NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets have added pieces to the puzzle, but many fans are upset the team hasn’t been in the running for the big name free agents, specifically Bryce Harper.
Harper is the biggest free agent on the market. He’s a former Rookie of the Year, a six-time All-Star and he’s only 26 years old. He has already won an MVP, doing so with the Washington Nationals in 2015.
The leading contender to land him is reportedly an NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. Right now, the Mets are not in contention, CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported Wednesday.
The question is, why?
“Anything is possible, but we have to be realistic about the way the team is built right now,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Wednesday, the same day the Mets introduced infielder Jed Lowrie, their latest free-agent signing. “There aren’t many players on the position player side that fit our team the way we’ve currently constructed it.”
Since falling in five games in the World Series to the Kansas City Royals in 2015, the Mets made the playoffs the next year but have been a below-.500 operation the last two seasons. They have attempted to rectify the situation by adding big-name All-Stars like Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and Wilson Ramos this offseason, but their overall payroll projects to be in the same ballpark as it has been in recent years.
So why should fans believe 2019 will be any different as the team continues it quest for its first world title since 1986.
“These are not insignificant moves that lack resources,” Van Wagenen said. “These are strategic value add moves that make us better on a day-by-day basis. We didn’t wait until ‘Black Friday’ to shop for our team. We’ve been aggressive and assertive and done it from Jump Street.”
Still, go on Twitter any time the Mets make a move and all of the comments are about Harper and complaints about the Amazins’ refusing to go the extra mile to make the team an NL powerhouse.
Harper would not only become an MVP-caliber centerpiece for years to come, but also would weaken a divisional opponent. His price is expected to be more than $30 million a year. His signing would send the message that the Mets are serious not just about winning, but winning big.
“We can all dream about which players we would love to have on this team, but every player I’ve acquired is a player I dreamed about being on this team,” Van Wagenen said.