Mancuso: Brodie Was Aggressive With Change

Brodie Van Wagenen was aggressive. The former player agent with CAA took charge and it was rapid as the new sheriff in Flushing. His moves to improve the Mets looked good on paper. Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, disappointments in the first half of this season of failure

Months later, and with his team  in a tailspin, the general manager is taking control again. Except, Brodie is not taking the fall.

So when your team is not playing to expectations the manager or coaching staff takes the fall. Thursday it was not Mickey Callaway. The Mets manager continues to receive an endorsement from his GM, and if the Mets are 10-games off the pace by the All-Star break there will be no change with the manager.

This is all in the hands of Brodie Van Wagenen. Before the Mets departed for this crucial 11-game road swing, a trip that would define where the Mets stand, the GM was smiling. He made his rounds and is visible often in the media dining room at Citi Field.

“Will keep fighting,” he informed yours truly. But there was a sense some change was coming either with the manager or the coaching staff. You can get those vibes when talking to this GM or other baseball executives, and of course the definitive answers are never known.

The sources are where those questions get the answers. Most of the time the sources are accurate.  

But the dismissals of pitching coach Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez Wednesday were a definite surprise. And so you heard again, the Wilpon ownership put the Mets in this position. They placed their trust in the inexperienced GM and Brodie should take the fall but you have to give the rookie a chance.

Not so fast. Brodie Van Wagenen is here to stay, so is Mickey Callaway. And don’t expect 82-year old  Phil Regan, once on the pitching staff with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in the 1960’s as an answer to change the direction of a pitching staff with a 4.71 ERA, ranked 20th in the Majors.

Regan is the interim coach. Change does not make a difference with the inconsistency from the rotation and a bullpen that has the most blown saves in baseball. Dave Eisland was the culprit and perhaps the dependency of analytics, mental approach, or a roster of players that are mediocre cost him.

Regardless, the defining moment will come. Assuming the Mets continue to fall, Brodie Van Wagenen will eventually answer this failure and begin to sell by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Who goes and who arrives to rebuild will be the next and crucial move for the GM.

You need to give the GM more time. But Brodie Van Wagenen did not help matters with Mets fans. He said teams would be chasing the Mets. Those words at the time were defined as selling a team to be ready for a run to October, and in many ways a GM is there to convince the fan base  they are ready to battle and be a part of October baseball.

Instead, the Mets are a failure and the GM still says there is a need for improvement.

“The attempt is pretty simple,” Brodie Van Wagenen said. “Our goal here is to try and get better as an organization. We want to improve every day. As we have evaluated the season so far, we have fallen short of a variety of things as a team, and we will have to look at ourselves for that shortcoming and we have to make the best of decisions we can in this moment to improve our stock.”

Mets fans don’t want to hear about that recurring theme of improving after that unexpected World Series year of 2015, attributed to a healthy Matt Harvey, home runs from Daniel Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes, and the saves from Famila.

Diaz was not expected to duplicate 57 saves, but  expectations to revamp and improve this bullpen with his acquisition are making the GM look bad.  And that trade with the Mariners for two prospects, that delivered Cano, does make Brodie Van Wagenen viewed as a failure in his rookie year from that first and aggressive move.

So here it is: The Wilpons won’t sell.  The GM is here to stay, the manager is safe, and of course all 25 on the roster can’t get fired.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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