Enough trade talk! Mets GM should keep his studs and spend

LAS VEGAS — Jeurys Familia: Very good relief pitcher. Homegrown Met. Clubhouse leader.


Yes, the three-year, $30 million contract the Mets will pay to bring back Familia after a brief stay in Oakland, assuming the right-hander passes his physical examination, should serve as the road map for how they proceed for the rest of Brodie Van Wagenen’s first offseason.

For if they truly want to contend both immediately and in the future, as Van Wagenen has vowed, then they should be hoarding assets, of which they do not have a great amount relative to other competitors, and simply spend dollars.

That means passing on J.T. Realmuto. It means not trading Noah Syndergaard, for crying out loud. It means acting like a big-market team and following the trail blazed by the 2012 Dodgers, something a pasty-faced Post columnist (OK, it was me) suggested back in July.

“I wouldn’t characterize it based on money,” Van Wagenen said Thursday of his remaining available resources, as the winter meetings concluded. “We still have mobility to add talent to the roster.”

This doesn’t constitute a plea for the Mets to go out and get Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Van Wagenen has spoken pretty clearly about the remoteness of those scenarios occurring, so there’s no point in climbing that barren tree for the moment, your justifiable anger on that topic notwithstanding. Let’s address the transactions the Mets are seriously contemplating as well as the one they’re en route to finishing.

Familia admittedly slipped between the cracks, journalistically, among a deep pool of free-agent relievers, with guys like Andrew Miller and David Robertson getting more attention. He experienced a quiet 2018 season, performing well with the Mets (despite blowing a few high-profile save opportunities) and then excelling with the A’s primarily as a setup man after a July trade. With the Mets already acquiring a new closer in Edwin Diaz, the sweetener for taking on more than half of Robinson Cano’s contract, Familia comes in to set up for Diaz, an unflashy move for the flashy new GM.

“I think the better you know the player, the more comfortable you are with getting the performance that you’re projecting,” Van Wagenen said of Familia. “That goes with all the players. We have a handful of the higher-end bullpen arms that we were doing our diligence on. He came with an easier path to get that information.”

Kudos to the Mets for making a sound baseball move and nothing more, a striking contrast to the trade for Cano and Diaz that seemed designed as much to send a message to their fans — different contingents took away different messages — as to actually help the club.

The Mets don’t mind at all the narrative that the high-energy Van Wagenen will consider anything and everything, even trading controllable young pieces to the Marlins for his former client Realmuto. Even trading Syndergaard. Enough already. The Mets have won a total of 147 games the past two seasons. They’re not at the opponent’s 5-yard line, to mix metaphors.

So they should keep Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario  and anyone else who intrigues the Marlins and just sign Yasmani Grandal or Martin Maldonado. They should keep Syndergaard, who contributed more to the Mets last year, in 154 innings, than any remaining free agent did for his team. They should extend Jacob deGrom — yes, buy high — to assuage concerns about this “window” closing.

A.J. Pollock? Sure, bring him aboard, too. Oh, and also a veteran lefty reliever.

Most important, build that farm system, which already has taken a hit with the questionable trades of Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic for Cano and Diaz. Build it up just as the Dodgers did so you can get to a point where you curb payroll and maintain your success.

Some folks remember Familia primarily for his failures in the 2015 World Series, or for his loss in the 2016 National League wild-card game. Those folks are silly. At 29, Familia represents a good risk given whom the Mets are and who they want to be.

As bold and aggressive as Van Wagenen wants to be, the best risks he should take, the ones most likely to make this experiment a success, are with his owners’ dollars.

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