The New York Mets are rebuilding again and in a most unusual way. The Mets announced today their next general manager will be Brodie Van Wagenen, who is the agent for Jacob deGrom and Yoenis Cespedes.
Van Wagenen, the son-in-law of the late astronaut Neil Armstrong, will be introduced Tuesday afternoon in a Citi Field press conference. Van Wagenen beat out former Texas and Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, and Tampa Bay senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom.
The Mets get points for creativity, but if this doesn’t work out there’s no telling how far back the organization will fall. Especially if things fall south with deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
”Brodie is an extremely knowledgeable, creative, progressive and collaborative leader, who I’m confident will lead us toward sustainable success,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement released by the team. ”I’m very excited for our fans to hear and see the direction Brodie outlined for us.”
Wilpon’s father, Fred, was reportedly behind Melvin, but ultimately was sold on Van Wagenen, citing his character.
”Jeff brought forward an array of candidates and we all agreed that Brodie’s high character, blend of analytics, scouting and development ideas illustrate why he will be successful in this role,” Wilpon Sr., said.
Van Wagenen is an unknown commodity and admits this will be a challenge.
”I’m beyond excited and motivated to take on this new challenge,” said Van Wagenen, who has a reported four-year deal. ”I want to thank Fred and Jeff for believing in my vision and abilities. I look forward to beginning the progress of getting the Mets to contend for a championship year after year.”
Van Wagenen’s first challenge is to get the Wilpons to spend, notably on his former client, deGrom. During the All-Star break, Van Wagenen said the Mets should offer deGrom a pricey extension. Now, he’ll find himself sitting across the table with one of his former colleagues at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) arguing against a landmark deal.
That change in Van Wagenen’s responsibilities at the negotiating table also raises the potential of a conflict of interest, and that concerns the Major League Baseball Players Association.
”I won’t tell you how many calls or how many texts I have gotten,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said at the World Series over the weekend. ”I will simply suggest to you that our membership is paying attention.”
So are a lot of people in the industry as this is more than just hiring a new general manager, but the Mets taking a tremendous gamble.