The New York Mets’ offseason has been full of more rumors than major transactions, but it sure seems like that will be changing soon enough.
New general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has reportedly agreed to a trade that everyone in the New York media has been talking about for what feels like weeks. You know the details, but here it is one more time:
Full deal is Diaz, Cano and $20M to #Mets for Bruce, Swarzak, Kelenic, Dunn and Bautista. Mets will pay Cano 5 yrs $63M once subtract how much owe Bruce/Swarzak plus $20M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 2, 2018
This is probably not the kind of first major acquisition many of us were picturing for BVW and his rapidly changing front office, but here we are. In a vacuum, this deal may not make much sense to some. After all, it’s not as if the Mets were just an elite closer away from being a playoff contender.
Sure, manager Mickey Callaway watched his group bounce back after a horrific month of June, but New York still finished fourth in the National League East with a 77-85 record.
And when it came to the future outlook (and spending capacity) of the teams that finished in front of them, a path toward contention seemed difficult. That’s exactly why Van Wagenen was tabbed as the Mets’ newest front-office leader — he didn’t want to rebuild and had some creative ideas behind how the organization could get back to winning ways.
It’s important to view this as just step one of a number of deals BVW and friends plan on making, as the New York Post‘s Mike Puma points out:
Mets people seem impressed with Van Wagenen's energy and creativity. As somebody told me today, it's not "Let's make this move and then see what happens from there." It's more like, 'We'll do this, and once that happens we'll go to this. If that doesn't work we'll do this."
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) November 30, 2018
This trade alone isn’t going to give the Mets a chance to get back to October, but it’s the first in a series of changes that will eventually get them there. At least, that’s what the front office is hoping for.
Reports are saying the next step in this offseason roster overall could be trading Noah Syndergaard. And just hours after we were still trying to digest that, news dropped that Wilmer Flores was getting non-tendered.
From a fan perspective, I wasn’t necessarily excited to hear either piece of news because I like having them on the team I root for. I’ve watched them play close to every night (or every five days) for a number of years, so in a weird way, they feel like family (and I’m not the best when it comes to change). As I was trying to sort out these feelings, Wayne Randazzo summed it up perfectly:
Change can be uncomfortable. You just have to hope it comes with champagne on the other end of it. #Mets
— Wayne Randazzo (@WayneRandazzo) November 30, 2018
Truer words have never been spoken. In a perfect world, I’d like these guys (and others I’ve grown attached to) to stick around. You know what I’m tired of, though? Watching basically the same team take the field and get the same subpar results because the biggest hope is that everyone can stay healthy, which is an unrealistic expectation in today’s game.
Although the Mets experienced on-field success not too long ago, it hasn’t been because of what they’ve accomplished over the offseason. If we take a look at what they’ve done the last few winters (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, all courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors), not many headlines were grabbed.
Only two players were signed to major deals: Curtis Granderson (four years, $60 million) and Yoenis Cespedes (three years at $75 million with the opt-out before his current four-year, $110 million deal). What’s happened in recent years is exactly why everyone always moans and groans about how little New York spends in the game’s biggest media market.
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Mets are truly being bold (not counting the midseason acquisition of Cespedes in 2015). Giving up players we’ve come to admire and prospects who have promise isn’t easy, but you have to give up something you love to get something you want (a chance at a championship). It’s taking some creativity, and at the end of the day, this all may crash and burn. That’s the risk Van Wagenen and his front office is willing to take, but I don’t blame them for trying based on what the recent results have been like.
When it comes to teams who want to win right now, these kinds of risks have to be taken. The Milwaukee Brewers gave up a number of top talent to bring Christian Yelich into the fold, and that’s worked out well so far. This is obviously just one positive example, but it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy — you know what you’re going to get if you don’t try, so you might as well give it your best shot.
Regardless of the actual deal, I’m just glad the Mets are doing something different and making it known that they’re going for it. I like hearing them included in trade or free-agent rumors and finally not thinking it’s complete bologna (although it took until reportedly acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz for me to be convinced).
It’s been quite a while since the Mets have given off that feeling of having some “sizzle.” The result could be great and it could be terrible once the dust settles, but I’m happy to know there’s a different process in place while we wait and see.