The early stages of Brodie Van Wagenen’s regime has been filled with glitzy moves, and while the latest doesn’t exactly fit the bill, it pads a gaping hole.
With only three healthy outfielders on the 40-man roster heading into the weekend, the Mets acquired outfielder Keon Broxton from the Brewers on Saturday.
The Mets sent reliever Bobby Wahl to the Brewers along with a pair of minor leaguers, right-handed reliever Adam Hill and infielder Felix Valerio.
Broxton had four home runs, 11 RBIs and a .179 batting average in 51 games for Milwaukee last season. While he stole 23 bases in 2016 and 21 the following year, he swiped just five last season. A right-handed batter, he hit 20 homers in 2017 but struck out 175 times.
Van Wagenen, who last month acquired Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz in a Mariners mega-deal, called the 28-year-old Broxton a "dynamic athlete with the ability to impact the game in the outfield, on the bases and with his bat."
Broxton’s skill set is in line with that of Juan Lagares, who had little depth behind him on the roster, with corner outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo his likely backups in center before the trade. Yoenis Cespedes is recovering from surgery on both heels and the Mets have sent mixed signals as to what his future holds in Flushing.
Cespedes, 33, is rehabbing from two heel surgeries, the second of which was administered in late October.
“We’re not only hoping he will be a big impact this year, but he is going to be a big part of our team in 2020 as well,” Van Wagenen said in December. “He’s on our roster, he’s an impact guy, we hope we can get him back. We’re being honest and transparent and direct with the other people involved so they know what the opportunity is and how we are all going to make it fit.”
Omar Minaya, serving as special assistant to the GM, didn’t seem as enthused, saying in a recent MLB radio appearance, "If he gives us anything this year, that is great, we're happy for that.”
The move could also make Lagares expendable should the Mets seek a heavier bat in free agency. The oft-injured outfielder is owed $9.5 million next season.
Wahl, a 26-year-old righty, was acquired by the Mets from Oakland in July as part of the deal that sent closer Jeurys Familia to the Athletics. Wahl went 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in seven games with the Mets and was 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA for New York's and Oakland's Triple-A teams last season.
Brewers general manager David Stearns says Wahl "has the arsenal to be a very quality major league reliever and has dominated the upper levels of the minor leagues."
Hill, a right-handed reliever, was selected out of South Carolina in the fourth round of last year's amateur draft. He went 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in nine games for the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones.
Valerio batted .319 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 67 games in the Dominican Summer League.