The Wilpon Family and the New York Mets have duped us all once again.
After hiring Brodie Van Wagenen as the team’s new general manager, the brash ex-agent announced his arrival with authority as he quickly addressed major team needs.
He traded for star closer Edwin Diaz and veteran second baseman Robinson Cano from the Seattle Mariners before signing free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos after a failed two-week tango with the Miami Marlins for J.T. Realmuto, while bringing back reliever Jeurys Familia.
Suddenly, before Christmas, the Mets were looking poised to develop into an NL East contender. Van Wagenen even told SNY that the Mets are favorites to win the division, a claim filled with a kind of braggadocio unseen from the organization in years.
It suggested to even the most pessimistic of Mets fans that Van Wagenen might have gotten through to the Wilpons, the franchise’s penny-pinching owners that has run the big-market ball club like one housed in Kansas City or Tampa. After all, the Mets still were apparently looking for an upgrade in the outfield to put alongside Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo while Yoenis Cespedes recovers.
There were attractive names galore that offered such promise, whether it was Adam Jones or AJ Pollock, both of whom garnered All-Star selections in the past. Some even held out hope that maybe, just maybe, a miracle would come to fruition and the Mets would seriously pursue free-agent megastar, Bryce Harper. Granted, that was always a longshot considering the 26-year-old is going to get a contract worth over $300 million this winter.
But a team like the Mets in the largest sports market in the world should at least make a play for him, right?
Well, at least Jones or Pollock would provide decent consolation prizes and would still suggest that the Mets were actually committed to making a playoff push in 2019.
Not so fast.
The Mets have seemingly abandoned any hope of picking up an established outfielder that could come in and immediately contribute to the cause. Instead, they’ve brought in a series of subpar outfielders or retreads looking for one last shot in the majors. Over the past three weeks, they signed Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, and Rymer Liriano to minor-league deals before trading for Keon Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers.
That’s some subpar depth for Juan Lagares, who looks like he’ll be anointed the starting center fielder’s job in 2019 despite a track record of not staying healthy. He’s played an average of just 68 games per year over the past three seasons.
The past week also included trades for minor-league infielder J.D. Davis, who batted under .200 in the majors despite winning the Pacific Coast League batting title in 2018, and pitchers Walker Lockett and Hector Santiago.
Basically, nothing to write home about.
Instead of picking up viable talent to bolster the Mets lineup and depth concerns, Van Wagenen has been forced to bargain hunt, instead. And it all comes back to the Wilpons as they once again prove that they are not in the business of actually contending for a World Series title at all. Instead, it looks like they’ll just try and put on an acceptable product on the field just to sell tickets.
At this point, they just need to admit that this is all just a money grab to them rather than a legitimate organization as they continue insult to Mets fans everywhere.