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Offseason checklist: Mets’ needs and moves

@AnthonyDiComo
December 24, 2019

The Mets won 86 games in 2019, finishing above fourth place for the first time in three seasons but still 11 games back of the Braves in the National League East. They believe their window for contention is open, but know they must improve the team to act on that

The Mets won 86 games in 2019, finishing above fourth place for the first time in three seasons but still 11 games back of the Braves in the National League East. They believe their window for contention is open, but know they must improve the team to act on that potential.

As they look to do so, MLB.com will keep track of all the Mets’ offseason moves here. Be sure to check back regularly for updates as the winter progresses.

NEEDS ADDRESSED

Starting pitching

To supplement Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz, the Mets acquired a pair of depth starters in Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello. The moves give them what general manager Brodie Van Wagenen called “probably the deepest starting rotation in baseball.” While that much may be up for debate, this much is certain: the moves help not only the rotation, but the bullpen, allowing Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to remain relievers.

Outfield

The Mets’ early December acquisition of Jake Marisnick likely ends their pursuit -- barring a trade -- of other Major League outfielders. Marisnick slots in behind Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis, the latter two of whom may see time in the infield as well.

Relief pitching
The Mets gave their bullpen a jolt by adding Dellin Betances in a Christmas Eve move. The four-time All-Star now joins a relief corps that includes Lugo and Gsellman -- who both appear ticketed for the bullpen -- plus Edwin Díaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson and Brad Brach. Díaz and Familia struggled mightily as the Mets’ closer and setup man in 2019, giving the team reason to bring in a reliable arm like Betances.

MOVES MADE

Dec. 24: An early Christmas gift

Four-time All-Star Betances signed with the Mets on a one-year deal with a player option for 2021. The New York native made only one appearance in 2019, but he reached the 100-strikeout mark in five consecutive seasons from 2014-18, becoming the first reliever to do so, and he had a 2.22 ERA during that stretch.

Dec. 16: Another starter signs

The Mets backed up their signing of Wacha with a one-year deal for Porcello, a New Jersey native who grew up rooting for them. In making those deals, Van Wagenen promised both Wacha and Porcello rotation jobs if healthy. That likely means Matz is headed to the bullpen, though much can happen between December and late March.

Dec. 13: Wacha fills out rotation

Before the ink dried on Zack Wheeler’s new contract with the Phillies, the Mets signed Wacha to a one-year deal to take his spot. To be clear, Wacha isn’t a direct replacement for Wheeler; Stroman, whom the Mets acquired last July, is. But Wacha gives the Mets a veteran starter with upside on a reasonable deal: $3 million, plus more than $7 million in incentives mostly based upon how many games he starts.

Dec. 6: Brach returns

New Jersey native Brach, who showed flashes of nastiness in 16 appearances down the stretch for the Mets, signed a one-year, $850,000 deal with a 2021 player option to return. He could become a key middle-to-late-innings cog after producing a 3.68 ERA after joining the Mets in August.

Dec. 5: Marisnick shores up the outfield

The Mets, who didn’t have a natural center fielder on their roster even as a backup option, acquired Marisnick from the Astros for two Minor Leaguers: left-hander Blake Taylor and outfielder Kenedy Corona. While Marisnick won’t supplant Brandon Nimmo as the team’s everyday center fielder, he gives the Mets the flexibility to use Nimmo in both center and left.

Dec. 5: Mets announce three Minors deals

The Mets signed outfielder Jarrett Parker and infielder Max Moroff to Minor League deals, and they officially announced their previous signing of reliever Chasen Shreve. All three received invitations to big league camp, where they will compete for Opening Day jobs.

Nov. 20: Mets add four, cut one from roster

To protect a quartet of top prospects from the Rule 5 Draft, the Mets added shortstop Andrés Giménez, catcher Ali Sanchez and pitchers Thomas Szapucki and Jordan Humphreys to their 40-man roster. The Mets also designated pitcher Drew Gagnon for assignment and later released him.

Nov. 4: Mets add two lefties to 40-man roster

The Mets selected the contract of Blake Taylor from Triple-A Syracuse and claimed Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the Twins, giving them a bit more left-handed depth in their pitching ranks. Taylor, 24, is a former second-round Draft pick who could have become a Minor League free agent had the Mets not added him to their roster. Gonsalves, 25, was the Twins’ 18th-ranked prospect, but he missed most of 2019 due to injury.

Nov. 1: Lagares, Panik, Hart all become free agents

In what was essentially a formality, the Mets declined outfielder Juan Lagares' $9.5 million contract option for 2020, making him a free agent. The team also attempted to outright second baseman Joe Panik and reliever Donnie Hart to Triple-A Syracuse; both players rejected those assignments to become free agents as well. Lagares, a Gold Glove winner in 2014, had been in the Mets organization since signing as a 17-year-old shortstop in 2006.

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