In Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Seth Lugo and Jacob deGrom, the Mets have five players who are worth a combined 12.2 WAR this season, according to FanGraphs.com.
The above group, plus Brandon Nimmo, means Brodie Van Wagenen will, at the very least, enter next season with a bonafide ace, a unique and versatile reliever and a legit core of young position players. Which is why I want him to sell at the trade deadline.
It may be a long shot, but I do believe the Mets can claw their way in to the top group competing for a berth into this season's Wild Card game. The thing is, even if they do pull off a miracle and get in and past the one-game playoff, I'm not confident they have the ammunition to take down the Cubs or Braves, let alone the Dodgers, in a five or seven-game series.
There will be just one team from the National League in the World Series. To even qualify for the Wild Card game, the Mets will likely need to play an astounding .600 baseball between now and the middle of October. It's hard to see how this happens, despite how well they've recently been playing.
It's painful to think about another rebuild. However, the emergence of Alonso and McNeil give me hope that during the next seven months Van Wagenen can quickly put together a new attempt at long-term success.
The Mets should begin that process now instead of making another random run at October built entirely on hope and luck, as my friend Brian Mangan recently said.
As a result, Van Wagenen should still do his best to put Zack Wheeler, Jason Vargas and Todd Frazier on new teams.
Noah Syndergaard's stock is down, yet teams with interest in him are still willing to give up multiple top prospects to get him, according to multiple reports, as well as my own sources. And Van Wagenen should consider all offers.
It's popular to write that Van Wagenen should keep Syndergaard and trade him this winter. However, during the off-season, teams can escape trade talks or gain leverage in discussions by turning to the free agent market. Those teams have fewer options and grow more desperate when a pennant race comes into focus, which is why starting pitchers always fetch more now than later.
Van Wagenen and his staff spent most of this past winter scouting and talking with teams about Syndergaard. If one of those teams returns to the table and finally makes a legit offer, Van Wagenen should take it. For all the second-year general manager knows, Syndergaard is one pitch away from needing elbow surgery, at which point he'll be untradeable before becoming a free agent in two years.
I have no doubt Syndergaard will win a Cy Young before the end of his career. I enjoy his character in Queens. However, if he can bring in players that better fit the future, I'll wish him well and accept seeing him succeed on another team.
Van Wagenen should also not wait to trade Edwin Díaz, who is an outstanding talent that does not look like a good fit for New York. He has shown flashes of getting on track this season, but he's now striking out fewer and walking more batters with each month ticking off the calendar.
"It's crazy how good he was last year compared to this year," Phillies SS Jean Segura, who played last year with Diaz, told reporters last month. "I don't know, maybe he has too many distractions in New York or too much is going on. But, I'm telling you, this guy last year was unhittable."
It's quite clear the Mets will soon regret trading prospects Jared Kelenic and Justin Dunn for Diaz, Robinson Cano and $20 million. However, what's done is is done. And instead of hoping to win yesterday's move, Van Wagenen should turn the page and do what is best for tomorrow. If this means trading Diaz, who may return to form with another team, so be it.
Inversely, though, I have zero idea how he can do it. Van Wagenen needs to put on his old, creative agent hat, find a way to move mountains and find a new home for Cano.
McNeil is a second baseman and is far more valuable to the Mets there than he is in left field. He's also an inevitable batting champion and a solid part of the team's future, two things that should make him a priority over Cano. But that will never happen so long as Van Wagenen feels pressure to justify acquiring and paying money for Cano, who at this point is a 37-year-old designated hitter stuck in the National League.
In much the same way Van Wagenen traded for Diaz and Cano from the Mariners, maybe he can pay similar money and swap salary to trade them back to the American League?
For what it's worth, a friend recently suggested the Indians could be up for acquiring Cano and Diaz. The Indians, he explained, are looking for someone that can play first base, second base and DH, such as Cano. Also, they're in the market for a set-up man with experience as a closer, such as Diaz. So, maybe Cleveland is an option?
The unexpected playoff run is great. The experience in 2015 and 2016 was amazing. However, as Mike Petriello recently pointed out in an article for MLB.com, despite those two playoff runs, only two teams during the past decade have won fewer games in the National League than the Mets.
For once in my life, I'd like to see the the Mets be playoff contenders for more than one or two seasons surrounded by a series of rebuilding and reloading rosters. I want them to make noise and give us a chance at experiencing a World Championship over the stretch of five, six, seven seasons in a row, which is something that has never happened in their 57-year history.
The group built by Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson that most recently reached the Fall Classic seemed to have the potential to be the franchise's first perennial playoff team. Unfortunately, they were not, and now just seven of that team's 25 players are with the organization.
Van Wagenen should get the opportunity to complete that transition and build his own team. He inherited six players that give him a good start, but he needs more talent and that work should begin now.
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!