After the Mets hired Brodie Van Wagenen, he used his introductory press conference as a rallying cry to ignite the fan base that has been put through so much pain through the years. Promises were made to win now, in the future, and to create a winning culture. However, is that really possible considering the Mets’ known monetary constraints and the level of competition in the NL East?
“We will win now, we will win in the future. We’re going to develop a winning culture and a winning mindset. And we will deliver this city and fan base a team they can be proud of.” -GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Since then, the Mets have acquired an 8x All Star in Robinson Cano, the current MLB-save leader in Edwin Diaz, and one of the top-2 catchers available in Wilson Ramos. All of these moves, of course, occurred before the new year. Even after the Mets’ blockbuster acquisitions, the NL East seems to be a largely contested four-horse race between the Mets, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Many fans would see this as a good thing, and while I am optimistic, there is also a clear call for concern here. In making these moves, the farm system is almost empty, as the Metropolitans only have 2 prospects on the MLB Top 100 list. They have even traded away 2 of their top 4 draft picks from last year alone. (Jared Kelenic and Adam Hill)
This is all acceptable if the Mets achieve the postseason again, but will they? The Nationals, Phillies, and Braves have all also added impact pieces for 2019, including David Robertson, Patrick Corbin, and Josh Donaldson. At least 2 of these teams are also involved in the Manny Machado/Bryce Harper sweepstakes. You might ask, how has the front office responded to this? By trading away more prospects for two OFs who cannot hit above a .200 BA in the 2018 MLB season. (see Keon Broxton and JD Davis)
Since Van Wagenen has all but ruled the team out of Machado and Harper, it is fair to ask, is the team depleting its farm system just to disappoint again? Most sources agree that the Mets’ contention window is closing fast, with pitchers getting older and contracts expiring. While FanGraphs projects the Mets to win a wild card berth, letting Machado/Harper to come into the NL East could swing these projections.
The new-look New York Mets will be certainly fun to watch this season in 2019, but at what cost? The answer to this will almost certainly be determined by whether the Mets can capitalize on their contention window without sacrificing success in the years to come.