Brodie Van Wagenen’s unconventional route from player agent to potential general manager of the Mets had its template set by former All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart, who became the first agent turned GM when the Diamondbacks hired him in 2014.
Stewart spent 14 years representing players before the Diamondbacks hired him as GM in 2014. Unlike Van Wagenen, Stewart worked in the front office of several teams before becoming an agent with Sports Management Partners. His client list included Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.
Van Wagenen, 44, who is the co-head of Creative Arts Agency and represents several Mets, including Jacob deGrom, already has faced criticism from Players Association executive director Tony Clark, who fears Van Wagenen’s hiring could jeopardize future players’ negotiations.
Stewart, 61, disputed Clark. “Never once when I worked in the office did I think of anything that had to do with any of my players,’’ he said Saturday from San Diego. “The agency that Brodie is a part of is a huge agency, and believe me, there are other agents . . . I don’t think that Jacob deGrom, knowing that his agent may be his general manager, is saying to himself, ‘I’m looking to go to another company.’ ’’
The Mets’ GM finalists came down to Van Wagenen and Rays vice president Chaim Bloom. Asked about the pros and cons of each from the Mets’ perspective, Stewart said, “Quite frankly, baseball management in a lot of ways is different than the agent industry. I don’t know what his pros would be, other than the fact that he’s been part of a strong organization that has had success in its own right.’’
Stewart believes Van Wagenen is motivated to become a GM because he wants a change, and that it is not about money. “The business of representing players is far more lucrative than being a general manager,’’ Stewart said. “There are a lot of respected guys in the industry, but being an agent is not considered by most to be one of the best occupations to have. People look at agents as slimy individuals . . . And sometimes you want to do something that most people look at as a reputable occupation.’’
Stewart said if Van Wagenen gets the Mets’ job, he will have to earn the respect of his peers. “I think you come in and there’s going to be a little skepticism at first,’’ Stewart said, “and then once you prove who you are and your capability, respect comes with that.’’
Then there are the rigors of the job. Stewart’s removal after only two years in Arizona may have been hastened when the six-year, $206.5-million contract for free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke did not produce desired results in the standings.
That signing, Stewart lamented, “wasn’t even my idea.’’
DAVE STEWART FILE
Born: Feb. 19, 1957, in Oakland, California
AS A PLAYER
RHP, Active: 1978, 1981-95 (168-129, 3.95 ERA)
Teams: Dodgers, Rangers, Phillies, A’s, Jays
AS AN EXECUTIVE
A’s assistant GM, 1996
Padres assistant GM, 1997
Diamondbacks GM, 2014
AS AN AGENT
Founded Sports Management Partners, whose early clients included Eric Chavez and Matt Kemp. He left the firm, then known as Stewart Managment Partners, upon becoming general manager of the D-Backs/