When Brodie Van Wagenen was looking for a manager this off-season, there was lot of talk his first choice was Astros manager A.J. Hinch. Well, Hinch is no longer the Astros manager. So it is fair to ask if Van Wagenen will return to his old friend.
Maybe “old friend” does not do their relationship justice. They were roommates at Stanford, and Van Wagenen was Hinch’s best man at his wedding. So they are really, really good pals.
Let’s face it, Van Wagenen did not want to hire Luis Rojas. If he did, he would have hired him instead of the much less qualified Carlos Beltran. So if the Mets and Rojas flop in 2020, it would be natural for Van Wagenen to hire someone he really wants. And that is apparently A.J. Hinch.
Of course, Van Wagenen will have to absorb the backlash of hiring a manager who admits he learned about the Astros cheating scandal, going so far as to destroy the video monitor that was central to the scheme. However, he never had a team meeting to demand the players stop. Hinch says he was a different manager then, “especially the leader I feel like I am in 2019 versus where I was in 2017 and where I’ve grown.”
Yeah, sure. It’s not like Hinch was a rookie manager in 2017; it was his third year on the job. He let the cheating continue for one of two reasons — he was either afraid to confront the players or he was happy with the results. Whatever the reason, Hinch failed to show leadership. And isn’t that a manager’s job?
Hinch will likely manage again someday; he apparently is pretty good at it. And if someone is going to welcome him back and take all the grief that comes with it, wouldn’t it be his best friend?