Tag Archives: Listen

Why this is a golden opportunity for Mets’ Brodie Van Wagenen

Listen to me now and believe me later: Despite the Mets’ remarkable penchant for chaos, their suddenly available managing job is a desirable one.

Hence the pressure intensifies on Brodie Van Wagenen to get this one right.

Van Wagenen whiffed on his first managerial hire, Carlos Beltran, when the legendary former player got wiped out in the Astros’ sign-stealing tsunami, so now it’s take two for the beleaguered general manager as he prepares for his second season. He should feel heartened by the reality that he can pick from a crop that includes a gaggle of accomplished managers (The Post’s Mike Puma reports Dusty Baker’s candidacy has gained steam, though there hadn’t been any contact as of Friday afternoon), other teams’ coaches, broadcasters — ESPN’s Eduardo Perez fared strongly with Van Wagenen and company a few months back — and whatever other creative options come to mind in addition to current members of the Mets’ coaching staff.

Even if you rank the Mets’ opening as less intriguing than the vacancies that just emerged in Houston and Boston, it would rank a strong third. Most who miss out on the Astros’ and Red Sox’s managing gigs would gladly accept the Mets’ spot.

Why? Because their roster clearly has talent. And because you need only to look at Terry Collins’ second career as a broadcaster to appreciate how many doors can open for you if you achieve enough for a New York team.

That hasn’t really changed since last October, when the Mets probably could have hired Joe Girardi to succeed Mickey Callaway. That they passed on Girardi, instead letting him go to the neighboring Phillies, might haunt Van Wagenen sooner rather than later. But that’s not important right now.

What has altered is the canvas. When the Mets ditched Callaway with a year to go on his contract, they were one of eight teams looking for a new manager. They’re one of only three this time, all of them looking to win in 2020.

To be fair, the Mets stand as the only club of the trio not to have won a World Series since 2017. As the group that didn’t ask Beltran about his involvement in the ’17 Astros’ scheme until it was too late. As the team that employs as an adviser Jessica Mendoza, who used her other job of ESPN baseball commentator to rip into whistleblower Mike Fiers for courageously calling out his misbehaving former teammates in Houston. Yeesh. What a terrible look for the Mets, who amplified this embarrassment with Van Wagenen’s ridiculous explanation that “Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets.” Good grief. Where can the rest of us get jobs where we’re not held accountable for our words at all times?

Brodie Van Wagenen
Brodie Van WagenenPaul J. Bereswill

Of course, Van Wagenen landed his current job thanks in no small part to the number of more traditional front-office people, among them the Pirates’ Ben Cherington, the Indians’ Mike Chernoff and the Twins’ Thad Levine, who passed on an interview to head the Mets’ baseball operations after the 2018 season. Concerns lingered about the franchise’s win-now direction and ownership’s heavy involvement, among other issues.

The difference here? Baseball ops has turned into such a monolith that someone can make considerable impact even without being the boss. In the dugout, though, a wide gap exists between manager and bench coach. The 30 managing jobs are cherished.

There will be some nos. David Wright, for instance, enjoys his Southern California life as a very part-time adviser. Yet most of the candidates whose names are out there would jump at a Mets offer.

If Van Wagenen doesn’t hold all of the cards here, with the Astros and Red Sox also shopping for skippers, the Mets’ GM holds enough of them, thanks to the roster he has helped build and the stage he has assumed, despite his many missteps. He’ll have no one else to blame if he can’t play this hand successfully.