The New York Mets took their first steps toward 2019 (and the future) yesterday by announcing their new General Manager. Brodie Van Wagenen, will become just the second sports agent to be hired as a GM in MLB History (the first one didn’t go so well in Arizona).
It’s a risky move for an organization that has not typically gone in such a direction. For once, the Mets thought outside the box and hired the 44-year-old former agent to lead them into the future. They went against the grain, and shocked the fan base in a positive way.
The Mets needed to change the culture of their organization, and going outside of the normal cast of characters like this proves that they are at least willing to shake things up. We are “told” that Jeff Wilpon will give Van Wagenen (will be called BVW going forward) autonomy to run the club. I will believe that when I see it, but it is still nice to hear. Maybe, just maybe, the former agent will get the Wilpon’s to open their wallets for once. That is the hope at least, but again, I am not holding my breath over here.
There are several things I like about this hire:
- As a young, forward-thinking executive, BVW mentioned at his press conference (well spoken as I would have expected) that the team would be investing more money into analytics. Finally making the leap into the 21st century. The Mets employed THREE staff members in their analytics department as of last year, which is way behind the rest of the league. They needed to step up their game in this department for fall further behind.
- As Jacob deGrom’s agent, BVW is not going to be able to negotiate his contract (or any other CAA player contracts), but this definitely gives the Mets a leg up in resigning deGrom. BVW expressed that he wants Jake here long term, so that gives me a little bit of comfort knowing that that should be in the works.
- BVW comes here knowing that this team isn’t THAT far off from competing. He is not going to rebuild, but rather, he will retool. With a couple of big moves to their lineup and bullpen, this team can compete with the caliber of starting pitching it has. The farm system is also middle of the road at worst, so the cupboard is not bare.
- While BVW will handle the GM duties, he still has Omar Minaya to help advise him and help out with finding talent internationally. As a former Met GM, Minaya will be able to help BVW learn the ropes and he is familiar with dealing with the New York media (however awkwardly).
- BVW held his own when going toe-to-toe with Numbah One, Mike Francesa. Francessa grilled Van Wagenen on several matters in typical douche fashion. A lot of the questions we’re fair and BVW was put in an awkward spot several times, but I feel like he came out the other end alive. That’s all you have to do with Francesa sometimes…..survive the interview. As I mentioned before, he also came across very well in his press conference. Not a big deal, but something Met fans like to see.
BVW will have his hands full starting this offseason. As I mentioned, this team is not far away from contending, but one could say they are also not far away from being a 70-win team, as we have seen the past 2 years. The Mets need to clearly add several big bats to their lineup, while also bolstering their bullpen. None of our stud pitchers have been paid yet, and BVW has a bunch of square pegs fitting into round holes on this current roster. With a fan base starving to get back to relevance, in a division that can be had, BVW needs to get to work. Fast.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full Take:
Not going to pretend to know what BVW will bring to the table or what his plan is for the future, but I like the hire. Freddie Wilpon wanted some old screw ball to take over that was all about staying away from analytics, so I am glad he didn’t get his way. As long as Jeff stays out of the way, and I’m sure he won’t, this could be a nice situation.
Now make ’em open up the wallets Brodie! This fan base needs something to be excited about. We have sucked for too long and been through too much shit. Be in the mix for Machado, make a big trade, act like a big market team!
Does a part of me worry about the fact that he is a former agent and might be helping CAA in the process? Yes. Things could get murky. Am I worried about his lack of experience? Sure.
You don’t come here for negative shit though. If you want that, go to those other Glass-Half-Empty websites/newpapers. I’m here for BVW. Here’s to many years of success.
Lets Go Mets.