On Tuesday at Citi Field, Mets’ Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Wilpon, introduced new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to the media.
Wilpon said that the team had targeted around 40 names who could potentially be the Mets’ next GM. That field was then narrowed down to a dozen, who were called in for interviews. The field was then trimmed to three, and Wilpon admitted Van Wagenen was their first choice.
In fact, Wilpon said he was energized about the hire, as was his father and CEO Fred Wilpon.
“I haven’t seen my dad this excited about a hire that we’ve made in a long time,” Jeff Wilpon said.
When Van Wagenen was introduced, the first thing he did was thank former Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson.
“It’s humbling to stand here today as I try to follow in his footsteps,” Van Wagenen said. “Sandy if you’re listening, I hope to lean on you a lot.”
Van Wagenen really drove home the fact that he wants the Mets to be competitive now, as well as down the line.
“We will win now, we will win in the future,” he said. “We’re going to develop a winning culture and a winning mindset. We are going to deliver this city and this fan base a team they can be proud of.”
The new GM added that they will also be beefing up the analytics department, a key point that was discussed by him and Jeff Wilpon during the interviewing process.
Wilpon said that they have money put aside to bolster the analytics department.
In regards to Jacob deGrom, Van Wagenen says that he hopes to keep the Cy Young hopeful for years to come. However, Van Wagenen will have to “recuse” from certain negotiations, according to Wilpon. DeGrom is Van Wagenen’s former client.
Since Van Wagenen was an agent prior to being hired as GM, there has been a lot of push back from the league as well as other agents, citing a conflict of interest.
While Jeff Wilpon would not expand on it, he said there are provisions in Van Wagenen’s that will eliminate any conflict of interest. This could include negotiating directly with deGrom and his former other clients.
Finally, when asked about manager Mickey Callaway, Van Wagenen said he had a chance to speak with him recently, and believes Callaway is a very positive person. He also said Callaway will be back in 2019.
This offseason will be interesting for Van Wagenen and the Mets. The offseason is going to be crazy over the next several weeks and Brodie will be thrown right into the fire.
Hopefully, he puts his money where his mouth is and can lead the Mets to success, now and in the future.