Soon after Jeff Wilpon introduced Brodie Van Wagenen as the new general manager of the Mets on Tuesday, the team’s chief operating officer suggested more changes may be in store. He essentially said no one’s job is safe.
That starts with the three resident assistants — John Ricco, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi — who were asked by Wilpon to help in the search for a job any of the three could have been qualified to handle.
Wilpon said the decisions on who remains, including manager Mickey Callaway, are now up to Van Wagenen. “That’s going to be up to him to go through and decide who stays and who doesn’t,’’ Wilpon said. “I was clear with all the [GM] candidates that they have the right to do that with anybody in the front office — and anybody — Mickey on down.’’ While Van Wagenen said he “fully supports” Callaway, he said he would speak with the assistants in the next several days. Minaya, who is close to owner Fred Wilpon, is believed to be safe.
Jeff Wilpon said, “We certainly floated some names,’’ regarding new front-office personnel, “but we haven’t asked permission or started talking to anybody at this time.”
Ricco, 50, has been with the Mets since 2004. He basically served as the interim GM after Sandy Alderson stepped down in late June to continue treatment for cancer.
Ricco said ownership told him before the search that he was not a candidate. “I don’t know if disappointment was the right word,’’ he said. “I’m pretty much a realist when it comes to these positions. There’s 30 of them in the world and the timing has to be right . . . I understood that and I’ve been through this a couple of times. I can’t really say there was a disappointment.
“Much the same way when Omar was let go [in 2010], I was a key figure in that job search, too. I really didn’t enter it with that in any part of my mind. I understood the reasons why I wasn’t a candidate and so once I was comfortable with that it was about doing the best job I could with the task at hand and that was to find the next GM of the Mets.’’
It was Jeff Wilpon who suggested Van Wagenen on the list of 40 names. “We haven’t been real successful with what we’ve been doing,’’ Wilpon said, “so if there was ever a time to think out-of-the-box and maybe do something a little bit different, I thought now was the time.’’
Ricco does not know his future. “We’re still going to talk,’’ he said of Van Wagenen. “I think he has an idea of the structure he’s looking for and each one of us will have a conversation with him where we fit within that structure and whether it’s a fit . . . we’re going to have a conversation and I’ll see where we go from there.’’
Ricco has had many encounters with Van Wagenen, a former agent who represented many of the current Mets. “The thing that Brody needed to convince me of was that he really wanted the job,’’ Ricco said. “He pretty much did that right off the bat. I saw the passion, I saw the preparation, the conviction. He wants to do this. Spending several hours with him, even more than that, convinced me even more.’’