An MMO Fan Shot by The Hammer
After the most eventful winter offseason in recent memory, Spring Training is well underway and the fans finally get to scrutinize the overhauled team that has been assembled under new GM Brodie Van Wagenen. Being no fan of the Wilpon’s parsimonious ways in baseball’s largest market, some credit must be given to ownership for the outside-the-box hire of BVW.
As a top executive for one of the largest sports agencies (CAA) in baseball, BVW has taken a major pay cut to oversee the transformation of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club – and his tenure thus far has been nothing short of eye-opening. One need only look at the state of the Mets today compared to last November.
Adding layers of depth at multiple positions and signing perennial all-stars in Robinson Cano
and Wilson Ramos
, BVW has deftly constructed the club with a mixture of proven veterans and young, rising stars. At the core of this team is the pitching, which can arguably be ranked top-five in all of baseball.
Van Wagenen has also injected new life in the Triple-A club in Syracuse, completely revamped the scouting and analytic departments (which should pay huge dividends in future drafts), and has set the bar very high for both the players and coaching staff. Based on BVW’s proclamation that the team as constructed is playoff caliber, in my opinion, the hottest managerial seat in MLB is Mickey Callaway
Yet after all this activity, bringing renewed excitement to the fan base after years of mediocre results, many pessimistic Mets fans are angered when Manny Machado
or Bryce Harper
is not remotely considered, and Dallas Keuchel
or Gio Gonzales still remain unsigned. But as opening day draws nearer, we may yet see a move or two that shores up any remaining deficiencies.
Having survived the purge of underperforming players, clearly, Todd Frazier
, Jason Vargas
, Travis D’Arnaud, and Juan Lagares
(in their final years and totaling over $30 million in salary) have a lot to prove this spring to warrant their roster spots. If the Mets are in contention at the trading deadline, it’s highly likely that some of these players could be involved for a key piece in a playoff drive.
Is the team perfect? No, but no team is perfect – especially the teams in the now highly competitive National League East. There is little doubt that the pitching depth for the Mets past the starting five is a serious question mark, or that another legit OF bat could be helpful, but barring any major injuries, the team as currently constructed should still be in the playoff hunt for this and next year.
The fact is that there the Mets have a short, contractual window for our starting pitching staff and the short term deals given to several key pieces (Lowrie, Ramos, Justin Wilson
, and Keon Broxton
) make this clear.
Mets fans are a fickle bunch, and rightfully so with this ownership, but the new direction BVW has established is a welcome change from the prior front office that should be embraced, not scorned, by fans. Now that the groundwork has been laid, it’s up to the players to perform.