Former Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has been hired as the chief operating officer at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). He’ll have a “broad role” in the agency, which represents Robinson Cano, Yoenis Cespedes, Dominic Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, Shelby Miller, Jazz Chisholm and recently retired CC Sabathia, among others.
Van Wagenen is no stranger to working with Roc Nation. When Jay-Z was first getting his sports representation company off the ground after signing Cano as a client, it was Van Wagenen and CAA Baseball that partnered with Roc Nation to assist running Cano’s free-agent negotiations. The resulting 10-year, $240MM contract between Cano and the Mariners still has three years remaining on the deal — although Cano has since been traded to the Mets and will now miss the 2021 season due to a second PED suspension. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman points out that Van Wagenen and Roc Nation still jointly represented Cespedes at the time of his four-year, $110MM deal with the Mets as well.
As was the case when Dave Stewart signed on to head up the D-backs’ baseball ops department back in 2014, it registered as a surprise to not only see an agent take over a club — but to take over operations of a club where multiple former clients were on the roster. That ostensible conflict of interest clearly wasn’t enough for the league to stand in the way of either man being hired to run the club, however.
Whether this leads to an influx of clients under the Roc Nation banner remains to be seen, though it’s certainly possible. Van Wagenen divested himself from CAA upon being named Mets general manager but still has close connections to dozens of players due to his previous standing as one of the game’s most prominent player representatives. He’ll need to go back through the agent certification process, as Sherman tweets, though it shouldn’t be long before he’s formally certified to return to agent status.