Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The general manager position for a Major League Baseball team is not primarily about philosophy. It's not primarily about an openness to either analytics or scouting, because analytics and scouts are everywhere in the game, and no decent team ignores either.
A GM job is about leadership, listening skills, and action. The Mets made an inspired choice in Brodie Van Wagenen in part because he possesses the first two qualities, but the time to compliment them for that is over.
Now we need to move on from the GM search and Van Wagenen's introductory news conference, and drill down on specifics about how he is going to ensure that the 2019 Mets are, in his phrase, a "win-now team."
An introductory news conference will always tend toward generalities, and this one had its share. Van Wagenen's use of buzzwords like "culture' and "integrity" were not empty, because his reputation as a longtime agent is of a stand-up guy who treats people well. But any successful culture is dependent upon the specifics of its execution.
With that in mind, we should now turn our focus to questions of how he will handle the upcoming onrush of offseason activity.
Here's some of what we don't yet know about Van Wagenen's plan for the Mets:
- Does he prefer Peter Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base?
- Does he think Jeff McNeil is more starting second baseman, or BABIP-inflated mirage?
- Which free agent relievers will he target?
- Will he non-tender Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores?
- With catching thin across the major leagues, how will he upgrade that position?
- Will he consider either trading Zack Wheeler before his walk year, or extending him?
That's just a small sampling, and none of it has to do with Van Wagenen's most prominent client, Jacob deGrom. That's a whole other list of questions -- as is whether the entire coaching staff returns.
One thing we can tell you is that Omar Minaya in particular will be a significant member of Van Wagenen's front office. One of the reasons Fred Wilpon was willing to make a non-traditional hire was the presence of Minaya -- a trusted evaluator and personnel guy -- in the organization.
Beyond that, we don't know much. For that reason, we'll be fascinated to see how the next days and weeks unfold, and how specific Van Wagenen is willing to get in his public comments at next week's GM meetings in Carlsbad, California.
We know he has ideas; he wouldn't have aced his interviews otherwise. Now we work to learn what they are.