Brodie Van Wagenen has only been on the job as the Mets GM for a few months, but the outline of the way he operates is taking shape. Let’s examine the approach the former player agent has pursued in running the Mets front office.
1. He tends to favor experience over youth in his roster-building. Many GMs go with the younger and cheaper credo, but our boy Brodie takes a contrarian approach. So far, for example, additions to the roster include Jed Lowrie (34 years old), Robinson Cano (36), Wilson Ramos (31), and Justin Wilson, also 31. These arriving players all have multiyear, multimillion dollar contracts. Departures include Jarred Kelenic (19), Justin Dunn (23), and Kevin Plawecki (27).
2. Van Wagenen has a definite affinity for depth in his roster construction. There are three MLB veteran catchers under control in Ramos, Travis d’Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco, and indications are all three could at least start the year with the big club. There are three players whose best position is second base in Cano, Lowrie and Jeff McNeil. The relief corps, undermanned last year, has been significantly upgraded. Robert Gsellman was the closer by the end of last year, and there now four or five relievers ahead of him on the depth charts for high leverage use.
3. He was not afraid to churn his roster. It has been many years since so many familiar Mets names have departed to be replaced by new ones. The starting pitching rotation looks like it will be similar or identical to the staff that closed out the 2018, but the position players and the bullpen all underwent big changes. As a corollary to the this churn, Van Wagenen has shown a tendency to acquire previous clients of his, think Cano and Lowrie.
4. Van Wagenen has put an emphasis on improving the analytical aspect of the front office. The Mets analytics department was one of the smaller units in MLB last year. However that department has been beefed up considerably this year. Adam Guttridge, 33, is now the Assistant GM for systematic development, Jarred Banner (32) is the Director of player development, and 57 year old Allard Baird is the Assistant GM for scouting and player development. All three are considered to be analytics friendly, and Banner and Baird were products of the Red Sox organization, the same one that employs Bill James.
5. Van Wagenen is the opposite of aloof. Some GMs could be considered stuffed shirts, but not our GM. He seems personable and communicative, and a straight shooter. He already has committed himself to enlisting in the seven line army, at least for the subway series, as he plans to be seated in the stands with the rest of the troops.
Of course, it’s impossible to tell at this point how the Van Wagenen tenure will pan out. If the Mets make the postseason and then become regular contenders, all will be peachy in the land of Mr. Met. If, on the other hand, Jarred Kelenic turns into the reincarnation of Mickey Mantle while Robinson Cano is sitting on a Bobby Bonilla autographed rocking chair collecting millions from the club, Mr. Van Wagenen might find himself on the hot seat.