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Van Wagenen has 'exhilarating' first Meetings

New Mets general manager seeks to improve team in coming weeks
December 13, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- In a word, Brodie Van Wagenen called his first Winter Meetings as a general manager "exhilarating." Touching down in Las Vegas with the intention of fortifying his roster at catcher, in the outfield and in the bullpen, Van Wagenen came away with two new players. He also

LAS VEGAS -- In a word, Brodie Van Wagenen called his first Winter Meetings as a general manager "exhilarating." Touching down in Las Vegas with the intention of fortifying his roster at catcher, in the outfield and in the bullpen, Van Wagenen came away with two new players. He also spawned dozens of rumors ranging from the extreme -- Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees, anyone? -- to the mundane.
By early next week, the Mets intend to finalize a three-year deal for Jeurys Familia, their new setup man in front of closer Edwin Diaz. They also made a Rule 5 Draft selection and, perhaps more importantly as they seek to continue improving their roster, spoke at length with teams and agents regarding catching and outfield help.
"As I came down here, I knew that we wanted to be busy," Van Wagenen said. "We were. I run on adrenaline. We'll see at which point I crash."

If Van Wagenen's pace at the Winter Meetings was any indication, that may be inevitable. But the new GM has no interest in crashing anytime soon.
"Coming out of this week, I think we have a pretty good understanding of the acquisition cost for all the players, both in trades and free agency," he said. "Whether those acquisition costs match up to what we're willing to do and how we're putting this chess board together, time will tell."
Van Wagenen stressed several times that the Mets still have the budget and the desire to improve their roster. Here's a recap of what they accomplished in Las Vegas, and what they still intend to do.
BIGGEST REMAINING NEEDS
1. Catcher: Until the Mets either acquire J.T. Realmuto or another catcher, talk of upgrading behind the plate will remain persistent. The Mets are enamored with the idea of landing Realmuto from the Marlins, but must stomach a high price -- likely at least one of Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto -- to do so. Free agents Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos and Martin Maldonado all remain fallback options for the Mets, as do Red Sox catchers Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon.
2. Outfield: While Van Wagenen has expressed confidence in Juan Lagares as his everyday center fielder, he's been shopping around the longtime Met as he searches for an upgrade. Free agent A.J. Pollock remains the snuggest fit as a right-handed hitter capable of thriving in center, but the Mets also met with the representatives for veteran Adam Jones. They're likely to do something in this area over the coming weeks.
3. Lefty reliever: Familia and Diaz make the Mets' bullpen significantly stronger, but the team still wants to add an experienced lefty to that mix. The Mets don't intend to pursue top-tier options Zach Britton or Andrew Miller, but around a half-dozen cheaper arms exist on the open market. Look for the team to touch base with Jerry Blevins, Oliver Perez, Tony Sipp and others.

RULE 5 DRAFT
The Mets made and kept a Rule 5 Draft pick for the first time in four years, selecting right-handed pitcher Kyle Dowdy away from the Indians. In Dowdy, a hard thrower capable of hitting 98 mph with his fastball, the Mets believe they found rotation depth as well as a potential middle reliever. More >
GM'S BOTTOM LINE
"You'll start to learn about me, I don't think anything's done until it's done. So we'll keep trying to find ways to either improve the bullpen or other areas, and try to make sure we're as good as we can be." -- Van Wagenen

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.