The New York Mets technically haven’t done much during the 2018 Winter Meetings outside of signing Jeurys Familia (as of this writing, at least), but that doesn’t mean general manager Brodie Van Wagenen hasn’t tried.
Brodie Van Wagenen says the Mets have offers on the table for both teams and free agents, despite the quiet surface of the Winter Meetings: pic.twitter.com/VUeRNaiGeG
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 13, 2018
In the handful of times he’s spoken with reporters in Las Vegas, the difference between him and the prior front office regime is rather stark: when he speaks, he almost always provides insightful and valuable information. Van Wagenen has mentioned multiple times this week about being transparent with fellow front office executives, players, and their agents, but he’s also done the same thing with the media.
While his tenure with the Mets wasn’t perfect (and I’m thinking a good portion of it was out of his control), this feels like the complete opposite from Sandy Alderson. He said plenty of things whenever he spoke to the media, but it always felt like we didn’t get a lot of new information by the time he was finished.
That was probably by design and it may have just been the way Alderson operated, but it was also tough to get a sense of what was actually going on at any given point in time. BVW’s differing approach during his short time as Mets GM has been refreshing. Although he can’t elaborate on a number of things the front office is working on, we have a clear idea on what they’re working on: pretty much any avenue that appears interesting to them.
The New York Post‘s Mike Puma noted a while back that Van Wagenen’s strategy with regard to re-shaping New York’s roster is fluid, and we can see that coming to fruition during the Winter Meetings. Noah Syndergaard‘s name has popped up in rumors while being hot on J.T. Realmuto‘s trail.
Those pursuits have come up empty thus far, but they’ve also kept their options open by talking to free-agents catchers (Martin Maldonado, Wilson Ramos, and Yasmani Grandal) and other potential trade partners (the Boston Red Sox). Amed Rosario has become a topic of conversation in the Realmuto talks, so New York has been eyeing potential replacements via free agency as well.
In addition to all that, they’ve been looking for other right-handed hitting outfield options and ways to continue bolstering the bullpen following the acquisition of Edwin Diaz. The Mets clearly don’t have a station-to-station approach here, which is what it appeared to be in the past.
Judging from how fast things can change during the Winter Meetings or the offseason itself, this is a wonderful thing. And as stressful as it can be, it’s also wonderful knowing BVW is basically open to anything that could potentially improve the team. His genuinely open approach may not open doors right away, but the relationships built now will only help down the road. A perfect example can be found in the comments he provided about talking to Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees:
Van Wagenen has an open door on dealing with the Yankees: pic.twitter.com/E5LGlOUlR4
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) December 13, 2018
While I’d sleep a little better at night if Syndergaard’s name wasn’t so prevalent in the trade rumor mill, I like that he brings a sense of endless possibilities when looking toward the future. Not that he’ll end up making nearly as many deals, but think about how tirelessly Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto worked to try and get his club back to the postseason before ultimately tearing it down. That’s the kind of effort I’m feeling from BVW. Let’s hope the “tearing it down” part doesn’t have to happen, though.
Not every move that’s made is going to work out (and even if they end up working out, it may be tough watching certain players pack their bags), but it’s nice knowing there is a guy in charge of my favorite team thinking of every possible scenario that can take them to the next level. And thinking of multiple scenarios beyond that one.
It’s obviously way too early to judge just how good or how bad Brodie Van Wagenen will be in his new career, but the level of effort and preparation, along with his approach has taken care of my initial skepticism rather quickly.