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Rich Coutinho

Coutinho: A Vote For Brodie

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A Vote For Brodie To Be The Man That Leads The Mets.

I have sat here and listened to all the nonsense on social media that we can actually grade a general manager less than 1 year into his tenure and just felt I could stay quiet no longer. 
 
Brodie Van Wagenen has been this team’s general manager still last off-season and to me has the skills to lead the Mets to years of success and I know that because I have spent time with him one on one. If people are complaining about his access, please do not include me in that group because he has NEVER made himself unavailable to me. 
 
His session with the media in Miami yesterday was an interview scrum I was not a part of since I am not on this trip but to me he answered all the questions honestly in every way. He took accountability for team’s poor first half and I felt super confident he would take the next appropriate steps in trying to get something out of this season whether that be on the field or via transactions with other teams. 
 
During the off-season and through this season, I have gotten to know Brodie very well and I have always felt he has the 2 things I want in a general manager: An outstanding work ethic coupled with no fear in making moves he believes in with the assistance of a baseball operations team to evaluate the validity of those moves. To do that you have to be not only a great talker but a good listener and Brodie does both of those things very well. 
 
Before you begin to question my analysis, please understand in the Ad Sales portion of my career I have been exposed to a plethora of general managers and I can safely tell you I wish I had in Brodie in those situations rather than the GM I was saddled with in those scenarios. I made tons of money in those positions but would have done it far sooner with a leader like Brodie–I can assure you of that.
 
I think what the media in this town sometimes does is they want success or lack of it to be explained in simple terms with a scapegoat. There are times where that does explain failure but most of the time sucess or failure in any business comes to fruition due to a plethora of factors. And the NY Sports fan is smart enough to see that which I think the media sometimes clearly forgets.
 
In my book Press Box Revolution I clearly talked about how the media tried to destroy Omar Minaya, Rex Ryan, Willie Randolph and Bobby Valentine with measures I am seeing once again here in the coverage of 2019 Mets. Don’t get me wrong–the season has failed on a number of levels but that is not the way I evaluate a GM. I look at their moves and if I can understand the plan then I move past whether EVERY single move is what I deem to be correct.
 
Frank Cashen–the first GM I ever covered and likely the best in the history of the Mets–had real tough times especially when one of his first major moves was trading Jeff Reardon for Ellis Velentine but to this day I understood the move–he saw an All Star available and pounced on it much in same way Brodie pounced on Diaz. He knew Reardon could be a major loss but took the chance. We all know that move did not work out but when 2 more All Stars came available–Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez–he pounced just as quickly with no fear. I know this for a fact because I’ve covered the Mets since 1984 and see so much of Cashen in Brodie.
 
The success of the first draft in the Van Wagenen regime is crystal clear to me and scouts I’ve spoken to agree with me. As for the Cano/Diaz trade all I hear is about the prospects the Mets lost and clearly they are 2 solid prospects. But the decision to keep Andres Giminez is a notion that is not looked at but I believe was a name the Mets put ahead of the 2 players they dealt and to me that was the ABSOLUTE correct move. 
 
But my true message here is to evaluate a GM’s tenure in far less than 12 months is a bunch of utter nonsense. And I am going to defend Brodie Van Wagenen much in the way I defended Frank Cashen. I fully understand his plan and know he will take accountability for whatever happens. I know that because I’ve made the point of getting to know him. I may not agree with EVERY move he makes but understanding the game plan he is utilizing is much more important in analyzing his job performance. 
 
With the pitching he had on this roster–his moves were TOTALLY understandable. Things have not worked out the way the Mets had hoped but that does not mean strip the roster and start over. You do explore deals for your expiring contracts but this roster has the core of at least 6-9 players that will be  members of a team that will breed success. And don’t expect this man to throw his manager under the bus because that is not how Brodie lives his life. He supports his colleagues and that does not mean he will NEVER make a managerial move–it just means he will only make moves with the ultimate goal in mind.
 
I know my take here on Sports Day will not make me the most popular man on Twitter or even in the press box but like Brodie, I could care less. My goal is to give the Met fans my honest viewpoint and NEVER be someone that I am not. I know that in this town we ALWAYS kick a dog when he’s down but that has never been my style. And never will be even when evaluating the GM across town who if the Yankees don’t make the World Series this year it will be first time in a century they have failed to do that in an entire decade. Even though that item has been vastly under reported by NY Media, I would never take away from Brian Cashman what he has accomplished. 
 
All I am saying is evaluating a GM just 9 months into their tenure is downright comical. And I think the Met organization feels the same exact way that I do on this matter.
 


3 Comments

  1. TJ

    July 13, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Rich,
    I am not sold on Brodie, but I agree the time is way too short to judge a tenure. The NY press is and will always be cut throat, but BVW made his own bed to some degree with his brash high-risk declarations.

    While most moves haven’t worked out, it is fair to say the virtually no one though they would be collectively this bad. While Familia’s peripherals were troublesome and perhaps somewhat overlooked, the Cano mistake is by far the biggest gaffe. And, sometimes in sports, one big gaffe is all it takes to lose a position. Unless Cano turns it around big time, the triple-whammy of his lack of production, displacing McNeil, and financial burden is a major blemish.

    Brodie may well have some quality traits, but in sports there have been many quality leaders that haven’t won.

  2. Aaron

    July 14, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Why the shot at the Yanks? Your jealousy as a Met fan is showing. It also compromises your journalistic sensibilities.

  3. Sterling

    July 14, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Did you take elementary English classes?

    Was your school bus a Miata? (In case you don’t understand the nuance of the humor, I’m saying that your bus was so short it was a two-seater)

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