This past Monday, I wrote that I expected Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen to do the following five things by end of the week's MLB Winter Meetings, which concluded Thursday.
So, what did he do, what didn't he do, and how will he approach the rest of the offseason?
1. Sign a high-end free-agent reliever
The Mets and Jeurys Familia agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal, bringing the team's former closer back to the team he spent.
Miller and Robertson would have been exciting and ideal. And, I suppose it's still possible Van Wagenen inks one of them to a deal, as well. Miller could be the much-needed left-handed reliever, but more realistically the Mets will eventually acquire a less-expensive middle reliever.
That said, while Familia feels like a sidestep, the fact is that he wasn't on the team a week ago and he is really good. Also, unlike the above other options, Familia is a known commodity coming off five-consecutive successful seasons, and he's a veteran with experience pitching in high-leverage situations under the bright lights and pressure of New York City.
The added bonus is that he is also the perfect person to be a much-needed mentor to the young Edwin Diaz, who locked down 57 games with a 1.96 ERA for the Mariners before being traded to the Mets earlier this month.
2. Pass on trading Noah Syndergaard
For all of the talk about dealing Syndergaard since early November, I never expected Syndergaard to get dealt this week because, frankly, I'm still not convinced Van Wagenen wants to move him at all. In fact, my contention is that, in a perfect world, the Mets keep Syndergaard and somehow trade for another high-end starting pitcher.
Nevertheless, Syndergaard continued to be the subject of a variety of trade rumors this past week.
I do believe Van Wagenen and his staff have talked with interested teams about Syndergaard, just as I assume they've talked with teams about Zack Wheeler and more or less anyone else on the roster whom another club might want to acquire.
In the end, I still expect Syndergaard to be on field the Mets next February in Port St. Lucie. And, the only way he isn't is if he's replaced by a equally-inexpensive, equally-controllable, established position player that upgrades the lineup in an obvious way...
3. Acquire a catcher
Despite reading daily, and near hourly, rumors about Van Wagenen's pursuit of J.T. Realmuto, Realmuto is still on the Marlins and the Mets still have not added a catcher.
Van Wagenen and Callaway have been clear about their goal to acquire everyday backstop that can provide stability, strong defense and leadership for their pitching staff.
According to a Miami source, the Marlins are fully aware of Van Wagenen's top offer to get Realmuto and it doesn't include Amed Rosario. Unfortunately, that's exactly who they want from the Mets. They also reportedly want a second big league player. So far, the Mets have not budged, which has allowed other teams under consideration by the Marlins, specifically the Reds, Padres, White Sox, Rays and Dodgers, all of whom have enough prospects to put together a package that could entice Miami.
Meanwhile, Yasmani Grandal, Martin Maldonado and Wilson Ramos are sitting idle in the free agent market and each reportedly talked with the Mets this past week.
By the end of this current week, I fully expected the Mets to have either signed a free-agent catcher or completed a trade for Realmuto. Unfortunately, neither has happened, though I think one of the two situations will go down sooner than later.
So, who will it be? I still think that depends on Van Wagenen's read on adding offense at another position. If he feels confident the Mets can add a big hitter at another position, I expect they'll go with the defense-first Maldonado. If they're less confident in improving at other positions, they'll likely go Grandal or Ramos, assuming they give up in their pursuit of Realmuto.
4. Lay groundwork for adding an everyday center fielder
There is not a lot of demand -- nor a lot of supply -- for center fielders. The Mets need one to play strong defense and be reliable, day in and day out, though, as Van Wagenen and Callaway have repeatedly said. I never expected them to actually ink or trade for someone this week, simply because I knew free-agent A.J. Pollock's ridiculous ask for a six-year, nine-figure deal was going to slow down that entire market.
In time, though, he'll lock on with someone, be it the Mets, Braves or his former D-backs. If he and the Mets do not see a fit, I'd like to see the Mets pick up free-agent Adam Jones, who reportedly reached out to the Mets this past week.
I realize Jones is far from the fielder he was just a few years ago, and he may or may not be able to play center field on a consistent bases. However, between him, Juan Lagares, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, the Mets would have four guys able to play all three outfield positions. So, I'm certain Callaway and Van Wagenen can figure out a configuration that works for everyone involved, including the pitching staff. And, this assumes that one of Lagares or Nimmo isn't traded and replaced on the roster with a more powerful, everyday corner guy.
More importantly, though, Jones is the exact type of veteran, professional leader who I think would benefit this specific Mets roster at this specific time. Plus, despite being 33 years old, he has played at least 139 games each of the past nine seasons, which is a lot more than I can say for most people on Callaway's roster.
5. Sign a utility-infielder for depth and leverage
The Mets didn't add depth to their bench, nor did any rumors run indicating they were even looking in to this type player. I assumed they would, if for no other reason than it would give them options and leverage when working on other deals.
There could be two reasons for this, which 1) if the Mets acquire a new infielder, Todd Frazier or Jeff McNeil or even Robinson Cano could become the roving, super-utility infielder and likely thrive in the role, and 2) because the above is a possibility, why would, say, Marwin Gonzalez or Asdrubal Cabrera take the job now if there isn't an everyday role for him on next year's team.
As I said, I figured the Mets would try to fill this role sooner than later, and as early as this week, but with my comments above I've talked myself out of it and now figure this may be one of the last areas they address before spring training.
MARTINO: Mets, Marlins, Padres discuss three-team trade involving Syndergaard, Realmuto >> 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!