NEW YORK -- Speaking Friday at a "Metsgiving" charity event in Queens, Mets chief operating owner Jeff Wilpon said he didn't want to discuss whether his payroll would increase or decrease with new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen making decisions."Everybody counts it differently," Wilpon said. "Is insurance money in or
NEW YORK -- Speaking Friday at a "Metsgiving" charity event in Queens, Mets chief operating owner Jeff Wilpon said he didn't want to discuss whether his payroll would increase or decrease with new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen making decisions.
"Everybody counts it differently," Wilpon said. "Is insurance money in or out? Are you counting that twice, or once? So, [Van Wagenen] knows where we are now, and what's committed. And whether or not trades get done, or it's all done through free agency, we're taking a look at that."
If the Mets don't make a bold play for a Manny Machado type, their quickest path to improvement may require trading from a position of strength. While Wilpon noted that "any deal would have to be pretty lopsided," he didn't outright dismiss rumors that the Mets could deal Noah Syndergaard this winter. A 26-year-old with a 2.93 career ERA and three years of team control remaining, Syndergaard would command a ransom in any trade.
"I'm sure everybody wants Syndergaard," said Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who also attended the team's charity event. "He's a pretty good pitcher."
That was about as specific as Wilpon and Callaway got after delivering a Thanksgiving meal to a family in Queens, as part of a month-long "Metsgiving" initiative. When asked about the club's search for bench and hitting coaches, Callaway answered only that he intends to find the best candidates possible. When asked repeatedly about money, Wilpon said, "Brodie knows what the parameters of what the payroll is and what we're planning to do." When asked about ways to improve the roster, Callaway replied that "you never know what's going to be available until you're able to acquire them."
Trading Syndergaard would be a creative way to shake up things in a hurry, though for now, it's more of a buzzy idea than a tangible possibility. Realer is the prospect of negotiating a long-term contract with National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. Wilpon said he expects to speak to deGrom's new agent at some point this winter, though he stopped short of calling a deGrom extension a priority. Instead, Wilpon indicated the Mets will examine trade possibilities up and down their roster, then dive into free agency before talking money with any of their returning players.
"There's a lot of things that are priorities," Wilpon said. "We didn't win many games last year, so we've got a lot of priorities."
Specifics aside, Wilpon and Callaway both stated the obvious: that the Mets must improve upon their 77-win performance this summer. Current analytics models project the Mets to win around 80 games in 2019, according to Wilpon, who hopes to bump that number up to 90 before Opening Day.
"We have to win more games," Wilpon said. "We have too good a pitching staff, and Mickey and [pitching coach] Dave Eiland did an excellent job with what we had, but we've got to score some more runs. We've got to put runs on the board, and let these guys pitch, and hold that lead. And how we do that? Where that comes from? Brodie has multiple different scenarios of how to get those runs, and take us from what's projected right now in the low-80s, to a 90-win team."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.