While the offseason has consisted of the New York Mets being the busiest team in the league, has it truly improved the franchise going forward? First-time general manager Brady Van Wagenen has turned the Mets upside down, making player moves not commonly seen in this day in age in the MLB.
Bringing in former All-Star Robinson Cano for his second stint in the Big Apple but first with the Mets, as well as All-Star closer Edwin Diaz in a monster deal with Jerry Dipoto and Seattle Mariners got the offseason moving along. Even though Van Wagenen sent his most recent top selection, Waukesha, WI product Jarred Kelenic to Seattle in the deal, it was a trade that benefited the Mets now while saving the Mariners in the future.
Pairing Cano with Yoenis Cespedes, once he is healthy again, will finally give Jacob DeGrom and company the run support they so desperately needed last season but never received. Joining DeGrom in the rotation is Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz and Jason Vargas.
Vargas, who is in the second guaranteed year of his two-year, $16 million deal that includes a 2020 club option for $8 million, is the newest face in the rotation, even though he was there last year. Even though he had one of his worst career years, pitching to a record of 6-9 with a 5.77 ERA across 21 games and 92 innings, Vargas is a prime bounce-back candidate that should be able to shoulder his fair share for the Mets in 2019.
The back of the bullpen for New York is solid, as Diaz is paired with flamethrower Jeurys Familia, who resigned on a three-year, $30 million deal on Dec. 13. Familia was a huge addition to last year’s pen for the Oakland Athletics, who acquired him from the Mets before the trade deadline, so the Mets got two prospects in return for Familia while resigning him the following winter, an excellent move.
The team is set in the rotation, but both the middle of the bullpen and the outfield need addressing. While the team acquired center fielder Keon Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers, he was only added to a plethora of center fielders, as Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo are also manning the center spot.
Broxton is more of a defensive guy, but his offensive numbers hit peaks and valleys throughout the season, as Brewers fans can attest. He is a high energy, always-smiling guy which is contagious and can only help unite this Mets team.
In terms of additions, the team should focus on adding to its bullpen. The outfield, while much maligned, has the pieces available to be flexible across the three positions.
For available free agent arms, choosing two from the mixture of left-hander Tony Sipp, Jake Diekman, Greg Holland and Brad Boxberger would best fit the Mets needs. Sipp is the biggest name on this list, coming from the Houston Astros.
Diekman is a former Texas Rangers reliever, Greg Holland is a great buy-low player who could just not find his stuff for the St. Louis Cardinals and Brad Boxberger has bounced around the league but remains a solid out-getter from the pen. By looking for two arms, the Mets would be smart to snatch up a controlling left in Sipp, while bringing Boxberger in on a one year deal.
If willing, Holland would be a great minor league signing with an invite to training camp guy, due to his horrendous 2018 season. Buying low on a guy that originally signed a $14 million deal with the Cardinals because he excelled in hitter-friendly Colorado would be a great opportunity for the Mets.
For the Mets to compete this year in the National League East, the franchise will need to improve upon its thin bullpen ranks. Holding them back no longer is their offense, and when Cespedes finally returns from his foot injury, adding him is like signing a premier free agent.
This team came to compete this year, and in order for their results to match up to their current payroll structure, the team needs to address its bullpen. By adding guys like Sipp and Boxberger, these are cheaper additions that still leave room for opportunities to happen both during the season and before the trade deadline.