Brodie Van Wagenen, the new general manager of the New York Mets, has already brought about a shift in culture during his first months in office.
Normally a dormant franchise when it comes to making trades or signing big-name free agents during the offseason, Van Wagenen has already pulled the trigger on a big-time deal acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners.
It holds up to his opening remarks upon being introduced as the team’s general manager, stating that the Mets are going to be put in a position to win now.
He reiterated those words at Cano and Diaz’s introductory press conference on Tuesday morning:
“I stated that this organization intended to be relentless and fearless in the pursuit of greatness,” Van Wagenen said. “This trade should be a signal to our fans that words alone will not define our franchise.”
Should this be the Mets’ only deal of the offseason, Van Wagenen’s statement won’t necessarily hold up. However, he was quick to add that there is more on the way.
“We did not make this move to be our last,” he said.
So what comes next?
While the trade rumors around Cano and Diaz heated up and became verified, the prospect of dealing star pitcher Noah Syndergaard continued to loom. If the Mets were indeed in that win-now mode, trading away a 26-year-old fireballer with ace-like stuff doesn’t necessarily echo those sentiments.
Van Wagenen ended the speculation, stating that there would have to be “very special circumstances” to deal the right-hander.
The Mets are in need of an everyday catcher that provides an upgrade from Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. Van Wagenen is wasting no time as he’s re-sparked negotiations with the Miami Marlins for All-Star catcher JT Realmuto, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The 27-year-old would likely cost the Mets a young MLB talent like Brandon Nimmo or Amed Rosario.
In the meantime, there have been reports indicating that the Mets are interested in going after megastar Bryce Harper. The 26-year-old outfielder is entering the prime of his career with an NL MVP award already in hand as one of the game’s best.
The one big problem that could force the Mets out of the Harper sweepstakes is the price tag. The former Washington National is expected to sign a new deal worth anywhere between $300 million and $400 million, a mark believed to be too steep for the Wilpon family.
Van Wagenen’s statement indicates that the Mets are, in fact, hellbent on making waves around the majors. The division is more than winnable right now and acquiring a talent like Harper will not only make the Mets favorites to win the division but serious contenders for the National League pennant.
With Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings starting up on Dec. 10, we’re looking at a pivotal time for the Mets, who are at a crossroads. This could develop into any other offseason for the organization, one of disappointment when it comes to acquiring key pieces to a championship puzzle. Or, it could be looked back on as a turning point in franchise history as Van Wagenen continues to change the outlook around Queens.
And it could all really start with Harper.