Oct. 25: Like Van Wagenen before him, Bloom has opted to release a brief statement rather than conduct an interview with the media. It’s a fairly standard-issue statement, with Bloom calling yesterday’s second interview with the Mets “productive” and adding that he “enjoyed” the opportunity to but declining to speak much beyond that out of respect to his current role with the Tampa Bay organization.
DiComo tweets that a “sizable industry majority” considers Melvin to be the favorite, though he and numerous others have suggested that the lack of a media session for Van Wagenen and Bloom shouldn’t be read into as an indicator that Melvin has the job locked up. Rather, neither Van Wagenen nor Bloom felt comfortable addressing the New York media about a potential new role, given their prominent standing elsewhere in the baseball world.
Oct. 24: The Mets’ ongoing search for a general manager was narrowed to five recently, and Matt Ehalt of the New Jersey tweets that two candidates, MLB exec Kim Ng and agent Casey Close, have been eliminated from the running. (Close’s role in the process is now being downplayed, as Tim Healey of Newsday tweets.) MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo hears similarly, tweeting that the three finalists for the post are Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom, former Brewers/Rangers general manager Doug Melvin, and agent Brodie Van Wagenen — the head of CAA Baseball.
The backgrounds of the three reported finalists are about as wide-ranging as one could imagine. We’ll keep tabs on the situation here:
Bloom, 35, cut his teeth as a 21-year-old intern and rose through the ranks of one of baseball’s most analytic- and data-driven organizations, recently being named one of the Rays’ top two execs alongside GM Erik Neander. He will have the chance to make final impressions on the Mets hiring committee, following the other two candidates in the process. It is expected that he’ll speak with the media following his interview.
The 66-year-old Melvin comes from a more traditional scouting background and would undoubtedly be tabbed an “old-school” hire by the Mets, though his fingerprints are still present on a Brewers club that just came within a game of a World Series berth. Melvin was the GM for the acquisitions of Josh Hader (Carlos Gomez trade), Domingo Santana (Gomez trade), Corey Knebel (Yovani Gallardo trade), Zach Davies (Gerardo Parra trade) and Hernan Perez (waiver claim) as well as the drafting of Brandon Woodruff, Jacob Barnes and Brent Suter.
Following his sit-down, Melvin chatted with the media about his candidacy, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo was among those to cover. He emphasized that he’s open to contemporary analytics and also attempted to highlight his own instances forward thinking as an executive. Melvin seemingly positioned himself as a seasoned decisionmaker who can incorporate cutting-edge tools. He also stressed that he is motivated to get back into the day-to-day running of an ops department after several years away.
Brodie Van Wagenen
Van Wagenen would be the most outside-the-box hire the Mets could make, having no prior experience as an executive with a Major League club. The 44-year-old directly represents numerous Mets players, though, including Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, so owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon undoubtedly have a longstanding familiarity with him. Agencies are continually becoming increasingly versed in analytics as they seek to make the best possible cases for their clients, though certainly there’d be an enormous difference between heading up an agency (even one of the game’s larger agencies) and running a baseball operations department while simultaneously addressing the media as the face of the team’s leadership.
Van Wagenen interviewed on Monday. While the New York Post’s Mike Puma has previously reported that the Mets plan on making all of the finalists available to the media after the coming wave of secondary interviews, that did not come to pass in this case owing to Van Wagenen’s still-existing agency obligations.
The Mets did release a statement from Van Wagenen, who says his “conversations with the Mets continue to be organic.” He sought to walk a fine line in his comments, concluding by writing, somewhat awkwardly: “As Jeff and Fred [Wilpon] continue their search for a new head of baseball operations, the players, fans and entire organization will be motivated to have a leader with the skills and commitment to win. If the Wilpons believe I am that person, we will have that conversation.”
As Puma writes, the obvious tension between Van Wagenen’s current role as a significant agent and his consideration for this important role with the Mets is a significant concern for some on the player side of the labor divide. Clearly, it creates a tricky situation even during the interview process. Van Wagenen would need to step away from CAA and transfer representation of his clients to others in the agency were he to ultimately take the Mets’ job.