Many in baseball are still raising an eyebrow at the Mets’ decision to name super-agent Brodie Van Wagenen their new general manager, but the move is officially in the books after Van Wagenen was formally introduced at a press conference today at Citi Field. The former co-founder of CAA’s baseball division is shifting to the other side of the negotiating table and made clear in his initial comments that the Mets will not be embarking on any kind of rebuild (links via Newsday’s David Lennon and the New York Post’s Mike Puma). To the contrary, Van Wagenen portrayed an aggressive, win-now mindset.
“We will win now,” said Van Wagenen. “We will win in the future. We’re going to develop a winning culture and a winning mindset. We are going to deliver this city and this fan base a team they can be proud of.”
While fans (and quite likely executives) from other clubs had hoped to see the Mets’ new general manager come in with a future-oriented approach and put aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard on the trading block, it seems that, too, is unlikely. Van Wagenen plainly stated that he hopes to keep deGrom with the Mets for “a long time” (per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). Rather than shopping current stars, it seems the Mets will instead turn to the free-agent market to supplement a promising rotation core but a lineup that is filled with question marks. The rookie GM somewhat nebulously said he “expect[s] to be in on every free agent” — a statement that seems like an over-promise but nonetheless underscores his win-now mentality.
Looking beyond the player element of the Mets’ new hire, there are myriad questions about the infrastructure of the team. First and foremost, it’s been made clear that Van Wagenen has severed all ties with CAA Baseball and is no longer affiliated with the agency. The future of his former clients — they could remain at CAA with another agent or conceivably look elsewhere — isn’t clear, but DiComo and others have noted that Van Wagenen has completely divested from CAA. That process, DiComo notes, was made a bit smoother by the fact that Van Wagenen had a salary as the head of CAA Baseball rather than working on commission from his clients.
As far as internal improvements go, COO Jeff Wilpon stated that there are resources set aside to beef up the club’s analytics and scouting departments. Van Wagenen suggested that his previous work as an agent can help in both regards (Twitter link, with video, via DiComo). There’s surely some validity to that sentiment, as he’s spent nearly two decades seeking to identify talent and represent the best players possible. More recently, agencies have had to become increasingly familiar with newer statistics, data and trends in an effort to best market their players to teams. There’s also little doubt that he’s a deft negotiator, which figures to serve him well in his new role.
Then again, managing an entire baseball operations department while simultaneously dealing with Mets ownership and the New York media will be an entirely different animal. And while Van Wagenen likely does have some scouting acumen and an understanding of the ever-increasing use of data in today’s game, neither has ever been a full-time focus for him. He’ll likely hand pick some new additions to add to both departments for the Mets, and he’ll also have some more experienced baseball ops veterans on whom to rely as he acclimates to a new life within the game.
To that end, though, it’s not yet certain which of the Mets’ former top lieutenants will be working alongside him. SNY’s Andy Martino tweets that special assistant (and former Mets GM) Omar Minaya will stay with the organization, but the futures of fellow special assistant (and former Blue Jays GM) J.P. Ricciardi and assistant GM John Ricco are not yet known.
Turning to the field staff, Van Wagenen proclaimed that Mickey Callaway will return in 2019 and offered his “full support” of the manager as he enters his second season with the club. Specifically, Van Wagenen praised Callway’s “enthusiasm,” his “energy” and his ability to inspire players.
Frankly, it’s not possible to glean the exact approach the Mets will take to putting a contender on the field in 2019 and beyond. There were no concrete numbers put on how much payroll capacity Van Wagenen will have. That’s not unexpected, but it also offers no insight into which types of free agents the Mets can realistically pursue. The Mets have topped $150MM in each of the past two seasons and have a projected $135MM on the books for 2019, per MLBTR’s Jason Martinez, before considering any possible non-tenders. That doesn’t leave much room to add, barring a willingness from the Wilpon family to substantially increase payroll. Perhaps the Mets could look to jettison some mid-range contracts like Juan Lagares or Anthony Swarzak if there isn’t room for payroll to push much further north. Alternatively, players like Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores don’t seem assured of being tendered contracts.
There are still plenty of unknowns following Van Wagenen’s first interaction with reporters as the Mets’ new GM, but the greatest takeaway from the entire event is that there’s little reason to expect the Mets will be putting any type of significant sell-off of major assets into motion. Van Wagenen set the stage for an active winter in terms of adding pieces to a hopeful contender, and fans will now wait to see whether ownership grants him the means to follow through.
Ok but of that $135 million committed already for 2019, isn’t $45-$50 of it in Wright (who’s retired) and Cespedes, and insurance is paying the majority?
It’s about 33 million the insurance is paying. need to reinvest that money!!!!!
That number is way off. Insurance will cover $7.5 mil of Wrights contract in 2019. I cant imagine it covers more than $12.5 of Cespedes and that’s if he misses the entire season
Long Suffering Mets Fan
Insurance covers 75% of salary and in Wright’s case it is $15m.
No worries Freddie. Mutt and Jeff are already planning to reinvest all of the insurance money by acquiring the largest collection of Brooklyn Dodgers’ memorabilia. In addition Jeff beamed at the news conference that they will unveil Architechts’
Plans for a greatly expanded Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Chitifield. He explained the concept to the press of a pavilion deck expanded into the parking lot in the shape of Ebbets’ Field.
lmao, you are a trip!
don’t hold back, continue to make my day!
Don’t encourage this idiot.
Sorry Rusty…you posts are so poignant for a mets fans.
Don’t get too excited right now or mommy will have to change your pampers.
he’s not retired
Long Suffering Mets Fan
Wright has not retired officially. He is still on the payroll with insurance covering a large percentage (75%) of his salary.
No rebuild. So good luck then in your journey of adding 4 above average bats, finding a plus rotation arm that will stay healthy, your own rotation/outfield somehow staying healthy and producing, and also revamping the bullpen and making sure not to overwork the quality arms in there again. Sheesh
What about defense up the middle Coke? If you start with the catching position the chorus of laughs is deafening.
Interview: “Tell us again, Van. We wanna hear it again. How you gonna turn this franchise around?…But first, buy us another round.” – Wilpons
If Van Wagenen has any clue what he’s doing he won’t be handing out deals to guys like jay bruce and starting Asdrubal Cabrera up the middle. Their rotation is clearly one of the best around. If they can find some bullpen arms a catcher and a 2b they might have a team. Of course that’s going to take the Wilpons to spend a little more money than they are accustomed to, which is far from a guarantee. Peter Alonso might be the cheap and productive solution at first in the near future as well. None of the teams in the NLE are miles ahead of each other IMO. The braves obviously have the young star power but they’re not a lock to take it home again. The nationals have their own questions. The Phillies looked like the 2017 Phillies down the stretch. I am by no means predicting them to win the division but there is a path if they make a lot of good moves and have health fall on their side.
AJ Pollock for CF, sign Wilson Ramos and let him do 60% of the catching while Nido handles Syndergaard and Matz. That’s two bats right there., and if they bring back Asdrubal Cabrera to share 3B wiith Todd Frazier who can’t even hit over the Mendoza line I think Asdrubal should get at least 60% -to- 70% of games then that could be your third bat. They could also hire Mike Moustakas for 3B while Frazier has to help at 1B where both he and Jay Bruce will be needed if they bring up Alonso which they will do by June once his contract vests, and they get two more years of control him. Pollock, Ramos, Cabrera, or Moustakas, Alonso, McNeil, Nimmo and Conforto should make for a decent lineup. If I”m Waggy I’m signing Marwin Gonzalez to pair with either TJ Rivera or Phillip Evans to share the infield/outifield utility role. I’d keep Lagares as he is the best defensive CFer in the game plus he is a righty OF bat. They still need bullpen help and another starting pitcher not Jason Vargas..
Cabrera could barely reach first base from second. You expect him to field third base?
You basically described most teams in baseball.
Sometimes I wonder if 2015 WS run did more harm than good. Now all Wilpons have are false illusions of grandeur.
But what do I know? I’m a selfish Yankee fan who would empty the farm for DeGrom, Syndergaard.
Hang in there Mets’ fans. You the antithesis of bandwagon. In my opinion Selig’s second biggest stain after steroids; was not forcing Wilpons to sell when he had a chance— even try.
Almost as bad as Baltimore’s owner… hopefully they will at least be willing to pay some free agents to build a contender around Syndergaard/deGrom
Don’t need your pity.
but yeah, that fluke WS set them back.
Why isn’t Joel Sherman spouting his expertise on this?
I believe he did, and surprisingly he likes the hire
I second your notion X—-Seelig screwed New York NL fans by allowing them to keep the team. It’s been all pain and NO gain ever since.
Hey Eventually..long time between posts?
Glad to see that your healing is underway now by posting, “that fluke ws set THEM back”.
It must feel good that you have moved past the separation anxiety of referring to the Mets as US.
worry about your team which faded down the stretch
Yeah This MikeYanks clown loves to post more about Mets then his own team. Thinks he knows our farm system, then goes quiet as a ghost as he watched his so called ace completely implode in that big game. Maybe you can teach severino how to read a clock Mike Yanks and maybe he will be better prepared for next post season and maybe warm up a little more then half hour before game time.
Im oddly afraid of the Mets now.
I would be if I were a Mets fan
You are odd, 7.
I don’t see it. Winning now requires a whole lot to go right, and it never all goes right.
If I’m a Mers fan I’m happy to hear they are beefing up scouting and analytics, though.
This dude sounds like a clown. “We are going to win now we are going to win in the future, we are going to have a winning mind set”. RIP METS FANS
Wait so what would he be if he said they are going to have a losing mindset?
your the clown, what did you want him to say?
Just stop throwing money at guys like Frazier, Bruce and Cespedis, go younger keep pitching staff intact and sign younger offensive guys …
If the Mets just went Hail Mary, signed a bunch of players, traded guys like Rosario and Alonzo for rental stars, they’d contend. Otherwise, it’s mediocrity or cellar dwelling.
If they traded those kind of players for rentals, they’d be good for one season, then go back to being a mediocre cellar dweller for many more years than if they kept them.
Fred is scratching his head and screams, “only if we get a crazy deal and steal the contracts”.
This explains why Van Wagenen got the job. He’s just as delusional as the Wilpons. The Mets could have cashed in on deGrom, Syndergaard, and Wheeler and loaded up for the future but instead will stand pat en route to 90+ losses and a 4th place finish in the NL East
Maybe he’s not delusional at all, maybe he just faked it to get the job from the Wilpons
Pretty sure it was a significant pay cut for him.
Ah, but the lust for the back pages of the Daily News and Post…
And to rub elbows with Mr. Met, Joel Sherman every day is irresistible.
agree baseballnerddom the wilpons made it clear they were only considering applicants who would try to win now. it doesn’t matter what gm is brought in when you have to answer to the wilpon clown show
This team is not that far off they played well after the break
They can build a legit contender around their pitching if things fall into place, but with the Mets judgment that’s a very very big if
After the break and including their hot start. However it’s easy to play lots of NL mediocre teams when the balance of the season no longer matters.
And for the pitching to hold up and stay healthy two seasons in a row…
Please don’t hold your breath.
Bold Prediction. Talking Like An Agent. . . I do like the Optimism. Who Doesn’t. . . But This Team Needs Offense. Period. Out fielders. In fielders. A Bench. Maybe Bring Back Some of the Guys They Had. But Overhaul is in the Works. . . . . As Long as They have Those Starters. And it Sounds Like This Guy Is Going To Be Spending Ownerships Money. . . I Don’t See Them That Far Off… Maybe Contend For Playoff Spot Next Year If All Goes Well. But Pitching Health Will Determine True Outcome For 2019…….
Hey Jay-good points except you still need one catcher that can do 3 out of the 4:
Call a good game
Throw runners out
They have nobody that can actually do 2 of them.
No Gary Sanchez attacks here.
Poll- Who’s got a bleaker outlook for 2019
giants have worse outlook by far. No hit, no pitching, no defense and old
But they’re gonna sign Harper
They probably will to be honest
Mets hand down because of ownership
Are the Mets willing to spend up to $190-mil for the 2019 season?
Rebuild. One foot in and one foot out will not cut it.
Then Trim…if one foot out the door will not cut it, then cut bait and boycott them.
No ticket purchases.
Same old Mets! It doesn’t matter who is the GM with the Mets. The Wilpon don’t care about winning they only care about profit. As long as they are making a profit they will not increase payroll. Look at the Yankees, look at the players they have and spent, but they contend every year. I remember back in 1998 when Wilpon was having issues with Doubleday the part owner of the Mets. Doubleday did not want to spend money so Wilpon bought him out and the Mets got Piazza.
This guy is what ownership wanted. A puppet. Can’t wait to watch this firestorm lol
Let’s remember one thing, Agent=Salesman. What is he selling, and to whom? The pieces needed are many with minimal resources. Their farm isn’t stocked with arms for trades, so it would be interesting to know the full plan. We’ll see how this goes but I feel this is posturing to increase returns, not they need to for deGrom or Syndergaard.
Is Brodie making more money as the GM than he was as the head of one of the larger sports agencies?
“Van Wagenen portrayed an aggressive, win-now mindset.”
This is a horrible sign. BVW is not stupid. He knows how cheap the Wilpons are and have been, given how many Met players he represented. This means one of two things:
1. He’s completely baldfaced lying
2. He’s been told by the Wilpons they want to Win Now and will do Anything It Takes. And he believed them.
I’ll take number 1
That’s correct Joe. The same as when he played them like a fiddle with the Cespedes contract.
His first move will be to bring Bobby Bonilla in as a special assistant. It won’t cost a ton up front because he’ll backload the contract.
Thor, DeGrom, and Wheeler is about as good as it gets to lead a rotation when healthy.
The Mets need to determine who their catcher is.(probably D’Arnaud if healthy)
Who the 1B is. (Do they really trust Don Smith?)
And who plays in the OF with Conforto and Nimmo.(is it Bruce as the 3rd OF or does he play 1st?)
Gotcha about the starters if healthy but, let’s be real. By far the biggest problem with this team other than the owner’s is that they have absolutley NO bullpen. Gsellman and Lugo are a start but come on. That has to be addressed first. NO lead, no matter how large was safe. If you watched them last year it can’t be denied. Then i’d follow that with trying to find a solid defensive minded catcher who can call a game, frame pitches and can throw out some runners. After that well, then i’d continue down the long list of other stuff…….smh……just sayin’
Three biggest lies in the world:
1) Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
2) The check is in the mail.
3) We are going to deliver this city and this fan base a team they can be proud of.
I won’t hold my breath.
Although I’m skeptical because the constant dysfunction with this team, I find it hard to believe BVW would give up his salary at CAA to become the Wilpons puppet GM. The free agent market is pretty deep this year and with some creative trades, the Mets can definitely contend next year in a weak division.
Yes salt and the Braves and Phil’s are weak and not going to compete for free agents.
Reality check is in order.
So sad – sure they hired him because of his win now mantra – no matter how unrealistic. Another bad decision by a poorly run organization.
May I suggest that the description change to:
….by cheap owners that have no clue.
What do you think?
Just the other day, I read an extensive article stating that the Twins have no contractual obligations beyond 2019. And that article suggested that that gave the Twins a fair amount of financial flexibility to be aggressive in the Free Agent Market.
The Mets have no contractual obligations beyond 2020. And beyond the required negativity in any comment regarding the Mets, I would think perhaps the Mets have a fair amount of financial flexibility as well, to go toward retaining pitchers, and being active on the open market.
Interesting Red…the important question is how much money Mutt and Jeff will invest and how much will be peeled back for their personal recreation.
“… former co-founder of CAA’s baseball division …”? He’s still the co-founder. You can’t take that away from him.
“We will win now….”
All signs point to this being a false promise to a fan base that is desperate for any hope. Kinda cruel.
“We’ve got work to do, but we’re going to improve” would be a better sound bite.