2019 Mets: My Agent Is Now My GM

jon abbey

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I get that you guys have been preoccupied baseball-wise but wow do we need to talk about this. After a typically hilarious search for a new GM (66 year old Doug Melvin made the final 3, a guy who three years ago admitted the game had passed him by when he left MIL), the Mets just hired 44 year old Brodie Van Wagenen today.

If it wasn't for the horrific Wilpons, this job would be one of the better ones in baseball and guys would be elbowing each other out of the way to try to get interviews for it, but instead the majority of people they tried to interview knew better and passed, so they ended up with Van Wagenen. an agent with zero baseball personnel experience of any kind. On top of that, HE IS THE FREAKING AGENT for so so so many Mets, including most or all of the best ones:

"Van Wagenen and CAA represent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Nimmo, pitchers Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman and Jason Vargas, third baseman Todd Frazier, and prospects Tim Tebow, Anthony Kay David Peterson and Justin Dunn. Seven are on the active roster and three are top prospects."

One immediate thing jumps to mind, this is from just three months ago, July 16 before the trade deadline:

"The only thing shrinking faster than Jacob deGrom’s ERA is his agent’s patience with the Mets. Brodie Van Wagenen declared Monday that if the team did not intend to sign him to an extension in the near future, he should be traded.

“Jacob has expressed interest directly to them about being part of a long-term future and a long-term plan,” Van Wagenen said at Nationals Park. “They have expressed some interest in that same level of commitment. If that’s not their interest, then Jacob understands that this an environment where they may be better off moving him to accomplish their long-term goal.”"

https://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/jacob-degrom-contract-mets-1.19862662

I mean, the mind boggles, I don't even know where to start. Wagenen has already said he won't be part of upcoming arb hearings with his former clients like deGrom and Syndergaard but even if he is not there, what a ridiculous conflict of interest that is impossible to avoid once he is hired. My only guess at what will happen here is that Wagenen will funnel as much money as he can to all of his 'former' clients and then get himself fired and go back to repping them. Or something totally different, Mets have maybe never Metsed harder than this.
 

jon abbey

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Also maybe this was always the case, but you know we are definitely seeing Tim Tebow on the roster now, presumably this season sometime since he is already 31. Mets!
 

Apisith

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This is crazy. For De Grom, why would the Mets sign him to an extension? He’s arb-eligible but won’t be a FA for 2 more years. He’ll be a FA for his age 33 season. Signing him to an extension today is crazy because his arm could fall off by then.
 

Spacemans Bong

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This is crazy. For De Grom, why would the Mets sign him to an extension? He’s arb-eligible but won’t be a FA for 2 more years. He’ll be a FA for his age 33 season. Signing him to an extension today is crazy because his arm could fall off by then.
On the other hand, he's provided 27 career WAR for 12.6 million dollars. It's one of the greatest bargains ever for a baseball team in the free agency era, and it legitimately sucks for deGrom that he's this good and came up this late because there's unusually low motivation for the Mets to buy out any free agency. He could be past his prime by the time he hits FA, forget injuries. Age-related decline is a real concern. So the Mets are doing the right thing by them.

But DeGrom has been begging for an extension for a long time, because he knows this too, and it sucks to see a Cy Young winner strung along by the fucking Wilpons. So honestly, if they hire his fucking agent and he gives deGrom four years and $100 million, I'm happy about it. I'm glad he got paid because fuck the Wilpons.
 

JimD

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The Metsian level of dysfunction in this bizarre hire is only raised further by the fact that, even after every other high-profile candidate declined interest in the job, the Wilpons still had the opportunity to hire Tampa Bay executive Chaim Bloom, who by all accounts is the de facto GM of the Rays. A young exec who ran a team that would have been a surprise playoff contender in any other year and would begin to finally bring the Mets into baseball's new age - better keep that guy away from Flushing!
 

glennhoffmania

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Isn't this basically the same thing that Moorad did, except that Moorad didn't represent a quarter of the AZ roster at the time?
 

BigSoxFan

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The Metsian level of dysfunction in this bizarre hire is only raised further by the fact that, even after every other high-profile candidate declined interest in the job, the Wilpons still had the opportunity to hire Tampa Bay executive Chaim Bloom, who by all accounts is the de facto GM of the Rays. A young exec who ran a team that would have been a surprise playoff contender in any other year and would begin to finally bring the Mets into baseball's new age - better keep that guy away from Flushing!
Who wants to hire a really young GM with an analytical background? When has that ever worked out?
 

jon abbey

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Isn't this basically the same thing that Moorad did, except that Moorad didn't represent a quarter of the AZ roster at the time?
I believe Moorad went from being an agent to a part-owner of Arizona, not their GM. Dave Stewart went from being an agent to the Arizona GM ten years after that, but he wasn't representing all of the D'Backs' good players at the time, plus it was fairly disastrous and he was fired in two years.
 

glennhoffmania

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I believe Moorad went from being an agent to a part-owner of Arizona, not their GM. Dave Stewart went from being an agent to the Arizona GM ten years after that, but he wasn't representing all of the D'Backs' good players at the time, plus it was fairly disastrous and he was fired in two years.
Yeah I'm not at all saying the AZ situation was as ridiculous as the Mets, but I think that Moorad was more than just a minority owner. From his Wiki:

While with Arizona, Moorad was a General Partner, Chief Executive Officer, the spokesman for the Diamondbacks’ ownership group, and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the franchise.[3]
 

jon abbey

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Yeah I'm not at all saying the AZ situation was as ridiculous as the Mets, but I think that Moorad was more than just a minority owner. From his Wiki:
OK, but since he owned 12 percent of the team and didn't represent any of the players previously, he didn't have any of the insane conflict of interests that Van Wagenen has. Being part owner means your interests totally align with management, whereas Van Wagenen bears no part of the financial burden if he now signs his former clients to new deals.
 

lexrageorge

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I have to believe that among the 29 other front offices in MLB, that there is at least one young and talented individual that would jump at the opportunity to take the reins, even if it is the NY Mets. Sure, there may very well be some learning on the job, as well as some frustrations. But he or she would be basically auditioning in front of 29 major league owners in the process.

Just bizarre that even an ownership group as dysfunctional as the Wilpons would do this.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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Rob Pelinka was an NBA agent before getting hired as GM of the Lakers, though I don’t know if any of his former clients were on the roster. Wonder if this is a new trend.
 

canderson

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Rob Pelinka was an NBA agent before getting hired as GM of the Lakers, though I don’t know if any of his former clients were on the roster. Wonder if this is a new trend.
Not joking: Scott Boras is de-facto owner of the Nationals.

I can see this becoming somewhat of a trend, too.
 

MakeMineMoxie

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So Jon Abbey is now getting his sports news from The Onion? Wait, this is real? The Mets get further and further behind the curve every day. Ignoring the agent/client conflict for a moment, is there any indication that Van Wagenen is even competent to run an MLB club?

Wilpons are gonna Wilpon, I guess.
 

jon abbey

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Ignoring the agent/client conflict for a moment, is there any indication that Van Wagenen is even competent to run an MLB club?
The normally understated Buster Olney had a funny line about this:

"Based on his experience, however, he is as qualified to be the Mets' first baseman as he is to run the organization's baseball operations -- which is to say, he's not really qualified at all."
 

YTF

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Heard on WFAN yesterday that Van Wegenen will recuse himself from any future negations with players that he's represented. In theory it's the right thing to do I guess, but come on, his Rod Rosenstein equivalent his going to be handling some some of the player decisions?. How long before Wilpon tweets, "I don't have a general manager, it's very sad."
 

OurF'ingCity

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Heard on WFAN yesterday that Van Wegenen will recuse himself from any future negations with players that he's represented. In theory it's the right thing to do I guess, but come on, his Rod Rosenstein equivalent his going to be handling some some of the player decisions?. How long before Wilpon tweets, "I don't have a general manager, it's very sad."
Even if this is true, there is simply no way for him to really "recuse" himself from decisions affecting players he's represented. What happens if he is discussing a trade with another team and the opposing GM says something like "I'll trade you [my guy] for [your guy you never represented], but only if you also throw in [your guy you did represent]." Is Van Wegenen going to say "oops, need to jump off the phone call now and put my assistant on, can't be involved in this one." The whole thing is a joke.
 

Leskanic's Thread

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The media relations tour seems to be off to a good start...


Tweet text: "Mike Francesa interviewed new #Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen today. Things were going smoothly, and then Brodie told Big Mike that the Mets have a good lineup....... annnnnd things were no longer going smoothly."
 

JohntheBaptist

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In his slight defense he is talking to a bully with an interest in slowly massaging his words to get on his tough guy platform and roll. The guy was not saying he didn't have work to do.

That said today Brodie Van Wagenen learned you cannot throw platitudes at Mike Francesa because he knows you can't say, "what you do want me to say I'm trying to be positive about my new team and build trust" and will just hammer you with it until your spot is over and laugh at you when you're off the air. The "who is going to beat us in the NL East" was a face-plant for sure though.

Anyway, that recusal nonsense is insane. It is seven players on the '18 roster! Good god.
 

jon abbey

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Anyway, that recusal nonsense is insane. It is seven players on the '18 roster! Good god.
Plus Tim Tebow, we really need to keep remembering what is very likely to be the most entertaining part of Brodie's short reign.
 

cheech13

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Rob Pelinka was an NBA agent before getting hired as GM of the Lakers, though I don’t know if any of his former clients were on the roster. Wonder if this is a new trend.
It's becoming increasingly common in the NBA. Pelinka as you noted, but the architect of the Warriors superteam, Bob Myers, is a former agent. Neil Olshey, GM of the Blazers, worked in player development for a sports agency. Justin Zanik, formerly Asst. GM of the Bucks and now the Jazz, is a former agent. Arn Tellem, perhaps the most powerful NBA agent, now works in a senior capacity for the Pistons.

MLB and NBA are drastically different sports and the GM's job duties aren't necessarily similar for each, but the agent-as-GM thing infecting MLB isn't something surprises me at all. As the CBA becomes more complex and the contracts larger I think you'll continue to see even more crossover.
 
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Rough Carrigan

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Rob Pelinka was an NBA agent before getting hired as GM of the Lakers, though I don’t know if any of his former clients were on the roster. Wonder if this is a new trend.
Wouldn't you guess that this is ownership saying, "Damn that smart guy over there kicked our asses in recent negotiations for Player X and Player Y and Player Z. Why don't we make THAT guy our new GM?"

One can't help but infer a sort of insularity on the part of owners doing this. They only know first hand that this guy is sharp. So pick him, ignoring that there are multiple characteristics that go into being right and being ready for that job and it's doubtful that they guy they know has those characteristics.
 

canderson

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I thought he was back for the end of the MiLB season. I must’ve been mistaken.
 

jon abbey

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MLB and NBA are drastically different sports and the GM's job duties aren't necessarily similar for each, but the agent-as-GM thing infecting MLB isn't something surprises me at all. As the CBA becomes more complex and the contracts larger I think you'll continue to see even more crossover.
I would guess it is way harder to become a mediocre MLB GM than a mediocre NBA one, if for no other reason than the number of players under control at any time by an organization is I believe under 20 in the NBA (including foreign stashes) and I'm guessing up to 200 in MLB with all of the various farm teams, maybe more even. Brodie does have some experienced former GMs under him in Minaya and Ricciardi but you know he will ignore them at times and do some epically stupid stuff. It's hard to remember a hire more obviously doomed from day 1 except maybe Bobby Valentine.
 

jon abbey

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jon abbey

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“"Philosophically, I've always rejected the notion" that an agent can become a GM, Scott Boras says.

Boras adds: "I've never talked to Brodie Van Wagenen in my life." He says when he meets with the Mets to negotiate this winter, he can talk to the Wilpons or other staffers.”
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Does anybody in New York care about Tim Tebow? I could see the Marlins selling a few extra tickets when the Mets come to town, but why would anybody in New York want to see him?
 

JohntheBaptist

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Does anybody in New York care about Tim Tebow? I could see the Marlins selling a few extra tickets when the Mets come to town, but why would anybody in New York want to see him?
It's never made any sense whatsoever to me, too. By and large Mets fans are there anyway, but what really gets them amped and engaged is even the faintest of hope of winning, or, you know, winning.

It sounds like the laziest version of marketing anyone's ever engaged in. And they keep beating the horse, he's been in the organization for three seasons now (whoops, two--2016 was the AFL). Dude is 31 gd years old! He has a sub-700 career OPS and can't stay healthy. It's embarrassing.

Maybe they think the national attention on their team if they promote him and everyone inevitably obsesses over it is worth it all? I'm lost on it too.
 

jon abbey

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Passan reporting that the Mets are trying to get Diaz in the deal as well
And giving up the #6 overall stud Kelenic they drafted just last June, maybe once he's in SEA, BVW can quit and be his agent too. :)
 

jon abbey

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A brief update on the Mets, just from the last two days (and this is I'm sure missing things even still):

Yesterday: The wildly up and down Zach Wheeler gives up 7 runs to the even more desperate Nats, but the Mets creep back. Doolittle comes in to protect a 7-4 lead, but he pitched the night before and is off, the Mets get 2 and load the bases on an infield hit by Cano with two outs. The batter is Keon Broxton, who the Mets liked enough to give up three players for (including yet another 2018 draft pick somehow, this time the 4th rounder) just this January, but who hasn't gotten many ABs and has been quite bad when he has. But NY is out of options, and Doolittle is still Doolittle, and on a 2-2 pitch he throws a FB by him, ballgame. Broxton says afterwards:

“From the start of the season, I’ve been surprised at why I haven’t been playing as much and why I haven’t got as many opportunities,” Broxton said after Thursday’s loss. “It’s not like I started out bad. It’s just, it is what it is.”

You can see both sides there probably, but in conjunction with Conforto's (bad-looking) concussion, today Keon Broxton was DFAd. Yes, the Mets gave up three players for him in January.

Oh, and Conforto ran into Cano hard on a fly ball, and is already on the 7 day DL concussion list, good luck to him but it looked like a TKO on his feet and not a quick return.

Today: OK, fine, that's all bad, but today is a new day, and they had Cy DeGrom against the dreadful Marlins, who had scored a whopping four total runs in five games coming in. Well, that didn't go any better, with the Marlins going up 7-1 after 5, with all 7 off DeGrom (6 earned) capped by a blast to almost dead center from the immortal Jorge Alfaro. The Mets again tried to come back, but lost 8-6. They had gotten back to .500 after a brutal West Coast trip, but have lost 3 in a row again and are back to 20-23, the sharks are circling for Mickey Callaway (Olney just posted a column on ESPN+ about it).
 

jon abbey

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One thing I missed because I didn't actually watch today was that Cano and his .693 OPS and big contract through 2023 barely ran out a DP ball to end the seventh. He said after that the scoreboard said there were two outs so he didn't realize there was only one, but, you know, MetsTown.
 

jon abbey

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They will probably come back and win but the Mets NY Post beat writer just tweeted:

“The Mets have one hit through six innings and are losing 2-0. They resemble a collection of corpses.”
 

jon abbey

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Yep, 2-0 final, the Mets only hit was on the first pitch of the game and it was an excuse-me flip down the line that the batter didn't even run on initially because he thought it would be foul. The Marlins win their second series of the season and the Mets fall 4 games under .500 for the first time this season. Good luck Mickey!
 

jon abbey

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The phrasing here is very funny (from the Mets Yahoo beat writer):

"A source said Mickey Callaway will not be fired tonight, and the team is not prepared to make a change during this road trip.

This does not rule out Mickey being canned Monday, but there are no plans for him to be fired today/tomorrow."

 

jon abbey

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Today's chapter:

Sandy Alcantara shuts the Mets out 3-0 on 89 pitches, complete game two-hitter. Both hits were by JD Davis, both were immediately followed by Cano grounding into two more DPs (related note: Mets fans not so into Cano these days). Miami finishes the sweep.
 

YTF

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The lowlites from yesterday's postgame.

“I am coming in [Sunday] to manage the New York Mets,” Callaway said. “I am going to be enthusiastic about it and continue to lead this team to something special.”

Callaway was later asked if he considers Sunday a must-win.

“I don’t think anything is a must-win until Game 7 of the World Series,” he said. “So we are going to continue to plug away and go out there and play the game the right way.”