The good news is that, based on the number of hot stove rumors surrounding the Mets, it's clear GM Brodie Van Wagenen is interested in making big moves.
The bad news is that, based on the number of hot stove rumors surrounding the Mets, if he doesn't make a big move, fans, reporters, other teams and players will see him as all talk and no action...
"I'll admit, I was one of the many people who were skeptical about him going from agent to GM," a rival assistant GM told me Tuesday. However, he continued, "I've never seen anyone change perception and increase his profile so much and as so fast as Brodie has done during the past few weeks."
This is not a unique opinion. I've heard it from a number of MLB insiders during the first 36 hours of this year's MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Again, though, as a fan, this makes me equally excited as it makes me totally paranoid.
Personally, I don't believe Van Wagenen is looking to trade Noah Syndergaard, despite the bevy of reports stating otherwise. At the same time, he's clearly floating Thor's name and is open to considering trades that include him. I say this based on my conversations with people that have talked with his staff during the last day or so, all of whom describe Van Wagenen's front office as frenetic and highly aware of what's going on around the game...
The general consensus seems to be, with all due respect for Sandy Alderson's legacy and all he has done for the game of baseball, Van Wagenen's front office has seemingly had more conversations and done more networking in the past two months than the previous front office did in 10 years...
It's important to note that, unlike most first-time GMs, Van Wagenen entered his current job having spent the past decade getting to know and negotiating one-on-one with more or less every GM and owner in baseball. So, whereas a new GM might need a bit of runway to take flight, Brodie was already airborne the minute he sat down at his new desk in Citi Field.
As a result of these 10 years of rubbing elbows, buying drinks, dining and talking with the league's most prominent decision makers, we're getting a hotbed of hot stove buzz not because it's fiction but because he's essentially picking up where he left off last winter when negotiating contracts for his list of clients.
The job is different, but it's similar in more ways than most people realize.
For instance, just like he did when becoming a prominent player agent, as GM, Van Wagenen needs to create leverage (such as saying he likes Yasmani Grandal when he's pursuing Realmuto); he has to know when to use the media and when to keep things close to the vest; he has to know when to say the first number and when to be coy; he has to be committed to the way he evaluates talent; he has to know when to send in a lieutenant or show up in person; and, most important, he has to be in the business of gathering information and creating opportunities so that he, his staff and ownership can make the best possible decision for the team.
He's doing the above and every reporter and fan of the hot stove should be getting down on their knees and thanking the baseball Gods that he's in their lives.
As a Mets fan, though, at this point, I'm freaking out that he might make a move just to make so that he's not just talk and rumor, but also a man of action. He acted on trading for Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz, but - based on talk radio, Twitter, and articles across baseball - that deal has as many supporters as it has detractors.
Also, while Cano and Diaz are nice additions to the Mets, their payroll essentially went sideways and, according to ESPN.com's Sarah Langs, it only raised the team's 2019 projected win total to 79.
The point is, Van Wagenen needs to do more. And, it's obvious he wants to do. The rumors we are reading about are not just the result of a front office leaking information only to create a buzz. In fact, based on how I'm hearing things, most of what's being written and talked about is coming more from other teams and agents than it's coming from people working for the Mets.
Today alone I have been contacted by friends with other teams asking ME what I think the Mets are going to do, based on what I'm hearing. I guess now I'm their source, which is pretty funny and fascinating. The last time this happened was when Omar Minaya was in hot pursuit of Johan Santana after the 2007 season.
Speaking of Minaya, who loved making deals when he was GM, he is also well connected and admired across the game. In case you forgot, Minaya remained on with the Mets to be a top advisor to Van Wagenen. In other words, together, I can only imagine what the white board looks like and the number of text messages and phone calls bouncing between the walls of their suite at the Mandalay Bay.
So, what does all of the above mean with regards to the Mets, Yankees, Syndergaard, and rumors of the Mets wanting J.T. Realmuto, Corey Kluber and others? I don't know. Or, I should say, I thought I knew, but the buzz has quickly moved beyond the point of making sense. I like this, though. I enjoy the point during the Winter Meetings when its wheels come off the wagon and it's too difficult to tell fact from fiction to semantics.
In the end, as I said above, while I have no doubt that Van Wagenen has talked about Syndergaard with a variety of teams, including the Yankees, I find it incredibly difficult to believe he's so bold as to deal such a promising and dominant pitcher to the Bronx.
That said, would he deal Syndergaard to the Red Sox for Xander Bogaerts, who Boston is open to moving because he's a free agent after next season? If Van Wagenen acquired Bogaerts, he would then be free to trade Rosario to the Marlins for Realmuto and still have Brandon Nimmo to give to Cleveland for Kluber.
The above is crazy, and yet it's also seemingly possible, which is literally what he said about the culture he's creating when talking to reporters last month.
"We have a winning mindset," he declared, "and collectively believe anything is possible."
However, choose wisely, Brodie, because all of baseball is watching.
RELATED: Van Wagenen invited Wright to Winter Meetings, where he is participating in roster discussions >> Read more
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!