The Mets formally introduced former agent Brodie Van Wagenen as the team’s new general manager at a relatively brief news conference at Citi Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Here are some highlights that stood out (which I guess is what highlights naturally do). First from Jeff Wilpon.
— Wilpon said he was impressed with Van Wagenen’s “collaborative approach with front office.” In fact, collaboration was a major theme of the event. What that says to me is that Van Wagenen will not have the final say on player moves, that he will have to get approval from the Wilpons, and likely former acting GMs Omar Minaya, John Ricco and Paul DePodesta as well. Wilpon suggested other candidates were not willing to be as collaborative. This is not a positive development and was the major headline from the news conference.
— Jeff Wilpon said 40 people were considered for the job but that Van Wagenen was the first choice all along.
— He praised Van Wagenen’s “deep analytic background and deep scouting background,” an obvious effort to straddle the old school and new school approaches to running a team. It has been reported Fred Wilpon favored a scouting guy while Jeff wanted a strong analytical GM.
— As far as the multitude of conflicts of interest a former agent might have now that he is running a team, Wilpon said he spoke with the commissioner and the Players Association about that and there are “provisions in his contract to deal with conflict of interests.” However when pressed, Wilpon would not say what those provisions are.
Now from Brodie Van Wagenen:
— He said he has long worked with former GM Sandy Alderson and will “lean on” him during the process. Hmm.
— He understands his hiring is controversial, admitting he is “not the path of least resistance.”
— As far as speculation the Mets will trade their top players and rebuild, Van Wagenen said there is already a lot of talent on the team and the plan is to “infuse new talent” with the existing players.
— As far as former client Jacob deGrom, when Van Wagenen was asked about his statement over the summer (“the Mets should either sign deGrom or trade him”), he joked that he wasn’t expecting that question. But he said, “I hope to keep him for a long time,” so it would not be a shock to see deGrom locked up this winter.
— Continuing with the collaboration theme, Van Wagenen said he understands the Wilpons are involved owner. And he said owners who are not involved is “bad ownership.”
— Answering a question, he said, “I always felt on a 10,000 foot level…” What does that even mean?
After brief opening statements each by Wilpon and Van Wagenen, the two sat for reporter questions. After maybe a half-dozen questions, the news conference was abruptly cut off. The whole affair lasted about 20 minutes, with many, many questions left unanswered about this unusual arrangement. If the Mets were hoping for transparency moving forward, this was a poor start. But then again, why should things change? — the Mets have a new GM, not new owners.