I can remember when we hired Sandy Alderson. Like many Mets fans, I was hyped up. I figured, a Billy Beane disciple with a big market payroll, like the Red Sox and Cubs with Theo Epstein; how can this not work out? Well like most optimistic Mets predictions made this decade, I was dead wrong.
We didn’t land any fringe rule 5 draft guy that helped us win or find a diamond in the rough due to Alderson’s analytics department. No, we signed Cespedes to a long term deal and didn’t sign Daniel Murphy. We traded away pieces in off years and didn’t get anything of value in return. There was a World Series visit and that’s no small thing. Yet that deep run set us back more then anything else. Think about it.
We traded for Cespedes, who was set to be a free agent that off season, to help us reach and then advance in the playoffs. Well that worked out, but because he was so successful and he did so well, there was the sense that he HAD to come back. After doing the one year deal dance for a little bit with his contract, knowing it would be risky to ink him for multiple years, he finally got his long term deal. Then there is Murphy. He had an amazing run during the playoffs, showing power that he had never shown before. Good news, right? Problem was, he went from someone we could have brought back for a reasonable price to one of the hottest commodities on that year’s free agent market. Alderson chose Cespedes over Murphy. A lot of people would have done the same thing, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was the wrong decision.
Fast foward to the 2018 season. Sandy is dealing with medical issues, getting ready to step down at the end of the year. The team was run by a co-opt of Omar Minaya, J.P. Ricciardi, and John Ricco. Let’s just say that that didn’t turn out too well either and move on to the hiring of Brody Van Wagenen, super agent to Jacob Degrom, Robinson Cano and many others. Would he continue the Alderson strategy of nibbling around the edges, trying to strike gold, while not risking very much, and look to resurrect guys like Adrian Gonzalez or Jose Batista? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Brodie is playing chess while our former front office appeared to be playing checkers (I’ve always wanted to say that in a meaningful way).
Even though our new GM is not afraid to make a risky move, the recent Wilson Ramos deal shows that he is not going to go big just to make a splash. He has a plan, and a line which he isn’t willing to cross (which actually reminds me of one of Brian Cashman’s best qualities). The Marlins and their CEO, Derek Jeter, are still sour that they traded away an MVP (Yelich), and another productive piece in Marcell Ozuna, and didn’t get enough back, so they are holding teams hostage that want J.T. Realmuto. Reports are that Jeter wanted Rosario, Nimmo and Conforto, or at least 2 of those players and another piece. While Derek Jeter never reminded me of someone to use drugs, he must have been smoking something to make those demands. That being said, we have all seen GMs go huge to try to land their fish (like a Marlin), but not Brodie. He surveyed the lay of the land and went with his number 2 option; a pretty damn good number 2 at that.
Less then 2 weeks before Christmas and the Mets are just a few ancillary pieces away from a competitive roster. We still have all of our major league guys, including Noah Syndergaard, plus almost every valuable minor league player short of a relief pitcher with control issues (Dunn) and a highly touted, though not close to helping our ball club, prospect.
Think about it with me. We have the league’s best starting pitcher last year and now the best closer. We have young position players ready for break out years, a wily old vet that can still hit .300 in his sleep, and one of, if not the best hitting catcher over the past few years. Not to mention, if reports are accurate, enough money left to fill out the roster (2 more bullpen arms and a center fielder.) Brantley would be nice, but really any quality player to challenge Lagerus for playing time would be suffice.
I wouldn’t mind Robertson for the pen. That would really be a huge move. But like I said in my first article, I am going to trust Brodie Van Wagenen. It’s a process, and in my estimation, we have someone leading the helm that not only knows what he is doing, but is better then most others at doing it. It might be too early to say that, but screw it. Brodie is going all-in for our team and I’m going all-in for him.