Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen will soon be in San Diego with his contingent and representatives from the 29 other clubs as the annual Winter Meetings begin.
The meetings officially start on Monday, Dec. 9 and conclude on Dec. 12. But things could start percolating as early as Sunday, when many of the most important movers and shakers start to arrive.
With the Mets having been relatively quiet so far this offseason (as their NL East rivals have been aggressive) and with them having a bunch of important holes they still need to fill, Van Wagenen will be peppered with questions the first time he speaks in San Diego.
Here's what he should be asked...
How might Steve Cohen becoming majority owner change things now and in the future?
Billionaire Steve Cohen is in negotiations with Sterling Partners to increase his invesemtent in the Mets. With the expectation being that he will become majority owner if the agreement goes through, the first question Van Wagenen is asked could be about what it means for the present and the future of the franchise.
The odds are on Van Wagenen giving a by-the-book answer here since the negotiations are ongoing, but it will still be interesting to hear what he says about the potential of one of the richest people in the world taking over control of the team and whether it could mean the Mets will be big players in the high-end free agency market soon.
How do the Mets plan to catch up to and surpass their more aggressive NL East rivals?
Aside from trading for Jake Marisnick and bringing back Brad Brach, the Mets haven't done anything of note this offseason player-wise. As they have been largely inactive, the Phillies signed Zack Wheeler and are thirsty for more, the Braves have been incredibly active and might not be done, and the Nationals are trying to retain Stephen Strasburg or Anthony Rendon. If that fails, the Nats are expected to set their sights on other big-name free agents.
With the rest of the division improving, how does Van Wagenen expect to keep up and turn the 2020 Mets into viable contenders for the NL East?
With the team close to the luxury tax threshold and a bunch of holes to fill, what's the plan?
The Mets are roughly $17 million dollars under the $208 million luxury tax threshold, and they still need to add to their bullpen, find a starting pitcher, and perhaps find a backup catcher.
Asked earlier this offseason whether the Mets would be willing to exceed the luxury tax threshold for the first time in their history, Van Wagenen bobbed and weaved a bit. He should be asked again, since it doesn't seem possible for the Mets to fill all of their needs properly without going over it.
And no, attaching a player like Dominic Smith to a short-term salary dump in order to clear payroll would not be a proper way to avoid exceeding the luxury tax.
Did the team make an effort to retain Zack Wheeler?
Van Wagenen said earlier this offseason that he would continue dialogue with Wheeler's camp. Before signing with the Phillies, Wheeler reportedly circled back to the Mets, who did not extend an offer.
The word "offer" can be part of a semantics game sometimes, meaning a team can let a player know how much they're willing to pay without officially submitting an offer. So did the Mets let Wheeler know how far they were willing to go?
Now that Wheeler is gone, what is the plan? Do they prefer to sign or trade for someone to fill the last spot in the rotation or do they plan to move Seth Lugo to the rotation? And if Lugo moves to the rotation, how many innings can he provide?
Has there been any dialogue about extensions with the team's young, under control players?
The Mets have a lot of money clearing from the payroll after the 2020 season, and they could be in good position to offer contract extensions to some of their younger players in order to lock them up before they hit free agency.
At the top of the list because they're set to be free agents sooner rather than later should be Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard, though the future of Syndergaard as a Met is very much up in the air.
It could also be smart to try to get some cost certainty and extra years of control when it comes to players such as Amed Rosario, Pete Alonso, and Jeff McNeil.