Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon didn't just discuss why they decided to move on from Mickey Callaway as their manager. They also highlighted what they though about the 2019 Mets season as a whole.
It obviously wasn't the result Van Wagenen, Wilpon, or anyone inside the organization wanted to see. Their second-half surge was all for naught, falling short of the second Wild Card spot. And though they were 10 games over .500, the Mets still finished third in their division behind the Braves and Nationals -- both postseason teams.
To fall short yet again of a playoff berth, especially with the expectations the franchise set for themselves this season, had Wilpon describe the season like this:
"I feel unfulfilled," he told reporters during a conference call. "I feel we left some games on the field that we should've won, and we didn't fulfill what we really had as a goal which was get to the postseason. I know the fans came out for us and were really great at the end of the season. Rooting on Jake, rooting on Pete and the rest of the players to get to where we got -- 10 games over which is always very nice. But again, we're not playing October baseball and that's what it's about. That's what I think we all want to get to."
The Mets haven't been to the postseason since winning the top Wild Card spot in 2016, where they would fall to the Giants. New York flirted with that second Wild Card slot late in the season, but eventually couldn't overtake it.
So though there were certainly some meaningful games in September, Wilpon wants them a month further because he can't keep watching other teams play in October.
"For me, I think for the next level and what I've expressed to Brodie and will express to everybody else, is not meaningful games in September but meaningful games in October. It hurts watching those games on TV right now and I know our fans want that. Brodie and the rest of the organization wants that as well."
Make no mistake: the Mets are moving in the right direction. With a solid young core of players in Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto to name a few, the roster has pieces to build around. Van Wagenen did try to bring in the right pieces to make that playoff run, but most notably, Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia struggles throughout the season in the bullpen resulted in some tough losses -- one the Mets couldn't afford in the end.
But there were strides made elsewhere in the organization that Van Wagenen is proud of.
"It hurts watching those games on TV right now" Jeff Wilpon says he wants the Mets to be playing in October pic.twitter.com/UkMCXGXrnz- SNY (@SNYtv) October 3, 2019
"We feel good about the meaningful strides that we made," he said. "It's hard to argue that our fans are engaged, that -- from a relevancy standpoint -- we're part of the conversation in pretty much every way as it relates to the commentary. We have made significant hires and investments in scouting, player development, health and performance, analytics, etc. that we think are putting us in a positive direction."
Van Wagenen went in depth about each area of improvement, especially when it came to his roster building this past offseason. The boxes were checked off in his mind, but the results didn't come with it.
Of course, this is just one season for the new GM, but Van Wagenen still wasn't satisfied just like Wilpon. He made that proclamation to, "Come get us" when talking about the Mets in the NL East. They couldn't follow through with it, but those expectations aren't going to change because of what happened this season.
"We have high expectations," Van Wagenen said. "I think if we look back to where we were almost a year ago when I was first introduced to all of you, we laid out a pretty aggressive agenda, both from an organization standpoint as well as a Major League team standpoint. I think there were a few buzz words that were shared and repeated a number of times over the course of the last year, but the mission statements that we had were first and foremost we wanted to create optimism and hope for our fanbase. For better or for worse, we wanted to be fearless and relentless in our work as we pursue greatness. We clearly wanted to be relevant in the marketplace and across the league. And from an action standpoint, we wanted to invest in every part of our organization."
Continuing to stay true to those statements is the plan heading into another offseason, one where Van Wagenen has a full MLB season under his belt. Having a winning season is always a plus, but like Wilpon, Van Wagenen won't settle with just 10 games over .500.
Getting back to the postseason and making a World Series run is the ultimate goal. And that won't change as long as "GM" is still next to Van Wagenen's name plate.
"The 'win now and win in the future' mantra is important to us and this year we had a winning season," he said. "Ten games above .500 is a winning season. Now is it our goal by the end of the day? Absolutely not. But I think as we reflect from an organizational standpoint, progress is good. But falling three games short of the second Wild Card spot and finishing third place in our division is not good enough. It's not our goals, and we're not satisfied with it."