Mike Freire - Fleeting Thoughts


Good Morning, once again!

Despite my enthusiastic opening, I am a bit subdued today since I am back in Florida after our North Carolina vacation, which also means I am back at work (for a little longer, anyway).   Things can always be worse, right?

Some interesting things have happened in the "baseball world" since my last article, which I will discuss a bit further, later in this article.

1.  The most relevant topic to Mets' fans is the recent decision to hire former "super agent" Brodie Van Wagenen as our next General Manager (or whatever they end up titling his position).  Maybe it is just me, but when I see his name in print, my mind immediately goes to Patrick Swayze's character from Point Break (Bodie) and I envision him saying "If you want the ultimate, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price" at his press conference with a scruffy beard and one of those hooded "surfer shirts" on.

OK, so maybe I spent too much time in the mountains after all.

Joking aside, I am quite skeptical about the listed hire, mainly because the guy HAS NEVER BEEN A GM and he has ZERO experience working in as a baseball executive!

Let that sink in for a second.  That is similar to hiring a recently retired baseball player to be the manager of a Major League team despite the fact that they have never actually managed before.  Yes, they have experience in the game, but it is in a different area and it is unrelated to the demands on the bench.  You have to ask yourself "what is the most likely thing to happen"?

Granted, BVW has a lot of experience as an agent and a supervisor of his agency, so a lot of that will likely transfer to his job with the Mets.  However, there are many aspects to the GM's position that he has not had to deal with, so that is an area of concern that will be heavily scrutinized.  I applaud the "outside the box" thinking here, but I am also expecting some serious bumps in the road ahead.

At least the selection was made before the "hot stove" season is up and running and a plan can be devised and implemented (hopefully).

2.  As I suspected, the Red Sox simply rolled over the Dodgers this past week, winning their fourth title since 2004 in five games.  Wait, what?  OK, so I did predict a Red Sox victory, but I thought that the series would go the distance and I figured the Dodgers would put up much more of a fight.  I was sort of right, I guess.

Watching the tail end of Game Four, you could see the Dodgers' collective spirit slowly break apart once the Red Sox rallied from the 4-0 deficit.  Prior to the rally, the Dodgers won an emotional Game Three (in eighteen innings) and were cruising in Game Four.  After the rally and subsequent 9-6 Red Sox victory, the writing was on the proverbial wall.

What was interesting was HOW the Red Sox won the series (along with the other 115 or so games this year).  Good staring pitching, timely hitting (especially with two outs and runners on base) and a lock down bullpen.  Dare I say they are more of an "old school" type of team?  Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery and I think the Mets should try to emulate that model moving forward.  They already have some of the pieces in place, short of the "lock down" portion of the bullpen, that is.

3.  I know this is a point of contention with some folks, but I think the Mets' off season needs are as follows;  BULLPEN, BULLPEN and BULLPEN.  OK, so you get my first point, but I would also add CATCHER and CENTER FIELD to this list. 

The bullpen is a mess, so that is obvious and we are sorely lacking a catcher who can play 120+games, while helping the pitching staff, playing good defense and posing a threat in the batter's box.  I think those two items are high on BVW's list of "to do's" heading into November and beyond.  What is less obvious is the void in center field, since Juan Lagares simply cannot stay healthy and none of the other candidates on the roster are TRUE center fielders (yeah, you can survive for a bit with Nimmo and/or Conforto out there, but neither are a long term answer, IMO).

No, you need a stud out there who can to and get anything that is hit between your corner outfielders.  But, that player also needs to be able to hit (preferably in the lead off position where speed is an asset).  Lagares can give you the defensive half of that equation, but he is not a threat with the bat and he gets hurt, A LOT.  If I were in charge, I would make center field a priority at least until young Jared Kelenic is ready to take the position over in 2022, or so.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the "comments section" if you agree or disagree.

Stay safe, Mets' fans.


Unknown said...

Van Wagenen - will we get the old WHO classic, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?"

Jeff McNeil better be ready to carry this team on his shoulders. (Why not? Who else will?)

Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen is about right, right, right.

Will the Mets get Realmuto? That would help too.

3 1/2 months to pitchers and catchers - and a much clearer picture.

Florida sounds like a vacation to me!

Mack Ade said...


our new gM will forever be known as... Bodie Van Halen

bgreg98180 said...

Let me ask:
Can 3 above avg defensive outfielders make up for not having an elite centerfielder??

I would think so.

Considering the lack of elite centerfielder available, maybe this would be a better approach for the 2019 season.

Viper said...

Leave it to the Mets to pick the least qualified out of all the GM candidates. It is the usual Mets way of going about fixing their organization; get the least qualified.

Now, I am not saying that Brodie is stupid since he was very successful as an agent, but his hiring just adds another layer to what was present already and he will have to rely on Omar, Ricco and Ricciardi.

I can see what Omar is doing because the minors are being infused with better players but I have no idea what the other two GM's are doing.

First order of business for our new minted GM is to extend the contract to deGrom and Wheeler (you can't let him walk now can you?).

Next, sign Ramos, bring back Familia and sign at least another high quality BP arm. Get better bench players.

Next, try to find another home for Bruce.

Go hard after international players.

That's a start

Unknown said...

Viper - from your lips to Van Halen's ears!

bgreg98180 said...

Ramos- 32 year old catcher next year.

Mets have been burnt too many times on 30+ yr old free agents.

I would rather urge learning from past mistakes.

Aim for younger and more productive. Do what's needed to add Realmuto to the Mets core.

Mack Ade said...

I became a much more successful GM when I stopped tryin to do everythin myself and delegated authority.

I let my proram director... program.

I let my sales manager... manage sales.

I let my Chief Engineer... Engineer.

And i steered the ship from the deck.

Maybe the plan is for Bodie to handle trades, free agents, and contracts and let the Troika handle the day to day of the other stuff, reporting to him for a final okay.

Rustyjr said...

Can’t we give the guy a chance before we bury him ? I mean hell Cashen was a a ad writer fir a brewery before he became the gm of the Orioles - givevthe guy at least a year before we bury him

Reese Kaplan said...

Yes, after all Sandy Alderson had a Great baseball resume and that got you a losing record over eight seasons.

Dan B said...

Get 2-3 serious bullpen arms.

Trade for Realmuto (anyone but Alonso is on the table - I expect this to be all minor leaguers)

Don’t sign a CF this year. You need the fliability to move Bruce around Since they’re not going to dump him and it’s not an obvious area of need. This is who you have as your lineup.


You can rearange the back six in a bunch of different ways. Smith is there to keep 1B warm until Alonso comes up mid season. Alternatively Cespedes can come back mid season and you put him in the outfield and move Bruce to first.

I would let both Vargas and Lugo prep as starters and compete in spring training. I wouldn’t give it to Lugo just because he “won” the competition. Vargas would have to be bad as well.

I think the above is a reonable plan. If you can pry Realmuto away the Marlins. Sign one of Ramos or Grandal. Not a bad back up and you don’t use any trade chips.

The only other big upgrade I would advocate for, and it would be a BIG upgrade, would be to sign Machado. Put him at 3rd and use Frazier at 1st until Alonso is ready or off the bench. Here’s your lineup by midseason.

Bruce / Cespedes platoon of insanity!

Personally I think adding Machado would be a transformative move for this team but if we get a good chatcher and 2-3 bullpen studs, and have Relativie health (big if I know) then I think the Mets are contenders. If you add Machado to the mix the Mets should run away with the devision and have as good a shot as anyone in the post season.

It’s the off season and the Mets are tied for first! I know this is through my orange and Blue colored glasses but I happen to agree. With the talent base we have I think the Mets should go for it over the next 2-3 years and I hope that Brodie spends big on premium players to makes this push. No more spreading it around crap. If the Wilpons blow this window by being cheap I might lose my mind...

Mack Ade said...


You aren't going to get red meat by offering oatmeal.

You must have the lead chip in any Realmuto deal as either Alonso or Gimenez.

TexasGusCC said...

Daniel, you had me nodding until the Machado part. Look at his career splits away from Camden Yards. He’s a 137 RC+ at Camden and 104 RC+ away. Meaning, his OPS is .888 at Camden and .741 away. Plus, last year his RC+ at SS was 144, but only 106 at 3B. He’s moody and emotional and he won’t last a minute in NYC. And he’s an a-hole?

bgreg98180 said...

Or Rosario?

bgreg98180 said...

20 + other teams would love to have Machado on their team.

Can't be that bad

Viper said...

What describe is what Alderson did towards the end of his time as Mets GM. How did it work?

Bob and Daniel,

You are not getting Realmuto unless you are sending Gimenez, Alonzo, Dunn or Lugo back to the Marlins. It wouldn't surprise me if they wanted all four. Is that a price this franchise can afford at this time? Only the true animals would be left in the farm if they traded for Realmuto.

So Daniel, if Realmuto is in the lineup, Alonso is not.

bgreg98180 said...

Add Realmuto, Machado.
Already have MacNeil, Alonzo (Rosario would be my trade piece), Conforto, and Nimmo give us 6!! Core players that are all in their mid 20's (years of age).

Would I put a reasonable market value trade package together from Rosario, Alonzo, Gimenez, Dunn, & Lugo on the table?

Absolutely, as long as it is market value.

A good defensive/offensive catcher with a good health history, works well with pitchers and fits into a young team core is very hard to find.

Mack Ade said...

Fine Viper

We will judge Alderson on the end of his career while he was battling cancer and let the guy with no GM experience handle all facets of the job.


I would handle the trades, negotiations, free agents, dealing with agents

I would put Omar in charge of my International division

I would DFA Ricco.

I would keep J P around to assist me.

I would hire a new hot shot guy with draft experience to handle that aspect of the organization

bgreg98180 said...

Best leaders surround themselves with people that are smarter than them and delegate to their strengths.

Unknown said...

Bob, that's why Mack has Reese and Mike :)

Although Mack is as smart as they come :)

Viper said...

I understand about delegating. My point is that if it was working as expected, the Mets owners wouldn't have felt they needed another voice, direction, another executive and would have just made one of the three the permanent GM.

Bob, when you trade for Realmuto, you are getting two years of control while giving four or five years of control in Rosario who had a very good year. When you trade other prospects you are giving up six years of control. Rosario could very well put everything together in 2019 and have a breakout year.

Lets look at it another way. You don't trade for Realmuto using Rosario unless you're getting Machado. But you then have to ask yourself, what are the chances that the Mets dish out the necessary money to sign Machado? You have to know that Machado is not going to do it by himself (just ask the Dodgers), you need BP, better bench, a healthy and motivated Cespedes, etc.

Boys and Girls, this is the time of the year the Mets start to promise Cinderella only to end up with the Wicked Witch at the end.
I'm going to wait, hope for the best because I have seen this movie before.

bgreg98180 said...

In order to get something, a team has to give something.

The Alderson thinking of always looking to get something by giving up unwanteds has to evolve.

Adding Machado and Realmuto improves the Mets now and for the next 4 years more than Rosario + Ramos helps the Mets now and the next 6 years

bgreg98180 said...

Add to this Gimenez waiting in the wings.

Instead of instantly looking to change the team every single year, it would be nice to establish a strong core that stays consistent.

Mack Ade said...

I'm coming around to B-Greg's thinking...

Bite the bullet.

Trade none of your core 'red' pipeline prospects

Re-negotiate deGrom and Wheeler

DFA every contract in hopes of someone coming back with substantial International money. If not, pull the players back and ride this out until the 2020 contracts run out

Invest heavily in the scouting department

Mike Freire said...

Boy, Machado is quite the "lightning rod", isn't he?

I love the idea of him on the roster and at third base (I think he is a better defensive third baseman and we have a ton of depth at SS), but I have some serious heartburn over the contract that it will take.

30-35 million per year is crazy! Plus, how long of a contract will he want? 5 years, or more?

Not saying I am opposed, but that is a large commitment for one guy when you have multiple needs.

Mike Freire said...

Wheeler is another interesting case.

Do you sell high? Or, has he truly figured things out and is worthy
of a long term extension?

Remember, a year ago, there was talk of non-tendering him because he couldn't stay
healthy and he was a bit erratic (control, etc).

Dan B said...

I'm okay giving Gimenez. The only person I don't want to give up (especially to the Marline where he'll kill the mets for 6 years) is Alonso. Any other combination of minor leagues I would readily part with.

I would do all of that before considering Machado because I actually think a good catcher and quality relief are more important to this team. I'd also keep an eye on Donaldson but he's a dark horse who I would not overpay for.

TexasGusCC said...

Gimenez is no big loss. His skill set is easily replaceable.

Unknown said...

Exciting off-season times lie ahead. Fasten seat belts.

TexasGusCC said...

Bob, when you say “would love to have him” are you saying at any cost or are you saying in his pre-FA days?

Unknown said...

Off topic, Fred Caligiuri turned 100 just 10 days ago - only living MLB player 100 years old. Pitched for the Philly Athletics in 1941 and 1942.

Happy birthday, Fred. He was only 2-5 in his career but his best stat is ASL - Age Still Alive!

Viper said...

Wheeler is a slow healer. That's why it took so long for him to come back to TJ. Now that he is healthy, you can't just trade him. His stuff was comparable to that of deGrom when he put it all together this year.

He is example "A" on where you take a chance on and extend him.

I like to think that I look at things logically. I do not see any way that the Wilpons dish out over 300M for Machado, extend deGrom and Wheeler, fix the BP by getting a true closer + another great BP arm.

But hey, I might feel differently after a bottle of wine or two.

bgreg98180 said...

Focusing on his talent and ability to contribute to a team.

Of course I e some teams can not afford the same as others.

Consider Conforto, MacNeil, Rosario/Gimenez, Nimmo, and Alonzo are young and less expensive, Machado should be affordable when adding to the equation an eye to a more regular appearance in th he post season

bgreg98180 said...

Cf Nimmo
2b McNeil
Ss Machado
Lf Conforto
C Realmuto
1B Bruce/Alonzo
3B Frazier
Rf Bruce/new OF

Look toward moving and replacing Bruce and Frazier when possible

Gary Seagren said...


Gary Seagren said...

Look we spend every season waiting for FA contracts to run out counting down the years, months and days till they expire or looking to another team for a salary dump. Machado doesn't care what he says or does and is pretty much the epitome of a self centered ballplayer and this is BEFORE he signs his mega deal....for me no thanks been there and done that. I too like B-Greg's thinking lets keep our own and build a BP and go defense first at catcher. As far BVW no other GM candidate knows the organization and the Wilpons as well as he and like Maggie Grace said on SNY the other day "he knows where all the bodies are buried" so let give the guy a chance.

bill metsiac said...

How do you pull back a DFA? Aren't they non-reversible?

Mike Freire said...

@Viper......I would extend Wheeler without hesitation IF I knew he was going to stay healthy and produce like he did the second half of 2018.

I would be lying if I said I was skeptical, but I am also OK with being wrong in cases like this.

I wonder how much and how long for Zack?

That Adam Smith said...

If they’re aiming to contend right away, I’d think they need to go hard for Realmuto. Start with Gimenez and either Kay or Dunn, add a low minors lottery ticket and see how that flies. Only, of course, if you can exten Realmuto beyond the two years left on his deal. Then it’s on to getting rid of Bruce.

TexasGusCC said...

My point is at his expectant price, I wouldn’t even touch this guy. He’s a Camden Yards product that will tie up about 15% of your payroll with expectations on where he wants to play (based on his production by position this year) and by when he feels like putting in the extra effort.

TexasGusCC said...

Folks, I can’t commit to Wheeler unless it’s a good deal because I fear that his salary will be sitting on the DL for too much of it. The guy has had one healthy year and that with bone shots that I’m not even sure are legal because they are artificial strengtheners and I thought all artificial enhancers were a big no-no.

Viper said...


The time to extend Wheeler is now. Once the season starts, it makes more sense for him to test the free agent market.

The Mets should offer a 2 year 20M with 2 team options at 15M each.

Why would Wheeler sign this? because of his health history. This contracts guarantees at least 20M for him when he is being paid around 3M now.

Why would the Mets? because it protects the Mets if Syndergaard gets hurt with another top of the line arm. It also allows the Mets to trade Wheeler with 3 years of control if the Mets fall on their faces again. Is 20M too much to risk on Wheeler? I think not.

TexasGusCC said...

I don’t see why he wouldn’t sign in-season, but I have no qualms about your idea.

Anonymous said...

what part of NC?
I go for the catcher, gimenez included

Anonymous said...

A lot of very interesting posts today.

I think in summary that most posters feel that the catcher position here is of utmost importance. I concur. The problem simply is that there are so very few really good catchers out there to acquire.

Within the Mets organization, you have to go down to A Ball I think to find a "potential starting catcher." That's the problem really. All the other catchers are best suited as backups. They kept d'arnuad on the 40-man roster I saw yesterday. But to pencil him in as a starting catcher may not be wise considering he is so injury prone.

So going outside the organization really is the only immediate remedy to fix the NY Mets catcher position. Yasmani Grandal re-signed with the Dodgers already, so scratch his name off the list.

Anonymous said...

To try and get both JT Realmuto and Machado...

I think the NY Mets would have a better chance of getting hit by lightning. And let's hope that does not happen.

Manny Machado is still only 26 and Realmuto 27, so really they are in their prime right now and have future left in them still. It's not like some 34 year old on the decline Free Agent who has already made his money.

Rumor online right now is NYY Gary Sanchez in a package for Miami's JT Realmuto. Mets should maybe inquire about Gary Sanchez too. The Yankees are unfortunately up against Boston for several more years, but the Red Sox are slightly better currently. So what do the Yankees need most? Probably starting pitching. Everything else seems covered. Maybe another reliever too.

So what could the Mets send over to the Bronx for Gary Sanchez?

Maybe something like Dunn or Kay, and Lugo perhaps. Makes sense. Throw in Mazeika and then get along with Sanchez a MiLB Yankee too of worth and merit?

Talking outloud.

Anonymous said...

What's another trade that I like and have mentioned already, but I like ti a lot!

Mets send Gimenez and Lugo to Boston for 3B Chavis or Dalbec and P Darwinzon Hernandez the lefty kid. Boston probably will need a new second baseman. They have Pedroia and Holt, but Pedroia is still injured and has had two operations on his knee already, and is getting older now. Holt is a spark plug, but when starting consecutive games he struggles a bit. He could play optimally in a platoon situation, and that could be where Gimenez would come in until Andres wins over second base there.

Boston's MiLB players Chavis and Dalbec both play third base, hit well and hit with power. Either one might be an upgrade here really. Gimenez is going to be very good, but with Rosario and McNeil the Mets already like what they see I think. Plus, both Rosario and McNeil were rookies in 2018 and established a nice base already. So they are all upside from here I bet.

Seth Lugo can start or relieve, throws hard and is also established now within MLB.

I'd probably keep Jay Bruce and make him be like the NBA's valuable sixth man in for all first base, left field and right field posiitons. Then too, Jay could be that late-inning pinch hitter with homerun pop too. So yes, Jay Bruce would be valuable to this team in 2019 and be playing a lot.

Anonymous said...

re: Daniel Barnaby Jones's Posting...

The one where he mentions not going after a 32 year old bad kneed catcher in Wilson Ramos. I concur. Unless his knees get checked out first by an orthopedic surgeon and "green lighted" and the Mets call AFLAC or something to line up some insurance on him.

Older players have these two major issues I believe anyway: A. Their older and their bodies may (more often that not) feel and show it. B. Chances are that they have been playing awhile (maybe 8-10 seasons MLB) so they have made enough money already to possibly not care as much as they once may have done when they started out in the majors.

Think about it in your own job.

You win $10 million in your state's lottery jackpot, let's say Powerball because we'd all love to win that one once. You celebrate, buy yourself and family a new mansion, and a yacht over the weekend. Then on Monday you go in to work again, as you had always done. You are sitting at your desk and thinking to yourself, "Why am I here again? Do I really need to be?"

You're human and you start not to care as much about work, unless of course you are a throwback type person to the WWI or WWII era people we once had here. That was a totally different mindset altogether, one that this country severely misses. See what I am saying here? It's human with a lot of people who have made it, not to care as much.

I won't name players names here on this team, but it is probably this same way on every sports team in every professional sport. People in today's world tend to be super motivated by making money. And once they do, forget about it, they are not breaking a sweat ever again.

Would I be this way too?

A: Probably. It's really just a human thing. At the very least, I'd retire earlier than I had planned and move to somewhere nice and warm all the time, and go live like I never have but always wanted to.

Mack's Mets © 2012