NEW YORK -- In slipping a jersey over his shoulders Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, Jed Lowrie, for all intents and purposes, completed the primary arc of the Mets' offseason. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen will continue to keep tabs on the remaining free agents, and he may even make
NEW YORK -- In slipping a jersey over his shoulders Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, Jed Lowrie, for all intents and purposes, completed the primary arc of the Mets' offseason. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen will continue to keep tabs on the remaining free agents, and he may even make another minor move or two. But while he stopped short of confirming that the Mets are done spending for the winter, Van Wagenen hinted several times to that end.
Simply put, Van Wagenen is satisfied not only that the Mets are better than last season, but that they have become the class of the National League East. Even if Bryce Harper or Manny Machado -- or both -- land in the division, Van Wagenen feels confident that it won't push his team out of realistic contention.
"We want to win the pennant," Van Wagenen said after Lowrie finalized his two-year, $20 million contract Wednesday. "And after that, we want to win the World Series. So I'm less concerned about what other teams in the division are doing, or what the Dodgers are doing, or what the Cubs are doing. There's a lot of good teams. … And I hope that those guys continue to get themselves better because we'll go slug it out with them every day."
Van Wagenen's confidence stems in part from Lowrie, his former client, who rejuvenated his career with perhaps his best two seasons in 2017-18. Combined, Lowrie hit .272 with 37 homers and an .804 OPS for the A's, playing mostly second base.
With the Mets, the switch-hitter figures to start many days at third base (Todd Frazier can shift to first), some at shortstop and some at second, occupying the No. 2 hole in New York's lineup. In Van Wagenen's mind, Lowrie's signing eliminates any last remaining "what if's" on the Mets' roster, pushing Jeff McNeil to the outfield to bolster depth there.
Some believe the Mets would have been better served acquiring Harper, Machado or even A.J. Pollock, but Van Wagenen indicated earlier this offseason that his budget wouldn't allow him to do that while also addressing all other areas of need. The GM wouldn't discuss budget matters Wednesday, other than to indicate that the Mets, who feature a slightly higher payroll than they did last Opening Day, are likely done making large expenditures.
"We'll never rule out looking at great players, and if we can find a way to make deals happen, we'll be creative with it," Van Wagenen said. "But I think from a fit standpoint, both in the outfield and the infield, we're in a pretty good position as we go forward."
Pitching is another matter, particularly in the rotation, where the Mets have little established depth beyond their top five starters. But Van Wagenen pointed to free-agent signing Hector Santiago and Rule 5 Draft pick Kyle Dowdy as reasons to be confident, offering optimism that the Mets are well covered in that area.
"They haven't been the [most] high-profile names," Van Wagenen said, "but if you look under the surface, we've added a lot of depth on the pitching side as well."
If Harper lands with the Nationals and Machado with the Phillies, the Mets may have a public relations challenge ahead of them. Van Wagenen says he logs on to Twitter every day, where fans beg incessantly for him to sign Harper or Pollock.
Likely, those cries will go unanswered. Van Wagenen believes the Mets are already where they need to be.
"I think that we're a good team," the GM said. "I think that we're a complete team. I think that we're a balanced team. We've got veterans. We've got youth. We've got a hunger and a desire to win. I look forward to showing people that we're a team to be reckoned with, and let's not be shy about wanting to be the best. I fully expect us to be competitive and to be a winning team. Our goal is to win a championship and it starts with the division. So come get us."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.