Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen

AP Photo

Keidel: Where Are The Bats, Brodie? 

Jason Keidel
November 09, 2018 - 12:19 pm
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It's good to see that Brodie Van Wagenen, the new Mets GM with the movie star looks and Bond villain name, is optimistic about his new troops.

He's even playing the Pollyanna, asserting that the club will win a fistful of World Series rings, that Tim Tebow will somehow make the majors, and thankfully changed his mind about plopping Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard on the trade table. The Mets are bullish on bullpen help, vowing to court southpaw reliever Andrew Miller. The former Yankee is among a long platter of relief pitchers, including Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, Cody Allen, and Adam Ottavino. All good news considering the Mets' bullpen ERA ranked 28th in MLB (according to MLB.com).

But where are the bats, Brodie? 

Just a few murmurs about J.T. Realmuto, who would be a nice move if there weren't a swath of better offers from other teams - led by the Braves - for the Marlins catcher who just won the NL Silver Slugger Award. As consolation, the Mets turn their attention to free agent catchers Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos. Yawn.

The Mets are on the hunt for a new bench and hitting coach. Yawn.

Van Wagenen walked back his giddy assertions about Tebow, conceding he will start the season in Triple-A. The Mets are also psyched about high-end prospect Peter Alonso, who's become a YouTube highlight for turning on a 103 mph fastball and bashing it over the fence.  Any time you can mold and promote your own, that's a good thing, but this doesn't have the hype commensurate to the GM's childlike, Christmas Eve enthusiasm over his new ball club. 

When you roam the reports over the mating dances with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, there's nary a word from Flushing. When baseball execs broke the huddle in Carlsbad, CA - where the 2018 GM meetings were just held - there were no whispers, murmurs, or rumors about the Mets flirting with either All-Star free agent. 

Why not?

You may call yours truly a hypocrite for warning the Yankees against signing Harper or Machado, the former turning down a $300 million offer to stay with the Nationals. But while the Yanks don't need another big-ticket position player for a lineup that finished in the top-three in every salient statistic, the Mets need to at least flirt with the biggest free agents on the market.

Van Wagenen Says No Contract Proposals Yet For DeGrom

In spite of their lost season, the Mets have a sound base of starting pitching. Despite his 10-9 record, Jacob deGrom had one of the best summers for a starter in 100 years. Syndergaard had a quietly solid season. And Zach Wheeler is finally healthy and pitching up to projections. If Steven Matz - who's already warming up to Van Wagenen - can keep his health and tweak his arsenal, the Mets will have quite a robust rotation.

Van Wagenen can't parachute into Queens, boast about his team's potential to Mike Francesa, assure the Big Apple that the Mets are back, then meekly tiptoe across the hot stove embers. With the new face of the Mets and his corresponding bluster, you'd like to think Van Wagenen has the backing of the Wilpon family. If they haven't given him the green light and cracked open the club's wallet, then why all the optimism? 

Francesa implored the Mets GM to apologize for declaring that Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner widely considered one of the best college football players in history - could well make the Mets' opening day roster. We don't need an apology for that. We could use one for the product the Mets have rolled onto Citi Field the last two years. After shocking the world while reaching the 2015 World Series, the Mets have plunged down the rungs of relevance. 

Don't ask Mets fans to spend on the team if the team won't do the same. So more effective than an apology would be a revival, an aggressive winter to keep your hearts warm, and deliver a few free agents we've actually heard of next spring. And at least try to bag a really big one. 

Twitter: @JasonKeidel