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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen should be free to accept trade offers for all but a few players

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen (L) and

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen (L) and COO Jeff Wilpon look on as manager Mickey Callaway (not pictured) speaks to the media prior to a game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Monday, May 20, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Here’s some hope if you’re a Mets fan: An ESPN report on Wednesday said the team is willing to listen to offers on closer Edwin Diaz before the July 31 trade deadline.

Here’s a list of the other Mets that general manager Brodie Van Wagenen should be willing to listen to offers on: All of them. With the exception of Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.

This isn’t to say the Mets should back up the proverbial truck and begin a lengthy rebuild. There is some talent on this team, more than the record shows. It’s just horribly mismatched, hasn’t performed up to expectations, and hasn’t been managed well.

Still, the Mets have a chance to emerge as a contender in 2020. But for that to happen, the Wilpons have to let Brodie be Brodie.

The Mets didn’t bring in a former agent with no front office experience to take the safe route. They brought him in to be decisive, to do big things, to not be afraid to swing and miss — like it appears he did on the first Diaz deal.

In fact, pretty much every move Van Wagenen made this offseason failed. So he’s due.

The ESPN report said the Mets were looking to hit a “home run” if they deal away Diaz. Good.

 It’s not enough to, for example, trade Zack Wheeler for a middling Double-A prospect or send Todd Frazier packing for the next 24-year-old reliever who throws hard but hasn’t quite panned out yet. The Mets have enough of those, and Mets fans have seen enough of that type of deadline deal over the past few years.

No, Van Wagenen should assemble his brain trust — we assume for these decisions it doesn’t include special advisers John Franco, Al Leiter, Jessica Mendoza and David Wright, the last of whom was at Citi Field on Wednesday looking like the most carefree person in the world — and talk about what kind of talent they need. And then be willing to trade all but their best three players to get it.

Some team wants Noah Syndergaard and his seemingly limitless potential? Take the call. Some general manager sees Amed Rosario not as a centerfielder of the future, but a shortstop of today? Worth thinking about. 

Some playoff team in desperate need of outfield punch looks at Michael Conforto and thinks he’s the final piece? Swallow hard and consider it. Conforto should be on the offensive level of Alonso and McNeil, but he hasn’t taken the step forward this season you would have expected.

 Manager Mickey Callaway, before Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the Padres, said he’s not surprised his players are drawing interest from contenders.

“People want good players,” he said, “and we have a lot of good players.”

Callaway probably didn’t realize he was indicting his own managerial skills.

It’s reasonable to ask why, if the Mets have so many good players, they are tied with Pittsburgh for the second-worst record in the NL at 46-55. It’s also reasonable to ask if the Mets would be better today if Callaway had been fired about six weeks ago — before the season started to spiral into the nothingness where it now resides.

You don’t have to be a super genius to know the Mets need to get better defensively. Poor Dominic Smith’s misadventures on four separate balls in leftfield on Wednesday night were just the latest examples. Perhaps a real centerfielder would help? And of course they need a better bullpen.

But more than any specific position, the Mets need to be bold. That’s why they brought in Van Wagenen in the first place. To be an agent — an ex-agent — of change.

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