Brodie Van Wagenen is denying a report in the New York Post that he runs in-game decisions by telephone from the confines of his lounge chair in his living room. It appears there is truth in both the report and the denial.
The story points to Mickey Callaway’s controversial decision to remove Jacob deGrom from a game earlier this month in Arizona in which the reigning Cy Young award winner (with 10 wins!) had a hip cramp. Van Wagenen reportedly made the call himself in a text to the training staff. He didn’t necessarily deny that, saying it is standard operating procedure to be in touch with the medical team during games.
“We’re evaluating the players’ health, we’re talking about X-rays, we’re talking about whether a player — as you all know — we try to get information to the press box as quickly as possible about the statuses. That is normal protocol for us,” he said, according to ESPN.com. “We’ll continue to do that and make sure that if the training staff and the health of the player is such that the player can’t continue, then that communication happens between the training staff and the coaches.”
His puppet echoed those thoughts.
“I think we’re always in communication,” Mickey Callaway said. “Especially when guys are injured, obviously I’ve been filled in on what you’re talking about. When a guy gets injured on the field or when a guy is actively injured or has something going on, you know everybody is in communication with the training staff to take care of the players the best we can.”
This should not come as a shock to anyone. These days general managers run the show, telling managers whom to play on a daily basis. It is why inexperienced managers are hired; they will listen to a GM. Could you imagine a Bobby Valentine or a Billy Martin acquiescing to anyone regarding their lineups? Are we surprised Van Wagenen’s star acquisition, Robinson Cano, continues to bat third despite a season-long slump?
However, the conversation is supposed to stop once the game starts; it is against baseball rules to contact baseball personnel once the umpire yells “play ball” (do they even do that anymore?). So the real question is whether Brodie Van Wagenen is sending his thoughts on strategy to Callaway during the game. They both say no, so let’s take them at the word. But again, would it be a shock to find out it was happening?
This is Van Wagenen’s team, and it is entrusted to a manager he did not hire. I’m sure it is a scenario that is not ideal to Van Wagenen. So if he can find a way around it, perhaps he would.
Or perhaps he wouldn’t. If he got caught, MLB would likely suspend him for a decent amount of time, if not ban him altogether. Also not ideal for a guy trying to prove an agent can succeed on the other side of the bargaining table.
Whatever the truth, it is just another sad chapter to this dysfunctional 2019 Mets season.