NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Earlier this week, The Mets introduced former CAA agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their head of baseball operations. He showed great poise when speaking to the media, and delivered a vote of confidence to the Mets community going forward. " We will win now, we will win in the future,” Van Wagenen said. “We want to develop a winning culture and a winning mindset and we will deliver this city and this fan base a team they can be proud of.”
Words are just words, and actions are needed in order to fully back it up. Hiring Van Wagenen is a total gamble, but he has skills and colleagues beside him to put together a championship caliber team now and for years to come. But what moves does he need to make to live up to his promise?
This move makes a lot of sense when talking about winning now and for years to come. J.T Realmuto right now is arguably the best catcher in baseball, and is only 27 years old. Right now his prime is rotting away in the rubbish can of a team that the Marlins are. Realmuto is everything you want in a catcher. He is among the best in the league behind the dish, he is a freak of an athlete and is even faster than a lot of Major League outfielders. For a catcher, he is also a tremendous hitter. He slashed a very solid line of a .277 BA/.340 OBP/.484 SLG, poked 21 homers and plated 74 runs for a poor Marlins team. He is also cost friendly as well, as he is only set to make roughly $6 million next season, and is again eligible for arbitration next season, and is set to hit the open market after 2020.
The Marlins asking price for Realmuto should be high, considering the above and the assumption that multiple teams are likely to be checking in on the 27 year old catcher. The Mets are in dire need of an elite catcher if they want to contend, and they do have some ammunition to fire at the Marlins. Even if they play in the same division, the Marlins are not in win-now mode and need to consider giving away their star player, even to a rival, in return for players that will help the team in the future. So what can a potential deal between the two clubs look like?
SS: Andres Gimenez, RHP: Justin Dunn, LHP: David Peterson
C: J.T Realmuto
The Mets are giving up a lot here. They would be parting with their #1, 4, and 6 prospects respectively. Miami would benefit from such a trade, in getting 2 stud prospects in Gimenez and Dunn, and a potential sleeper in Peterson. The Mets would be getting the best backstop they've had since Piazza, and would have him for years to come. Giving up Gimenez may seem crazy, but with Rosario and McNeil solidifying the middle infield, there isn't a spot for Gimenez anytime in the near future. Dunn is what would only make Miami that more interested. He has the potential to be a very solid #2-3 starter and is really turning the corner in his career. The Mets could use him in the long run, but they need a catcher more than ever and if parting with Dunn means getting a star catcher, they have to pull the trigger. David Peterson is just a little sweetener that could turn out to be a solid starter as well, which Miami will need down the road. The Marlins win. The Mets win.
2. Sign Andrew Miller
The biggest flaw on the Mets roster right now is the bullpen. Last season, the Mets bullpen had an ERA of 4.96, which was the 3rd worst in the majors. The Mets were constantly sending arms left and right between New York and Las Vegas (now Syracuse), and are in need of some consistent arms. The pieces in place for next season include; Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Drew Smith, Tyler Bashlor, and Anthony Swarzak. Not a great cast but they have potential and are most likely cracking the pen next season. The Mets are in need of some relief help, especially if the goal is to win now. A big ticket reliever like Miller makes too much sense for the Mets to not get him.
Miller is coming off his worst year as a reliever in recent years, posting a 4.24 ERA in only 34 innings, but injuries were the main reason for such a poor campaign. When Miller is healthy, he is so unique and dominant. Since 2014, he has only had an ERA above 2 twice. 2.02 in 2014 and 2.04 in 2015. What makes Miller unique is that he is very versatile. He can pitch in the 6th, 7th, 8th, or be brought in for the save in the 9th. Mets skipper Mickey Callaway knows because he would use Miller in any given situation when he was the pitching coach in Cleveland. Callaway knows Miller very well and could integrate him into his bullpen. The Mets have versatility already in Gsellman and Lugo, but adding another chess piece in Miller will cause opposing teams headaches in the late innings. Callaway's style of managing a bullpen doesn't call for the traditional setup and closer role, but instead uses analytics and judgement to bring in guys when he feels they need to pitch. Miller better fits that style of play and would be a perfect fit with this team.
3. Sign Manny Machado
I will be the first to admit, I am not a fan of Machado's personalitly. Especially the stunt he pulled on Jesus Aguliar in the NLCS, but he does pack a big punch for the Mets lineup that they desperately need. They have a plethora of lefties already with; Conforto, Bruce, Nimmo, and McNeil. They need a big time righty and Cespedes will miss most if not all of next season, and the Mets need to fill that void in the order. Machado would do just that. Last season, he hit .297 with 37 home runs and 107 runs batted in. He also flashes some of the best quality leather in the bigs. If the Mets could convince him to play third base, he would fill another major hole at the hot corner, and would essentially convince the baseball world that the Mets are serious about contending now. While the media would love the controversy that follows Machado, they Mets would be getting a superstar player that will give deGrom and the rest of the pitching staff run support and a superstar they can call their own for years to come.
Right now, the Mets have a solid foundation of players and a group of young talent being integrated into the Major League club. This is the perfect combination for a team to win now, and to be able to sustain that success for years to come. This window needs execution and and Van Wagenen has the chance of a lifetime to get Mets fans excited and to get Citi Field rockin' for seasons to come. In order to do that, he needs to make these bold moves. They will not only bring excitement and anticipation for next season, but will put a lot of confidence into Van Wagenen and his plan moving foward.