Everyone knew new Mets owner Steve Cohen and his team president, Sandy Alderson, would make changes but hardly anyone expected they would come as fast as they did.
The Mets sent out a press release Friday afternoon at 1:30 confirming Cohen had officially purchased the ballclub from the Wilpon family. That was widely expected. What was unexpected however was the press release issued two hours later announcing the departure of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and nearly all of his staff as well as senior advisor Omar Minaya.
These moves were carried out by Sandy Alderson but clearly made with Steve Cohen’s blessing. Alderson’s actions recalled the end of the movie “The Godfather,” where Al Pacino’s character, Michael Corleone, cleaned up all “family business” at the end.
Alderson was the Mets general manager from 2011 through the summer of 2018 when a recurrence of cancer forced him to take a leave of absence from the team. The Mets were struggling at the time, and Alderson, apparently tired of working under Mets chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, decided to resign when the 2018 season ended.
Wilpon hired his golfing buddy, baseball player agent Brodie Van Wagenen, to be Alderson’s replacement. Van Wagenen’s first major trade was to ship Alderson’s top pick in the 2018 amateur draft, outfielder Jarred Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners in a deal which brought back aging second baseman Robinson Cano and relief pitcher Edwin Diaz. Both acquisitions were disastrous for the Mets in 2019 although Cano played very well this past summer and Diaz was reliable after a shaky start.
BVW’s other signature trade was dealing two pitching prospects who drafted under Alderson’s aegis, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson, to the Toronto Blue Jays for starting pitcher and Long Island native Marcus Stroman at the July 31, 2019 trade deadline.
Stroman gave the Mets eleven starts in 2019 but did not distinguish himself as the Mets failed to make the playoffs. He opted out of the 2020 season out of COVID-19 concerns.
What had to have ticked off both Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen however is Van Wagenen’s decision to tender Stroman a contract for over $18 million in the hopes of delaying his decision to become a free agent just prior to the ownership changeover. Stroman has done little to justify that kind of investment. Van Wagenen is hoping he’ll have a good 2021 season as a way of validating why he made another deal which sacrificed future assets for a questionable current one.
Omar Minaya, who grew up in Corona, was the Mets general manager from the 2005 through 2010 seasons before being fired and replaced by Alderson who ironically rehired him as an assistant in late 2017.
Minaya may return to the Mets if a new GM seeks his expertise in scouting and player evaluation.
File this under “a rose by any other name department.” The Washington Football team, which used to be called the Redskins until media and corporate sponsor forced them to finally drop that racist name, maintained a longstanding tradition of rolling over and playing dead for the New York Giants.
Big Blue has two wins this seasons and both have come at the expense of Washington. Perhaps they should call themselves the Washington Generals in honor of the team which for years has served as the loser foil for the Harlem Globetrotters.
It should have been called “Saturday Night Almost Live” as last week’s SNL was broadcast with a 30-minute tape delay because the Clemson-Notre Dame college football game which aired in primetime on NBC went into double overtime.
This particular episode of “Saturday Night Live” was especially anticipated because the presidential race had finally been called in Joe Biden’s favor 12 hours earlier. The host was comedian Dave Chappelle whose last appearance on the show was four years earlier right after Jamaica Estates native Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.
Chappelle was once again an astute observer of both events and human nature in his monolog. My sole complaint was how he was allowed to smoke a cigarette on stage which has long been against the law in NYC. It seemed especially egregious in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.