Brodie Van Wagenen in just one hundred days has certainly instilled a sense of confidence for the Mets in 2019. The new GM’s “big offseason splash” came in the form of many quality big leaguers destined to help fix the team’s weakest points, but was it enough to justify this confidence?
Having confidence in your team is not a bad thing, and it has not reached Namathian levels yet, but there are reasons to question if the Mets really are the team to beat this year.
Five former All-stars (Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Wilson Ramos, and Jed Lowrie) join the team this year while four were added last offseason. So indeed you could say the wake on this offseason splash is in fact a little bigger, but with all these additions either old, prone to injuries, or play baseball’s most volatile position it stands to reason that there are still many ways 2019 could go wrong for the Mets.
On top of this we have a team that continually earns top revenue (valued at 6th by Forbes in 2018) yet spending below league average once factoring in the insurance money from David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes.
However, this is not the story of the offseason; being the most improved team in baseball is.
Van Wagenen deserves a lot of credit for instilling hope in a franchise that all too often lacks it. Every player seems on board, and even one player who plays for Texas now. It has been refreshing to see good press about the Mets, and all of this leads me to question if the former agent has actually changed jobs.
An agent always talks up their players and presents them in the most favorable way possible. They appear fresh, in control, are quick to crack a joke, and make the tense nature of contract negotiations feel fluid.
That is just what Van Wagenen has done for the Mets. He has washed away the sins of yesteryear and given the team a sense of confidence to get players and fans to buy-in, in some cases advertising the team to season ticket holders. It is a whole new image.
There is the goofy “Jedi” comment during the Jed Lowrie press conference, there is the neat video of him talking a big game in the batting cages, and there is the unceasing attitude that the Mets will take on the rest of the league in 2019.
We shouldn’t go as far to say he is solely being the Mets’ agent and not running the team, but it certainly was a hire meant to change the image of the team. It will be interesting to see if this splash of a hire makes waves around the league and teams start hiring more former player agents to be franchise agents.