The Mets are expected to hire agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their new general manager, according to reports from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, and SNY’s Andy Martino on Friday:
Sources: CAA agent Brodie Van Wagenen has emerged as a significant favorite for the Mets’ general manager job. One source said the job is his if he wants it. Discussions are continuing, but the sense is that he will be the next head of baseball operations for the Mets.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 26, 2018
Source says Brodie Van Wagenen is expected to take the Mets job, though the team is likely giving him a day or two to inform his clients and tie up any CAA business. But it seems the Mets have their man. @JeffPassan reported Van Wagenen had emerged as "a significant favorite."— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 26, 2018
Van Wagenen, 44, is the co-head of CAA Sports’ baseball division. CAA’s current clients include notable Mets such as Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Todd Frazier, Noah Syndergaard, Jason Vargas, and Tim Tebow, and his experience with those players as well as other free agents should give him an advantage in negotiations and with overall player relations. Having played collegiately at Stanford University, he’ll become one of 16 current general managers whose baseball careers extended past high school.
While the Mets have already received criticism for going outside the box with their hire — all 27 of the league’s other current GMs spent years working their way up the ladder through major-league front offices, with the Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto being the only one who played in the major leagues — it’s refreshing to see them deviate from the norm, even if they do have a rich history of making poor organizational decisions over the years. They’re taking a page out of the NBA’s playbook here, as the Golden State Warriors hired longtime Wasserman agent Bob Myers in 2011 and subsequently have reached the NBA Finals four straight times from 2014-18, winning three of those times, with Myers taking advantage of his superior player relations skills to steal former MVP Kevin Durant away from the Thunder and sign Klay Thompson and Steph Curry to contract extensions. The Los Angeles Lakers followed this trend by hiring longtime agent Rob Pelinka in February 2017 and went on to sign LeBron James this past summer. It’ll be interesting to see if Van Wagenen can have the same type of success in a sport that obviously requires the GM to cast a wider net, with teams being bigger, the draft being much longer, and there being a legitimate, massive minor-league system to oversee.
Van Wagenen apparently beat out Rays VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom, who was reported to be the other co-finalist for the position.