A series of trades in the offseason by wannabe GM Brodie Van Wagenen has left the farm system seriously depleted. This resulted in the loss of the Mets’ best hitter (Jarred Kelenic) and the Mets’ most MLB-ready starting pitcher (Justin Dunn). You already know what these changes have resulted in — a 27-27 record and an organization without much of a future. Just a few weeks ago, Van Wagenen attempted to solve these institutional issues by trading even more depth (this time in the form of a PTBNL) in order to solve the Mets’ pitching issues. While some of these trades have helped (J.D. Davis, Wilmer Font, Edwin Diaz), enough have failed (Cano, Broxton) to cause concern.
All of this stems from an institutional problem from the top down, starting with CEO and COO Fred and Jeff Wilpon, respectively. The inability to spend on free agency has led to compensation from other areas in the organization. Sometimes the money that was spent in the offseason has been on the discount isle, resulting in poor signings (Swarzak, Vargas, etc.) in the last few years. The compensation usually comes from inside the organization, as the days of Logan Verett and Rafael Montero have evolved into the days of Chris Flexen and Corey Oswalt. It’s all the same. The Mets try to compensate for not spending enough money — or the right money — and it significantly costs their team either in terms of production or in terms of prospects.
Brodie Van Wagenen has a fiery, arrogant personality that is fed to the team. However, he does not own the team, and he can only get so much approved by ownership. It’s clear that Van Wagenen has gotten a red light on quality free agents and a green light on trades, which is evident in his actions as General Manager.
It is even evident now, with the Mets barely at .500 and the Mets a third of the way through the season. He has proclaimed that if the Mets are in contention they will be “heavy buyers”, but that should not be the case. The Mets sit at 27-27, after finishing the 2nd easiest strength of schedule (SOS) in the National league. For perspective, the Phillies had the easiest SOS so far, facing a majority of sub-.500 teams. Now, the Mets are 2 games into a stretch of solely facing teams with a winning record. This stretch will define the 2019 Mets, but at their current construction and production, they are not a playoff team.
The new GM needs to accept this to be the case and not further deplete the farm system trying to save a roster that had a sharp peak in 2015. No one predicted the window would come and go so soon, but with players coming so close to free agency, they will need reinforcements from inside and outside the organization. Van Wagenen cannot make trades at the deadline, or risk destroying this team’s future for long after his contract expires.
Opinion by @BradyPSnyder