The Mets contingent led by Brodie Van Wagenen is assembling in Arizona for the annual winter meetings. Hopefully, he’s carrying a gun loaded with blanks…
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, by his aggressive personality, is not likely to be a wallflower in any room he occupies. The winter meetings beginning today in Scottsdale, Arizona, mark his second go-around on this stage, and chances are his presence will be noted.
Mets fans easily recall the gunslinger who rode into Las Vegas last year to meet his peers for the first time.
And how Van Wagenen created headlines as he trudged home carrying the weight of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz on his shoulders. And then, how both players proved to be a bust.
It’s interesting, too, that deal was made with Seattle’s GM Jerry Dipoto, another gunslinger who never saw a trade he didn’t like.
We can only hope Van Wagenen has learned the real purpose of these meetings. For seasoned GM’s, the sessions are a time to get re-acquainted with compadres who remember meetings from a decade ago.
New GM’s, like Scott Harris, who was appointed just yesterday by the San Francisco Giants, and Brian O’Halloran of the Boston Red Sox are also on the scene for the first time. The Mets want and need to make acquaintances with them so that the voice on the phone in later talks becomes connected to a face.
Brodie’s homework: write an essay on networking
In the business world, it’s called networking. It can be a union convention or a car show, but the primary purpose is always the same – make positive contact with people who can help you in the future.
There’s real business conducted as well. The MLB Player’s union will be there looking to lobby for support among general managers to change free-agency rules – a topic for another day.
Other business will focus on the three-batter minimum rule for pitchers entering a game that is set to take effect this season.
But the Mets and, in particular, Brodie Van Wagenen can best use this time by establishing the “framework” or foundation of a trade with another team that may or may not be consummated later.
A typical and positive conversation might be something like this:
General Manager X: Hey Brodie, we have an interest in Noah Syndergaard. Do me a favor, take a look at our roster, and give me a call in a few days if you think we might have a match”.
Mets GM Van Wagenen: “Sounds good. I’ll do that.”
Later in the hotel lounge where everyone is sharing a cocktail, the two spot each other and Van Wagenen approaches GM X with this exchange:
Van Wagenen: “I decided not to wait until we get back. Omar Minaya and I like Player X a lot. We’ll need one of your prospects, and you’ll need to have Player X submit to a physical by our team doctors before anything is finalized…”
GM X: “Okay, that shouldn’t be a problem. Let me get with my guys, and I’ll get back to you”.
Mets GM Van Wagenen: “Great, and here’s my GM only phone number. Wow, that guy can play the piano…”
Explore – touch base with as many GM’s as you can. And don’t forget the Assistant GM’s you might bump into on the elevator. Make the acquaintance on behalf of the Mets. You never know…
Mets: A conversation a day keeps the mistakes away
The Mets have needs. Unless they are willing to dive headlong into the expensive free-agent market, trades are the only sure-fire way to strengthen their team.
Yesterday, we broke the current Mets roster down, ranking players in terms of trade value to another team. The time Brodie Van Wagenen and his staff in Scottsdale is when the Mets should be seeking to learn if potential trade partners see the ranking the same way.
Following the meetings, the sit-downs Brodie has with his staff as they exchange notes and thoughts become the framework for the real thing when actual discussions are held and deals negotiated.
Last year, Van Wagenen, on behalf of the Mets, jumped the gun. Hopefully, he has learned his lesson well.