Mets' general manager Brodie Van Wagenen struck an optimistic tone in his first interview with WFAN host Mike Francesa. Van Wagenen joined "Mike’s On" following his official introduction to the press at Citi Field.
“I think we’ve got a lot of talent,” Van Wagenen said. “For a variety of reasons, the team has struggled the last couple of years. It’s not that long ago in '15 and '16 where we were a playoff team and there was a World Series title at our fingertips. We’ve had some adversity, we’ve had some turnover, but I think we’ve got the pieces in place in a division that appears to be wide open. Obviously, some of our peers in the National League East here have decisions to make about their own current roster, have some decisions about how much money they’re going to invest in their club. But I think we’re in a position right now to go run to the front – and I hope we can do that.”
Francesa challenged Van Wagenen’s belief in the Mets contending after a 77-85 season and an MLB-worst .234 team batting average.
“My point is the team that you’re getting right now can challenge? Or do you think you’ve got to go out and make wholesale changes?” Francesa asked.
“I feel like we need to make some additions to have this team compete,” Van Wagenen responded. “Any wholesale changes would be with the intention that we can compete in 2019.”
Francesa asked if the Mets were capable of being a win-now team.
“I think we can,” Van Wagenen said. “We can talk in July and see how we’re doing.”
“I’ll be interested in seeing how many guys you’re going to hit,” Francesa responded. “Because it seems to me, there’s a lot of holes on this team. You know the team pretty well, right? There’s a lot of holes -- you’ve got to admit.”
Francesa asked point-blank if the Mets have a good everyday lineup.
“Mike, I’ve got a team that we can compete with, and I think I can add to it,” Van Wagenen said.
“Oh boy, OK,” Francesa commented. “You’re very wide-eyed about this, I tell ya. You didn’t inherit the Yankees, you know? You inherited the Mets.”
Van Wagenen polled Francesa on which teams in the NL East are better positioned to win the division.
“I know you usually like to ask the questions -- I’ve got one for you – who in the National League East is going to beat us and why?” Van Wagenen asked Francesa.
“The Braves have a better team right now than you do, I think ... absolutely," Francesa said.
Francesa challenged Van Wagenen to name his team's cleanup hitter.
"Well, then answer this question for me -- who's batting cleanup for you on Opening Day next year?" Francesa asked.
“You’ll have to wait and see,” Van Wagenen said.
“Gee, that’s a great answer,” Francesa chuckled.