Brodie Van Wagenen may be a rookie general manager, but he deserves credit for making sure the Mets didn’t give in on J.T. Realmuto.
Wilson Ramos is not nearly the catcher that J.T. Realmuto is. Even so, he’s the right guy to start for the Mets in 2019. Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets front office were smart to strike quickly to sign Ramos instead of waiting around for the Marlins to make a deal.
The Mets have been locked in negotiations to acquire Realmuto for the majority of the offseason, but Sunday’s move to ink Ramos to a two-year, $19 million deal signal those talks are now over. The Marlins may still move their star before the winter ends, but they will lose a little bit of leverage with the Mets out of the race.
As a former agent, Van Wagenen understands the complicated dynamics of negotiating a trade for a talented player like Realmuto. If a team hangs in negotiations too long, it makes them start to look desperate. The Mets were certainly starting to look that way in their talks with the Marlins.
Things would be different if Realmuto were the missing piece for a team ready to mount a World Series challenge. The Mets just aren’t in that position. Their front office deserves credit for admitting they have multiple holes to fill. Bringing in Realmuto would have cost them a ton of talent in return. It would have been almost impossible for the Mets to make that kind of trade without creating several more holes for their front office to fill.
As a result, the Mets made a solid, but unspectacular decision to bring Ramos into the fold. Signing him isn’t going to catapult the team into the spotlight, but the deal should provide Van Wagenen and company with really good value. 2019 will represent his age 31 season and he posted a solid WAR of 2.7 last year. If he can come close to duplicating that during the next two seasons, it’ll give the Mets a significant upgrade behind the plate.
The key for Van Wagenen moving forward will be to remain patient. If he keeps hitting singles and doubles in free agency it will allow him to build the Mets into a contender in relatively short order. Signing Ramos instead of overpaying for Ramos should be an encouraging sign for fans in Queens.