The New York Mets have known they'd need a new general manager since Sandy Alderson stepped away from the position due to his health back in late June. Over the past week, the Mets had trimmed their list of candidates to two: player agent Brodie Van Wagenen and Tampa Bay Rays executive Chaim Bloom.
On Monday, the Mets officially named Van Wagenen their new general manager. The team made the announcement Monday evening and a press conference is planned for Tuesday.
"Brodie is an extremely knowledgeable, creative, progressive and collaborative leader, who I'm confident will lead us toward sustainable success," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "I'm very excited for our fans to hear and see the direction Brodie outlined for us."
"I'm beyond excited and motivated to take on this new challenge," Van Wagenen said in a statement. "I want to thank Fred (Wilpon) 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."
Now that he's been hired, the question becomes this: How quickly can Van Wagenen successfully transition from agent to general manager? As it stands, Van Wagenen's former agency (CAA) represents six Mets likely to be on next year's roster, per Baseball-Reference. That list includes pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, both of whom may be on the trading block.
It's worth noting that the decision to hire Van Wagenen appears driven in part by his willingness to forego a full rebuild:
Heard that philosophical differences were a big reason Ben Cherington never emerged as a serious Mets GM candidate: Cherington was proposing a total rebuild, and Fred/Jeff Wilpon want to win in 2019.— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) October 27, 2018
Van Wagenen's hire is certain to be questioned for multiple reasons, beginning with whether or not he's qualified to serve as a GM. There's another aspect that may not be as obvious, but that was raised by union head Tony Clark on Friday: Players are concerned that Van Wagenen could use confidential information gained through his time as an agent against the players he used to represent. Here's what the New York Post reported:
"They understand the opportunities that exist for representatives to make the decisions that they are going to make," Clark said. "To the extent that possibility exists, I would be confident in suggesting that the understanding and appreciation for confidential information remains so."
Dave Stewart was the last instance of an agent becoming the GM of an MLB team, as he was hired by the Diamondbacks in 2014. The Mets are hoping Van Wagenen's reign proves to be a more successful one. Otherwise, they'll be back in the hunt for a general manager sooner than later.