<
>
Get ESPN+

Mets eye another jackpot in J.T. Realmuto

So far, new GM Brodie Van Wagenen has shown a penchant for playing high-stakes poker. No surprise he's all-in on J.T. Realmuto -- the best available catcher in Las Vegas. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If we evaluated Brodie Van Wagenen as a general manager in the same way we look at poker players, the early read on his approach would be he hunts for the biggest strike, the biggest play, the big hand. He hasn't demonstrated interest yet in grinding out small bits of value in each hand -- something the Dodgers' Andrew Friedman tends to do with each element of his roster -- but maybe that comes later.

For now, Van Wagenen is going all-in with his early moves. Despite a free-agent market flush with relief pitchers, he targeted the best available closer, Edwin Diaz, with his electric slider; it might well be that in addition to having the best starting pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom, the Mets also have the best reliever, in Diaz.

There are a bunch of unsigned second basemen, everyone from DJ LeMahieu to Brian Dozier to Ian Kinsler, and the Mets went into the offseason positioned with a second baseman of at least some promise, Jeff McNeil. But Van Wagenen bypassed those solutions and went for the second baseman with the Hall of Fame-caliber résumé, Robinson Cano. The big play.

Now Van Wagenen is looking for a catcher, and yes, he's going for the guy who was the best catcher in the big leagues last season, J.T. Realmuto.