Van Wagenen: Mets Will Prioritize Bullpen, Starting Pitching Depth This Offseason

The GM Also Had A Positive Update On Yoenis Cespedes

Alex Greenberg
December 09, 2019 - 7:43 pm

Major League Baseball’s winter meetings are officially underway, and the buzz in San Diego is mostly about the two big deals that may be about to be completed.

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Stephen Strasburg is apparently staying with the Nationals, and the Yankees are desperately trying to out-recruit the Angels and Dodgers in order to sign Gerrit Cole. Those two ace pitchers have been dominating headlines, but the Mets already have their aces on staff.

The Mets weren’t really in for Strasburg, and they aren’t contenders for Cole. That being said, they're still after some new arms. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen spoke Monday to the media at the winter meetings about the team’s desire to focus on pitching depth this offseason.

“I think the priorities still are gain some starting pitching depth, create some bullpen depth.” said Van Wagenen. “As we talked about before, in terms of whether (Seth) Lugo and (Robert) Gsellman become that starting pitching depth. If they do, then we need to create some coverage in the bullpen, or vice versa.”

The Mets might have been able to complete their miraculous second half playoff push if their bullpen had been a bit better. Mickey Callaway’s team blew quite a few leads throughout the campaign, and the manager himself faced criticism for his handling of the relievers.

Edwin Diaz was particularly disappointing. The closer was acquired from the Mariners in the trade that also brought Robinson Cano to Queens. Diaz struggled heavily in 2019, but his new manager, Carlos Beltran, seems to still have him in his plans for next season.

Edwin Diaz
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Van Wagenen and company could also opt to add a starter. Zach Wheeler is on the verge of joining the Phillies, but the acquisition of Marcus Stroman during the season helps lesson the blow from that loss.

Despite the focus on pitching, Van Wagenen didn’t rule out moves for players in other areas.

“We may still look for some other supplemental depth pieces, whether it’s behind the plate or in the infield. But I’d say those are probably our primary focuses right now … We have a lot of our needs, quote un-quote ‘needs,’ already filled. It’s a matter of how we can create upgrades, whether it’s in terms of depth or whether it’s in terms of higher impact.”

Van Wagenen also had some encouraging news about Yoenis Cespedes. He confirmed that the Mets outfielder has resumed baseball activities.

“He has resumed baseball activities. He’s been swinging the bat now for several weeks and we’re hoping that he can continue his progression and hopefully make progress as we head toward spring training … if he’s at his best, he’s a high-impact performer. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Van Wagenen didn’t want to discuss the ownership situation with the Mets, but he said it was “business as usual, from my perspective” when he was asked about the effect on the team of Steve Cohen’s takeover.