In his year-plus as Mets general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen has shown a clear willingness to spend significant prospect inventory to supplement the major-league roster, most notably in sending Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to Seattle as part of the Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano deal and using Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson to get Marcus Stroman from Toronto.
In year two, maybe not so much.
Van Wagenen said last week at the general managers' meetings that he believes the Mets have the prospect capital to make another big move, but suggested they won’t.
“We feel like we’re in a position where we can continue to hold those players unless there is an overwhelming deal that knocks our socks off,” Van Wagenen said. “We like our farm system. We feel like it continues to grow. We hope that will be the case in this year’s draft as well and the international markets, and then we’ll try to see if there’s any trades that exist from either prospects or 0-to-3 players off our roster, but right now it’s way too early to answer that.”
Van Wagenen’s unsolicited inclusion of “0-to-3 players” — major-leaguers who have fewer than three years of service time and have not reached arbitration yet — is noteworthy.
Dominic Smith falls into that category. If he stays with the Mets, it’s not clear where his at-bats will come. Pete Alonso is entrenched at first base, and while Smith was mostly passable in leftfield, the club has plenty of other corner outfielders.
J.D. Davis also fits. He could be penciled in as the starting leftfielder, but if the Mets acquire a defensive upgrade for centerfield — among their goals this offseason — that will push Brandon Nimmo to left and Davis into playing-time purgatory.
Due largely to the Mets’ trades from the past year, they have a dearth of close-to-the-majors prospects. The exceptions are shortstop Andres Gimenez — who won the Arizona Fall League batting title and is likely to begin 2020 with Triple-A Syracuse — and lefthander David Peterson.
The others, most of whom are considered to have awfully high ceilings, are far away: the young infielders (Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Shervyen Newton), the 2019 draftees (Brett Baty, Matthew Allan, Josh Wolf) and soon-to-be-18-year-old catcher Francisco Alvarez.
Van Wagenen seems disinclined to trade from that pool of players.
“We like our major-league roster right now,” he said. “And we’re only going to make moves from our prospect haul or from our major-league team if it pushes us farther along and accelerates our momentum from our 86 wins last year.”
Peterson on big-league radar
Peterson specifically drew mention from Van Wagenen as he discussed the Mets’ starting pitcher options.
“David Peterson is coming along,” he said. “He pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. We anticipate him to be able to go to Triple-A and be a contributor early in the season in 2020 potentially.”
Like Gimenez, Peterson went to the AFL after an unremarkable year with Double-A Binghamton. He had a 3.46 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 13 strikeouts and eight walks in four starts (13 innings).
Peterson, 24, was the Mets’ first-round draft pick in 2017.
Kilome getting closer
Righthander Franklyn Kilome, who missed all of 2019 after having Tommy John surgery a year ago, is “throwing the ball extremely well” as he continues his rehabilitation in Port St. Lucie, Van Wagenen said.
“All eyes are to him being healthy in 2020,” he added.
The Mets acquired Kilome, 24, in the July 2018 trade that sent Asdrubal Cabrera to the Phillies. Van Wagenen said he doesn't know whether he will be a starter or reliever.
“Hard to say,” he said. “Depends on what our roster looks like when we open camp, but he was acquired as a player that had high upside and I think we still view him that way, even though it’s been a year since we’ve been able to see him throw.”