Status: Going for it
The Mets were at a fork in the road this offseason. Rumours of a rebuild were floating around New York, but the 2015 World Series runners-up opted to go for it, making win-now moves through trade and free agency.
Few general managers were busier than Brodie van Wagenen this winter. The headline move happened early on as Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano (along with some cash to cover Cano’s contract) swapped west for east, arriving from the Mariners.
Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista and highly rated prospected Jarred Kelenic went the other way. Getting away from Bruce and Swarzak’s contracts was key for van Wagenen and the price was reasonable for a reliever like Diaz.
Joining Cano and Todd Frazier as infield elder statesmen was Jed Lowrie. The former Athletic had a career year in Oakland, which earned him a $20 million two-year deal in New York. Lowrie will split time around the infield, providing key versatility.
Relievers Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson also arrived as free agents, accompanying Diaz at the back of the bullpen. Luis Avilan, who surprisingly got a minor league deal, gives another option as a left-hander.
The catching situation was discussed a lot all winter. J.T. Realmuto links never came to fruition, with the Mets ultimately signing Wilson Ramos instead. A catcher upgrade was a necessity, and few are better offensively than Ramos. It also paved the way for Kevin Plawecki to be traded to the Indians in exchange for Sam Haggerty and Walker Lockett.
What to watch
The Mets outfield could be really, really good. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo have the pop-discipline combo that is the bedrock of any elite hitter. Broxton, while mainly in the minors last season, is a high-upside guy. He’s a great defender, a threat on the bases and has 20-homer power as we saw in 2017.
It goes without saying that health is important, but it’s even more relevant for the Mets, who are constantly weighed down by injuries. Getting 180 innings each from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler could mean they have the best rotation in baseball. Wheeler’s situation is particularly intriguing with free agency coming up.
Peter Alonso has All-Star potential at the plate. The Mets will play the service time game, but it won’t be long before we see what he can do in The Show. New York have a lot of line-up depth and a tonne of options even if they lack star power. It’s not impossible that Alonso explodes onto the scene and becomes that scary middle order bat they lack.
The Mets should be competitive. Being the Mets, of course, means there’s a good chance they find a way to mess it up and lose 95 games.
This roster should be a contender and is definitely in with a shot of winning the division. They have an array of above-average to good hitters, an underrated relief group and four-fifths of a terrifying rotation.
After a couple of drab seasons, the Mets are, at the very least, interesting again. Van Wagenen has compiled a roster capable of a deep postseason run.