For Mets, Time for Van Wagenen, Wilpons to put up or shut up: Pantorno - Metro US

For Mets, Time for Van Wagenen, Wilpons to put up or shut up: Pantorno

Brodie Van Wagenen (left) and Jeff Wilpon (right). (Photo: Getty Images)
Brodie Van Wagenen (left) and Jeff Wilpon (right). (Photo: Getty Images)
Well, Brodie, they got you. 
Not only that, but they won the whole darn thing. 
The re-hashing of New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s brash preseason comments has become a tired tradition in 2019. 
But it bears repeating once again. 
Back in January, the former agent-turned-GM laid down the gauntlet when presenting his 2019 season hopes. 
“I look forward to showing people that we’re a team to be reckoned with,” Van Wagenen said. “Let’s not be shy on wanting to be the best and I fully expect us to be competitive, to be a winning team. Our goal is to win a championship and it starts with the division. So come get us.”
Those comments were about a month after Van Wagenen pulled off his first big blockbuster as Mets GM, acquiring closer Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano from the Seattle Mariners for promising prospect Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, and Gerson Bautista.
By now, we know how that deal played out. 
Both Cano and Diaz had their worst seasons as pros while a second-straight Cy Young-worthy campaign from Jacob deGrom and a young, talented core featuring Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and JD Davis, was derailed by an inept manager, a heinous bullpen, and upper management that refused to spend to bolster the team’s playoff push. 
The Mets took an important step in righting the ship by firing Callaway after two losing seasons, but even this process can’t be easy. 
Van Wagenen along with owners Jeff and Fred Wilpon have dragged their feet when hiring a new manager. So much so that their NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, swooped in and nabbed Joe Girardi — considered a front-runner for the Mets job — despite the Mets having a week head start in the search process. 
New York still doesn’t have its manager with the drawn-out interview process having more rounds than the actual postseason. 
The names in the running leave plenty to be desired, too. The Mets are reportedly down to Carlos Beltran, Tim Bogar, Derek Shelton, and Eduardo Perez. 
None of those names have legitimate MLB managing experience. 
With the season officially over and the Washington Nationals taking their first-ever World Series title in a thrilling Fall Classic, an intriguing offseason loaded with big-name free agents takes center stage. 
The Fall Classic alone featured two of the biggest names available on the market this winter as Astros ace Gerrit Cole and Nationals star third baseman Anthony Rendon will test the waters. 
It prompted the New York Post’s Joel Sherman to write a column imploring the Mets to heavily pursue both, stating that they can “stop the laughter” by landing either of those names. 
While it’s an admirable notion, I think what’s more laughable is the idea that the Wilpons would be willing to drop $250 million-plus contracts on players — even if they enhance the Mets’ standing in the NL East. 
It would also ease the logjam within the roster. 
Nabbing Rendon would make a player like Davis expendable. And his promising bat could be dealt for problem-solvers for other parts of the roster. 
The same would go for Noah Syndergaard if the Mets were to get Cole. 
Suddenly, the Mets would have two bona fide stars while possessing the assets needed to bolster the bullpen. 
All that’s left to be done then is get the right manager. 
But the importance of this offseason for the Mets cannot be stressed enough. 
They have a nice little team right now in an NL East division that now features the World Series champions, a reloading Phillies team with a proven, winning manager, and the young, explosive Atlanta Braves. 
The ball is in the Wilpons’ and Van Wagenen’s court. Either you make an actual commitment to winning this winter, or you continue thinking with your bank account and finding puppets to create the illusion of contention. 

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