Brodie Van Wagenen On CF: 'Don't Need Right-Handed Hitter'

Mets GM Joined Joe & Evan

Joe & Evan
December 18, 2018 - 12:01 pm

So far this offseason, new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has been pretty aggressive to make this team better. He went out and traded for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. He signed Jeurys Familia to a three-year deal. He then signed Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal.

Mets fans are clamoring for Bryce Harper next for the outfield, but may need to be a little more realistic. 

"I can't promise to be the Santa Clause of the world, but hopefully we can keep creating a little bit of momentum one step at a time. I'm glad you guys want to think big," Van Wagenen told WFAN's Joe & Evan Tuesday. 

Ramos was introduced Tuesday at Citi Field after the Mets gave the catcher a two-year, $19 million deal with a third-year option. Their hope was to trade for J.T. Realmuto, but once that didn't work out, Ramos was their focus.

"It became apparent that in order to get him, it was going to cost us some significant piece off our major league roster that would have been difficult for us to replace in the open market," Van Wagenen said. "I think at the end of the day it was going to be one significant piece off the major league roster and some combination of significant prospects. It made it a pretty easy decision." 

With Ramos being a right-handed bat, the idea of needing to get a right-handed hitting outfielder has changed.

"I think we want to create more depth. Our need for a right-handed hitter has changed a little bit because we did get Ramos," said Van Wagenen. "Realmuto would have done the same. Grandal wasn't particularly good against left-handed pitching. That wasn't going to be our solution for the middle of the order. Getting Ramos there, I don't think we need firepower from a right-handed hitter in the outfield, especially because we're going to get that guy coming back to us later this summer in Cespedes. We do want to create some depth and protection for Lagares, whose showed us really good signs this winter where he's at physically. We also have McNeil who can play in the outfield, if we go right and left matchup, we got some versatility. We're going to look to add another bat or two in some way, shape or form, but we haven't necessarily decided which route we're going to go." 

Can Conforto or Nimmo end up playing center field? 

"We have some flexibility and options there," the Mets GM said. "In a perfect world, we would have Conforto and Nimmo play on the corners because they're such exceptional defenders when they are on the corners. The beauty of that is that when you have exceptional defenders on the corners, they can play in center field too. I want to put the best offensive lineup on the field without subtracting from our defense. The fact that we have one of the best center fielders in the game when he's healthy defensively in Lagares, it allows us to be thinking a little more offensive."

On the Andrew Miller front, it's not looking likely that the Mets will add him.

"We like him and have had some discussions with him, but fortunately we have some resources we can allocate in different ways," said Van Wagenen. "I think between now and the holidays that's what my goal is...trying to be super aggressive and finding out how to piece these resources together via trade or in free agent signings to fill some of these additional wish lists."

The talk around the Mets has been for the last decade or so that they don't have big-market money to spend, but Van Wagenen wanted to confirm that this team has added payroll and will continue to do so. 

"It's easy for fans, it's easy for sports agents, it's easy for everybody to put an expectation on how much money should be spent when it's not our money," Van Wagenen said. "I recognize that I'm not writing these checks, but I think what I've seen from this ownership group is a willingness to go give me the flexibility to go bring players in house and add payroll. We brought in $120 million contract of Robinson Cano. Obviously, we got some financial relief for that. That guy ends up being a $19 million guy for us going forward, which is real money. We got Cespedes making $29 million. I think that our payroll has continued to escalate. If we do our part and win games, I have firm belief that that payroll will continue to go up. 

You can listen to the entire Joe & Evan interview with the Mets GM below.