Brodie Van Wagenen will be joining 29 other General Managers at the Winter Meetings beginning this weekend. He won’t be hiding in a hole…
Brodie Van Wagenen, fresh off what most are calling a blockbuster trade with Jerry Di Pito and the Seattle Mariners, arrives at the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort in Las Vegas for the annual MLB Winter Meetings. By all accounts, the makeover of his New York Mets has only just begun, and Van Wagenen will be front and center, not likely to come home empty handed.
Mets fans should be ecstatic this moment has finally arrived. A year ago, Sandy Alderson was dragging his feet to Orlando, Florida with most of his energy spent. We could see it and feel it, but we didn’t know until much later he was dealing with some severe health issues.
Today, we observe Van Wagenen at the opposite pole, with boundless energy and soaring dreams of a revitalized Mets organization. Moreover, the word fear does not seem part of his vocabulary.
Still, this will be Brodie Van Wagenen’s rite of passage within the group of GM’s he now calls his peers. He knows many of his counterparts, but he doesn’t “know” them. By the time he leaves Las Vegas, though, his rookie status will be only a memory, and “tags” will be applied to Brodie’s reputation that will follow him for the remainder of his tenure with the Mets – good or bad.
In a sense, with those tags in the balance, there is tension in wondering if Brodie Van Wagenen, the Gunslinger who shot from the hip in the Cano deal, will be pressured into an encore performance, rather than come home when the TV cameras are off, and the spotlights are gone, to finish up his work later.
The Mets desperately need a catcher who is not named Travis d’Arnaud. Their problem is, of course, that everyone in the Mandalay building knows it. The Mets will go with d’Arnaud and hope for the best, but Van Wagenen knows he is not the answer.
Further complicating things are the Nationals, who took two catchers off the board before the Mets could turn Brodie loose, swiping up Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes. In particular, Gomes will be under team control this season with a $9 million team option for 2020 and an $11 million team option for ’21, the kind of contract flexibility the Mets would have valued greatly in a deal.
C’est la vie. Life goes on, but Brodie Van Wagenen will be on the hunt to fix this, in addition to finding a bullpen that can complement Edwin Diaz, the Mets golden nugget landed in the Cano deal.
More often than not though, the deals made at these meetings are the kind that crawls out of the woodwork when least expected. This should raise the level of intrigue regarding the narrowing possibility of the Mets trading Noah Syndergaard.
But if Brodie Van Wagenen’s rite of passage includes anything, hopefully, it will be the art of learning to listen. After all, the Mets unwillingness to part with Syndergaard can be altered on a moment’s notice if another team proposes “an offer they can’t refuse.” Not likely, but if Van Wagenen is on point and doing his job, his ears need to be held close to the ground.
The good news is that Brodie Van Wagenen gives off an aura of being inclined to do precisely that, where no deal is not worthy of being considered and discussed.
Head in another direction and you have the Mets in the hunt for Manny Machado and others in the Class of 2019 free agents. Their agents will be there, and hopefully, Van Wagenen will seek them out, but I don’t see the Mets going in this direction for this year.
What I do see, though, and it’s so welcome. I see a New York Mets GM who is on the cusp of trying to make his team better. He’ll work 24/7 to get it done, and he won’t rest until the Mets host their parade down the streets of Manhattan.
There’s a lot of work to be done before that happens – Mets fans get it – but only because Brodie Van Wagenen seems to get it.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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