Mets to unveil new GM Van Wagenen today
NEW YORK -- Throughout this decade, the Mets have negotiated some of their most significant player contracts with Brodie Van Wagenen. They have now completed an entirely different deal with one of professional baseball's most powerful player agents.
The Mets will introduce Van Wagenen as their new general manager at Citi Field today in a 2:30 p.m. ET news conference that can be seen live on MLB.com and mets.com.
A 44-year-old whose clients include Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Tim Tebow, Ryan Zimmerman and Robinson Cano, Van Wagenen is one of only a handful of agents to transition to a Major League front office.
"Brodie is an extremely knowledgeable, creative, progressive and collaborative leader who I'm confident will lead us toward sustainable success," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. "I'm very excited for our fans to hear and see the direction Brodie outlined for us."
"Brodie showed us he is a progressive thinker who is prepared for this role and has great baseball acumen," Mets chairman of the board and CEO Fred Wilpon said. "Jeff brought forward an array of candidates, and we all agreed that Brodie's high character and blend of analytics, scouting and development ideas illustrate why he will be successful in this role."
The Mets' talks with Van Wagenen began organically over the summer, shortly after outgoing GM Sandy Alderson announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence to focus on his medical issues. Jeff Wilpon reached out to Van Wagenen for advice about GM candidates; in time, the conversation shifted from others around baseball to Van Wagenen himself.
"I'm beyond excited and motivated to take on this new challenge," Van Wagenen said. "I want to thank Fred and Jeff for believing in my vision and abilities. I look forward to beginning the progress of getting the Mets to contend for a championship year after year."
While moving from an agency to a front office is rare, it is not unprecedented. Recent examples include Dave Stewart, who switched from agent to D-backs GM in the fall of 2014 but was dismissed two years later. A few years prior, Jeff Moorad gave up a career as an agent to become part-owner of the D-backs and then the Padres.
The NBA has featured two of sports' most successful transition stories. Kobe Bryant's longtime agent Rob Pelinka became Lakers GM in 2017, using his influence to sign superstar LeBron James this summer. And in 2011, the Warriors hired Wasserman Media Group agent Bob Myers to be their assistant GM. He is now their president of basketball operations, helping build the team that has won three of the last four NBA titles.
Still, Van Wagenen will face significant scrutiny, given the number of Mets players he represented. Van Wagenen is privy to classified medical information that he could theoretically use against his clients in contract negotiations. In July, he said publicly that the Mets should either sign deGrom to a long-term contract extension or trade him, though nothing ever came of that ultimatum. Now, any negotiations with deGrom would present an inherent conflict of interest.
Other concerns include Van Wagenen's complete lack of experience in a Major League front office, a question that he will have to answer at an introductory press conference on Tuesday.
Van Wagenen beat out Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom for the job. Known best for his fluency in analytics, Bloom is a 35-year-old Yale graduate who boasts ample experience with contract negotiations and international scouting. He has spent his entire 14-year career with the Rays.
The Mets' third finalist was 66-year-old Doug Melvin, whom they eliminated from contention earlier this week. After Alderson took a leave of absence, the Mets began drawing up a list of candidates that ran several dozen deep. They interviewed at least eight of them, with three -- Van Wagenen, Bloom and Melvin -- receiving call-backs.