NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New second baseman. Check. Nasty closer. Check.
Brodie Van Wagenen’s makeover of the Mets may only be in its early stages, as various reports have said the new general manager is pivoting from the blockbuster trade that brought Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York to working on potential deals to upgrade other spots on the roster.
According to MLB.com, the Mets hope to add an ace starting pitcher, which would allow them to trade Noah Syndergaard with an eye on the future more than on the present. They also want a few relievers, a catcher and maybe an outfielder, the New York Post reported Monday.
The ace the Mets have an eye on is Corey Kluber, Cleveland’s two-time AL Cy Young Award winner. The Indians have made it clear they want to jettison their high-priced stars and execute a sort of reboot, despite the fact that they have made the playoffs the last three seasons. Kluber, a 32-year-old right-hander, is 96-55 with a 3.09 ERA during his eight-year career, including a stellar 56-20 record since the start of the 2016 season.
The 2014 and ’17 Cy Young winner is also relatively affordable, as he’ll make $17 million in 2019. The Indians have club options on him at $17.5 million in 2020 and $18 million in 2021.
It’s unknown how deep the conversations have been between the Mets and Indians, or what New York would have to fork over to land Kluber, but it’s clear Van Wagenen wants to go big-game hunting to put someone of lofty status next to 2018 NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom at the top of the rotation.
Initially, any deal involving Syndergaard, who remains the Mets’ top trade chip on the big league roster, was thought to be for pieces that would help New York win now, but if Van Wagenen can add a pitcher of Kulber’s ilk, he could then turn around an ship off Syndergaard for a number of prospects to help replace what was given to Seattle to land Cano and Diaz.
As for relief pitchers, the Mets have their eyes on free agents Andrew Miller and David Robertson, the Post reported.
With the addition of Diaz, who had 57 saves and a 1.96 ERA for Seattle, and a top-flight set-up man like Miller or Robertson, or both, the Mets can turn their beleaguered bullpen around quickly. Miller, 33, has long been one of the best lefty relievers in the sport. His high-octane fastball and nasty slider make him a problem for opposing hitters, regardless of the side of the plate they stand on. Robertson, 33, has always been reliable, with his 12-to-6 curveball leading to success as both a closer and bridge reliever.
Van Wagenen also wants a catcher. The Post reported he has his eyes on free agent defensive specialist Martin Maldonado, but has also inquired about Wilson Ramos, a free agent who hit .306 with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs for Tampa Bay and Philadelphia last season, and Yasmani Grandal, who turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Mets may also be looking to upgrade in center field. The Post speculated that Van Wagenen may try to move on from oft-injured Juan Lagares, much like he did in cutting ties with infielder Wilmer Flores, and sign free agent A.J. Pollock, who hit .257 with 21 homers and 65 RBIs for Arizona in 2018.