Consider this series of events, not far from the realm of possibility:
- The 2020 Major League Baseball season will not start, due to circumstances within or outside the owners’ control of players.
- Wilpans finally sells the Mets.
- The Mets’ new owner has chosen to hire a new general manager for 2021.
Don’t worry for the Mets ’current GM, Brody Van Wagenen. His contract, guaranteed, will take him through 2022. However, if the tenure of being a baseball operations boss is short for what can be summarized in the QB documentary, what do we do with it?
Hopefully for the community that baseball will be held this year, Van Wagenen will get more games to test his work. Whatever happens, the agent-turned-executive has already established a variety of legacy:
Whether he sinks, swims, or winds down, Van Wagenen bet on him.
At his introductory news conference in Cityfield in November 2018, Van Wagenen gave up on the three features of fearless, relentless and active. Later that day, he traded Jared Kelenik and four other players to the Mariners for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.
(Yes, yes, the blockbuster trade took place a month after his appointment. The quarantine confused our sense of timing, am I right?)
That first year was devastating – minus-2.2 wins over the founding of Kano and Diaz Minne, while Kellenic, the sixth-overall pick of the 2018 teh draft, boosted industry prospect rankings with the Seattle system as well.
The return of the Juris Familia was so unsuccessful, and Jed Lowry had disappeared for so long that people began to mistaken him as Carl Pavano. “Come on us,” Van Wagenen said in the offseason, the challenge for the rest of the National League East was to “come and get us” by July.
However, the same aggressive mentality forced Van Wagenen to start with Pete Alonso as his first baseman, hit a service-time manipulation, and traded a pair of pitching opportunities to the Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman on July 28, when the Mets owned a 50-55 record. The Strowman Mets helped their season to an 86-76 performance, a nine-game improvement from digit18 and an attendance increase of more than 200,000.
Submit your MetS queries here to answer in an upcoming post mailbag
J.D. obtained from the Astros by Van Wagenen. Davis, who played a significant role in that surge, backed Ace Jacob DeGrom, who won his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award after signing a five-year, $ 137.5 million extension before Opening Day.
When Commissioner Rob Manfred released his dire report on the Astros in January 2017, Van Wagenen’s commitment to his own belief system was settled. With the Mets clearing their new manager Carlos Beltran in just days, Van Wagenenen could emulate the Astros and hire a quiet gray outsider like Dusty Baker. Instead, GM, who put in two months’ worth of work with Beltran and his coaching staff, lifted quality-control coach Luis Rojas, 38, and rookie big-league skipper to the manager’s office.
All this may or may not work well enough. The team looked awesome during spring training before the world closed. Since then, Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery has weakened the Mets’ starting rotation, which made their strengths and their FanGraphs projection down 85-77, three games behind the Nationals and two behind the Braves in the NL East. The 82-game schedule, like the current hope, creates more diversity in results.
The Mets are once again exciting and relevant in the wake of their 2017-18 funk. They were finally able to win their first championship since 1986. If the canoe continues to grow old and the whole operation turns into stupid gold, Diaz really has New York-phobia, Kelenic respects his hype, and so on.
If we get even half the season, the Mets are one of the most fascinating teams in the game and Van Wagenen is one of the most compelling executives. His baseball acumen needs to be “decided”, perhaps forever. In the short time he has done, we have decided that he will not deceive himself in this golden opportunity.