Steve Cohen's purchase of the New York Mets was completed on Friday. Predictably, it didn't take long for him to start remaking the organization, beginning with a split from general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who will be leaving the club, according to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported that a number of other high-ranking Mets executives are also on their way out as part of the turnover, including former GM Omar Minaya.
Van Wagenen had been in charge for just two seasons, leading the Mets to a 112-110 record. Under his watch, the Mets made a number of splashy moves, albeit without accomplishing the goal of reaching the playoffs. Van Wagenen had been a polarizing hire in the first place, as he was previously a player agent. It's unclear if he'll return to that side of the game now.
Later on Friday, Van Wagenen released a statement in response to the news. It read in part:
"Congratulations to Steve Cohen on the purchase of your hometown team. I hope that your energy, competitiveness and resources will be welcomed by Major League Baseball. The sport can benefit from your fearlessness and aggressiveness.
Lastly, and most importantly, to the Mets Players: Major League Baseball exists because of your extraordinary talent and teamwork. Your commitment to be the best you can be every day is inspiring. Your performance brings families and friends closer to each other and unites us as a community. Thank you for you for the memories past, present and future. #LetsGoMets"
The Mets will now install former general manager Sandy Alderson was the head of their baseball operations department. They are expected to add additional high-ranking executives, including a new GM. Speculation around the industry has linked Oakland Athletics assistant GM Billy Owens (among others) to the position. Here's what we wrote about Owens last month:
If you read "Moneyball" then you might remember how Michael Lewis introduced Owens by writing that he was "what you'd get if you hammered Shaquille O'Neal with a pile driver until he stood six foot two." That's not a particularly kind way of describing someone, which is too bad because Owens is regarded throughout the league as a quality human being. He's a baseball lifer, too, having racked up the miles as a minor-league player, coach, scout and so on. Within the industry, he's considered one of the favorites for the Mets job if and when it becomes available.
It's anyone's guess as to whether the Mets will retain manager Luis Rojas. He, of course, was thrown into a difficult situation, taking over after the club split ways with Carlos Beltran because of his role in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.