As the Winter Meetings come to an end, I have a really good feeling about where this offseason is going. Unlike Sandy Alderson, who was always so methodical and had an annoyingly slow and patient approach, I do find Brodie Van Wagenen’s driven, quick-thinking and aggressive approach quite refreshing. I also appreciate Van Wagenen’s tenacity, but at some point you have to be smart enough to know when to let go.
I was a big fan of the deal for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, I felt we significantly upgraded our offense and our bullpen in one fell swoop. It was an incredibly bold move to start the offseason and it strategically addressed two major areas of concern.
Additionally, bringing back Jeurys Familia on a very reasonable three-year deal was a stroke of genius. Having Familia as the setup man to Diaz has resulted in giving the Mets one of the best end game one-two punches in the league.
Not bad considering we had one of the league’s worst bullpens when the season ended. Say what you will about Familia’s postseason hiccups. but the fact remains he’s an elite level reliever and has been one of the best closers in the game over the last three seasons.
So far, the offseason has been very good to us and Van Wagenen has alleviated any fears of inexperience in his new role as general manager.
However, I’m a little concerned about what one rival MLB exec called an “obsession” regarding BVW’s pursuit of Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Look, I really like J.T. Realmuto and would love to have him. But at what price?
We just cant obsess over him and end up making a deal that weakens the team. And swapping Conforto or Nimmo for him weakens the team in my opinion.
Sign Grandal and call it a win.
— Metsmerized Online (@MetsMerized) December 13, 2018
Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually love Realmuto and he was the first name atop my offseason wish list. But at the same time, I’m certainly not willing to overpay for him and I hope the rumors of trading Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo in any deal for Realmuto are completely unfounded.
Unfortunately, from speaking to some people in the know, the rumors are true enough and Van Wagenen is being relentless in his pursuit of Realmuto and despite all the pushback by the Marlins, he is unwilling to let it go.
Believe me, I have no problem overpaying for a difference-maker behind the plate like a Gary Carter or Mike Piazza. But lets be clear that as good as Realmuto is, he’s definitely not in the same class as Carter and Piazza, and he’s clearly not a difference-maker.
No player should be untouchable, but if you’re going to trade one of your young core players, you better make sure it’s for a transformative player that would put the team over the top and I don’t see J.T. Realmuto as that caliber of player.
I would urge Brodie to move onto Plan B, which from most reports appears to be free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal. He gets a bad rap because of a very short sample size during the postseason, but the truth is he would be a significant upgrade over the Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki tandem.
Grandal, 30, is the top catcher available in free agency, and the switch-hitter is coming off another solid offensive campaign, batting .241/.349/.466 with 23 doubles, 22 home runs and 68 RBIs while posting a 125 wRC+ and .815 OPS. Incidentally, that was his third straight season of twenty or more home runs.
On the defensive side of the ball, Grandal is an exceptional backstop and in 2018 Baseball Prospectus tabbed him as the game’s top defensive catcher and he ranked No. 1 in Framing Runs, and is in the top three in every defensive catching metric over the last two seasons.
So, I tip my cap to our new GM for his first two significant moves this offseason, and I hope he continues his hot streak by relinquishing his pursuit of Realmuto and going full bore on Yasmani Grandal. Open up that wallet, Jeff….