For too long, the Mets have been (rightfully) criticized as a franchise that is stale, uncreative, floundering, and dysfunctional. Their new GM intercepts all of that, only to create a new set of problems.
Already, Jeff Wilpon has fired a shot across the bow concerning his new General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen declaring that:
Ah, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Think that’s weird? Strap in, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Count ’em. That’s seven men, eight if you count Fred Wilpon, all with personalities and egos, some of which approach the stratosphere – and somehow – we are supposed to think they will blend to produce a Mets team capable of producing a World Championship.
Forget all that stuff about Brodie Van Wagenen and a potential conflict of interest as their former agent when he sits down across the table with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and a host of others for their arbitration hearings. That’s been tidied up so neatly by the Mets, CAA (Van Wagenen’s company), Van Wagenen himself, MLB, and the MLB Player’s Association with each side tendering $200/hour attorneys to formulate the final wording of Brodie Van Wagenen’s contract.
Fred Wilpon went further though indicating that Van Wagenen would be expected to “recuse” himself in any contractual discussions with players he formerly represented. But then he added that Brodie Van Wagenen would be available as a “consultant” in those same negotiations. Sounds like double-speak?
You bet it is, though it’s much too early to predict how this will all play out. The point is the Mets did not have to do this to themselves. A host of candidates existed and still exist today for the GM position. Doug Melvin, for instance, was hailed a “good choice” until he made the mistake of being a bit too honest in public, declaring that he considered Mickey Callaway to be on a 1-year probation as manager of the Mets.
What is clear is Fred Wilpon wants to run this team with an iron hand. Wilpon wanted a GM who will not rock the boat, feeling that the Mets, with their big three of deGrom, Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler have one final chance to steal a pennant in 2019 before everything blows up the following season with head-on contractual collisions with all three pitchers.
Wilpon did not want a mover and a shaker, and he certainly didn’t want someone knocking on his door every day asking for money to sign this player or that player. Enter Brodie Van Wagenen, Wilpon’s perfect foil as a man with zero, nil, nada, zilch front office experience in baseball, let alone a franchise situated in New York City.
But it’s not just Van Wagenen and the baggage he carries. It’s more the frightening thoughts about what is going to happen when Van Wagenen says he wants to sign Player X. Minaya says are you crazy, look a Player Y. Ricco pushes for Player Z, while Callaway, looking at the analytics of each player, doesn’t think any of them will help him. Meanwhile, Fred wants to know the dent in his checkbook, and that’s all.
Talk about dysfunction. We haven’t seen anything yet once all the front office players square off to do battle in a test of ego for power. And for beleaguered Mets fans, that’s a damn shame. I keep saying you can’t make this stuff up when it comes to the Mets.
Yet, here we sit once again in the midst of a swamp the Mets have created for themselves…
Warning: This video contains language which may be offensive in every spoken sentence.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor
Reflections On Baseball