a combination of Ramos, Rosario and Familia. Who knows how much more significant this could be considering that Tomas Nido has started his fair share of games for the Mets’ aces. The Mets General Manager should be given time to acclimate to the organization and his new role, which gives him the benefit of the doubt to learn and make constructive adjustments to his offseason approach. There isn’t much to like about how a club in a major market would not make a major splash, instead choosing to shop at Kohls instead of Gucci. It will be interesting to see how the trade deadline develops for newly constructed front office.