The Mets held an event on Monday at Citi Field, where the equipment truck was packed and sent off for St. Lucie. After the event, Mets’ general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen took some questions from the media, which I covered for MMO.
Brodie talked about a number of things, including his active offseason, his excitement for the 2019 season and beyond, the starting rotation and Yoenis Cespedes among others.
Here are five important quick hits we learned from Brodie on Monday.
Team Expects Cespedes to Return to Form, But No Timetable Yet
Yoenis Cespedes was an integral part to the Mets’ success in 2015 and 2015, but the last two seasons weren’t kind to him, with having to get surgery on both of his heels as the cherry on top.
However, Van Wagenen said that he expects Cespedes to return and play a big role in 2019, as well as 2020 which is his contract year. The Mets do not want to rush him though and want to make sure he is 100 percent healthy when he returns.
“Our expectation is that he can make progress everyday,” Van Wagenen said. “We just want to make sure we aren’t taxing him too soon, and that he’s 100 percent healthy when he comes back, whenever that day is.
“We’re counting on him to make a contribution in 2019. We’re counting on him to make a contribution in 2020. We want to get better everyday, he wants to get better everyday and we’ll do our part to help him do that.”
Van Wagenen added that upon return, he expects Cespedes to be an MVP caliber player, and Cespedes does as well.
Brodie Happy with Active Offseason
Van Wagenen all but dismissed a late push for either stud, but reinforced the number of needs New York has filled this winter.
“I think fans always have a right to their opinion and I encourage them to have an opinion,” he said. “[But] I hope the fanbase recognizes the amount of work we’ve done this offseason, the number of needs we addressed and they see this is a complete team with depth and talent, and one that can succeed going forward. Ownership has given time the support to build and execute this plan.”
He was then asked why season ticket holders should want to re-up on tickets for the 2019 despite the team not making a “big splash,” this winter.
“Hopefully the fans recognize we did make a big offseason splash,” he said. “We spread it around a number of different players, from free agents to trades. There’s a lot to be excited about. We’ve not been quiet about our belief in this team and our players have expressed the same.”
Van Wagenen also did not rule out the possibility of more trades or free agent signings if they are the right fit for the team.
“I think there’s always opportunities, whether that’s trade or free agency,” he said. “As long as we continue to have an open mind and keep our eyes and ears on the ground for where talent exists, we’ll always look for opportunities.”
Rotation Depth Set For Now
In recent weeks, the Mets have been tied to southpaw free agent, Gio Gonzalez, but there is no traction in a potential deal yet.
Regardless, Van Wagenen feels content with the Mets’ starting pitching and their depth, and talked about how he expects Jason Vargas to have a big year.
“We feel really good,” Van Wagenen said. “As you look at Jason Vargas as the fifth starter, very few fifth starters around the league have his pedigree. He ended last year with a strong finish after getting off to a tough start because of the Spring training He missed. But we feel good about Vargas. We think [Seth] Lugo and [Robert] Gsellman are both real rotation spot potential if we needed to go to them.
Van Wagenen was asked if the opportunity arose, if he’d consider adding another player, perhaps a starter, on a MLB deal.
“I hope we are always doing things that make sense,” he said. “We’ll have a chance to go down [to Port St. Lucie] and not only see where our pitchers are, but make decisions about pitchers that exist around the league and see what the best opportunities are to make us better.”
Keon Broxton and Juan Lagares Expected to be Big Contributors
I asked Van Wagenen to give me a breakdown of how the playing time would go between Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton. He said, “we hope to use all 25 guys on our roster. As we designed it, Lagares and Broxton have very similar skillsets and both guys can really change the game defensively. So in addition to being out there in centerfield alone, they could also both be in the outfield at the same time in left and center or right and center, so we intend to use both guys.
“We know Broxton’s speed and power add an additional element to our club and we hope both guys can be out there a lot.”
Broxton was acquired by the Mets from Milwaukee last month, while Lagares is in his contract year.