So the MLB General Managers’ Meetings are happening this week in Carlsbad, California. Various front office and agent types are bobbing in and out of each others’ lives, trying to lay the groundwork for some future cooperation. It’s a nice little prelude to the big Winter Meetings to be held in Las Vegas – that rumbling sound you hear is Judge Kenesaw Landis and Bowie Kuhn rolling over in their graves – next month. You know, where stuff really gets done.
It’s also the debut of Mets GM Brodie Van Waganen in his new role on the other side of the table. Former superagent Van Waganen will now have to have contentious interactions with player agents, rather than the collegial ones he’d been used to. Yes, he knows how all the mechanisms work, but it’s got to be a different feeling for him. Apparently, though, Van Waganen wasn’t all that chummy with at least one colleague. Metsblog.com reports the somewhat surprising news that, prior to Van Waganen’s ascension to the throne, fellow superagent Scott Boras had “never talked to Brodie Van Waganen in [his] life.” It wasn’t out of some competitive jealousy, says Boras, but more a personal policy. Understandable, really, seeing as what we’ve heard about the agent-world is kind of distasteful: it’s a more cutthroat endeavor than the used car business. Van Waganen acknowledged as much when ask for a reply to Boras’s comments.
It must be fascinating, though, to think about what must be going through Van Waganen’s mind nowadays. He’s basically had to pivot his philosophy a hundred and eighty degrees in the span of two weeks. He’s had to go from player advocate to adversary, basically on a dime. I mean, if you did something like that in a car, you’d strip your gears. You’d also have to think that the learning curve here is pretty steep. Sure, Van Waganen has had experience with a major league front office, but none at all in one. Obviously, how he matures into the role will determine the Mets’ future for about the next decade or so.
So this meeting with Boras is really quite interesting. Van Waganen specifically named Michael Conforto as a Boras client discussed, but one has to wonder if other, non-Met Boras clients came up in the conversation as well. Would Boras try to bamboozle a first-time executive into an overpay for another client? Or is someone with Van Waganen’s experience in a similar role too savvy to be suckered? This is going to be fun to watch unfold over the next three-and-a-half months.
This year’s hot stove may be hotter than usual.
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