Brodie Van Wagenen negotiated his own deal to become general manager of the Mets. How much authority the former agent brokered for himself remains to be seen. Some answers could emerge when Van Wagenen is introduced Tuesday at Citi Field.
Van Wagenen, 44, was co-head of the baseball division at Creative Artists Agency and comes to the Mets with no front-office experience, beating out more conventional candidates such as former Brewers GM Doug Melvin and Rays executive Chaim Bloom.
Van Wagenen played baseball at Stanford, where he was a teammate of A.J. Hinch, manager of the Astros. His father-in-law was astronaut Neil Armstrong, who walked on the moon in 1969, the year the Mets won their first World Series title.
The Mets offered no specifics on Van Wagenen in Monday’s release announcing his hiring. “Brodie is an extremely knowledgeable, creative, progressive and collaborative leader who I’m confident will lead us toward sustainable success,” chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said in the statement. “I’m very excited for our fans to hear and see the direction Brodie outlined for us.”
Chairman of the board Fred Wilpon added, “Brodie showed us he is a progressive thinker who is prepared for this role and has great baseball acumen. Jeff brought forward an array of candidates and we all agreed that Brodie’s high character, blend of analytics, scouting and development ideas illustrate why he will be successful in this role.”
Van Wagenen said, “I’m beyond excited and motivated to take on this new challenge. I want to thank Fred and Jeff for believing in my vision and abilities. I look forward to beginning the progress of getting the Mets to contend for a championship year after year.”
Several of Van Wagenen’s former clients are now his employees, notably Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Van Wagenen will have to recuse himself from potential salary arbitration matters with players he represented, a baseball source said. Unclear is how much Van Wagenen will participate in potential long-term contract offerings.
Van Wagenen made it quite clear at the All-Star break where he stood regarding deGrom. He basically issued an edict telling the Mets to sign him long term or trade him. Now he is management all the way. In arbitration hearings, he will face his former colleagues from his years representing players. And the arbitrators will have to get used to his new role, too.
“Arbitrators will respond to what he does now, not what he has done in the past,’’ former MLB arbitrator Roger Abrams said in an email. “Almost all experienced arbitrators once worked on either the management or union side, but it does not keep them from being neutrals in resolving disputes. Agents learn many lessons that can be useful in running a baseball club. We’ll see.’’
Brodie Van Wagenen is the Mets’ 13th general manager:
George Weiss 1962-66
Bing Devine 1967
Johnny Murphy 1968-69
Bob Scheffing 1970-74
Joe McDonald 1975-79
Frank Cashen 1980-91
Al Harazin 1992-93
Joe McIlvaine 1994-97
Steve Phillips 1997-2003
Jim Duquette 2004
Omar Minaya 2005-10
Sandy Alderson 2010-18
Brodie Van Wagenen 2018