Mets GM Brodie Van Wagen might be in for a taste of his own medicine. Just as Mickey Callaway was not “his guy,” he is not Steve Cohen’s guy. Result?
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen will soon get a taste of the purgatory Mickey Callaway endured all of last season as Brodie’s Unwanted Man – the manager he didn’t hire and never wanted.
The proverbial shoe switches to the other foot now as Steve Cohen becomes the man in charge, and Van Wagenen is the hiree “from the outside” looking in.
As a self-made billionaire, Cohen is a one-person show, not used to answering to no one. A few excerpts from a story that appeared in Business Insider tell that it’s like to work for “Stevie” Cohen:
- Phones don’t ring; they just light up. Cohen doesn’t like the noise. (We also know he has a thing against the whirring sound computer fans make.)
- Cohen yells “Do you even know how to do this f—ing job?” frequently
- The interview process can take 14 months, and the background check is very extensive. (That should give Brodie time to find a new job)
- Your IMs and emails are monitored by a staff of 20 “compliance officers.”
Mets fans will and should be divorced from the internal meddling and politics that is sure to overwhelm the current Mets front office.
We care only about the team that is put on the field and winning. We care that the primary owner of the Mets cares and that Stevie Cohen will sate our appetites for expenditures in the free-agent market to better the team.
Is Brodie Van Wagenen “big enough”?
But the focus on Brodie Van Wagenen is significant. There is going to be a great learning curve Cohen will undertake. After all, operating a baseball club is nowhere near the same as making deals on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
It would only be a coincidence if Cohen and Van Wagenen ever found themselves in the same room before this week, and it’s near impossible they’ve ever needed to spend time together “talking Mets.”
So, it is with a clean slate that Brodie Van Wagenen flies to San Diego tomorrow with his staff intact to attend the Winter Meetings.
Working mainly at the disposal of the Wilpons (still), Van Wagenen is likely to stick to the plan, which has only one fiat – don’t spend money.
Conceivably though, and it would be a joy to witness what would happen if Cohen showed up with a cashier’s check for $300 million with instructions to Brodie, “Bring us Gerrit Cole, and do it today. Mets fans want it.”
Do not put it past Cohen to do something like that. He’s a man built with the DNA of George Steinbrenner.
Cohen and a ton of unanswered questions
Brodie Van Wagenen may very begin to hear footsteps behind him soon enough, but a question lingers in the background.
We know the Wilpons had a less than endearing penchant to interfere with decisions purely related to baseball.
But we don’t yet know the degree of baseball acumen Cohen has. The Wilpons had none, and what if Cohen is the same?
For instance, does Cohen know who Rick Porcello is and does he know the Mets under the auspices of the Wilpons and Van Wagenen are reportedly interested in signing him as a free-agent starting pitcher?
Moreover, if Cohen does not know, would he insist on making himself aware before any move was made? Or, would he stay beneath the radar, telling Brodie, “Do what you think is best for the Mets. I’ll sign off on it.”
People seldom change. As stipulated before, Steve Cohen is used to running the show. For years, he has been in the game to buy a major league franchise.
When the Dodgers came up for sale after the McCourt fiasco, Cohen, as a severe bidder, went so far as to use his own money to hire a team of architects to give Dodger Stadium a badly needed facelift. That venture, of course, failed.
Cohen, depending on which report is cited, is worth anywhere from $7-14 billion – with a B. He does not need to work another day in his lifetime. All he needs are his toys to play with. Now, he has the only toy he ever dreamed of having – the New York Mets.
Brodie, for the first time, it’s Showtime
Brodie Van Wagenen has a chance to impress Steve Cohen, but it will be a brief audition. Similarly, Carlos Beltran, who is riding the coattails of Van Wagenen, is in a precarious situation with no time to lose.
Some like myself will call it just desserts for how Mickey Callaway was treated as Van Wagenen’s lame-duck.
And like Callaway, Van Wagenen may find himself in a situation where winning means nothing, just as Callaway was given zero points for awakening the Mets in the second half of 2019.
The Mets will play 162, and hopefully more, games in 2020. But there will be hundreds more played behind the scenes in the Mets’ front offices – and they too will be filled with drama and intrigue.
Steve Cohen changes everything. It’s just a matter of how big and widespread those changes are – if you are listening, Brodie?