Brodie Van Wagenen
Charles Wenzelberg

Brodie Van Wagenen has stated the New York Mets are “favorites in the division.” Now it’s time for the team to prove it over the course of the season.

New New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen appears to be a confident guy. He was asked for an early assessment of the 2019 Mets during this week’s news conference to announce the signing of Wilson Ramos. Without hesitation, he declared, “internally we would argue that we’re the favorites in the division right now.”

What? Hold your horses there. Does he think that Mets fans are that gullible? Is he familiar with the history of this franchise? Has he experienced the pain and humiliation Mets fans have had to endure over the years?

Sadly, as longtime Mets fans know all too well, the club has been down this road before. It was just one year ago at this time that former General Manager Sandy Alderson announced, “I feel that we have some unfinished business. Spring training is around the corner and our quest to return to the postseason will continue.”

That prophecy never materialized, and the 2018 Mets were a major disappointment. After starting the season 11-1, the team proceeded to lose 45 out of their next 67 games. Matt Harvey was a bust, Yoenis Cespedes was out for most of the season, David Wright never returned and at one point the Mets led the league with the most players on the DL. They finished fourth in the division with a 77-85 record and 13 games behind the surprising Atlanta Braves.

It’s only been a few years since the Mets reached the 2015 World Series and the National League wild-card game in 2016. The team that Alderson had assembled was expected to challenge for many seasons to come. Unfortunately, it wasn’t mean to be. The 2017 Mets were an abysmal 70-92. Last season’s woes were further complicated when Alderson had to step down mid-season for cancer treatment.

Van Wagenen is new to the management side of baseball

Van Wagenen is a new breed of baseball GM. The former agent is young, rich and exudes an air of confidence bordering on cocky. According to Forbes Magazine, Van Wagenen is ranked 25th on the list of The World’s Most Powerful Sports Agents

He has already proven that he means business with the Mets. His first move involved trading for second baseman Robinson Cano and American League Reliever of the Year Edwin Diaz from the Mariners. In return, the Mets sent Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and three prospects to Seattle.

Van Wagenen also made his presence known at the recent Winter Meetings. He was busy making the rounds and trying to conjure up a deal to bring JT Realmuto to the Mets. The rumors coming out of Las Vegas caused many fans to panic. Some reports suggested that Van Wagenen was considering a three-team trade that allegedly included Noah Syndergaard going to the Yankees. Based on the sentiments expressed on Twitter it’s fortunate that this did not take place.

Two deals by Van Wagenen that have gone down include the re-signing of Jeurys Familia and the addition of catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year contract.

The NL East is one of the toughest divisions in baseball

Getting back to Van Wagenen’s comment that the Mets will be the team to beat in the NL East. It’s easy to say that, but actions are going to have to back up those words. Furthermore, the four teams that finished ahead of the Mets last season are also aiming to be the top dogs in the division. A lot of bold talk and brashness looks great in December but can certainly come back to haunt you in June or July. There’s still time for Van Wagenen to make more moves before the start of the new season, but he needs to be smart rather than loud.

Van Wagenen is a different type of General Manager then the Mets have had in the past. He has represented players and worked with various clubs on major contract negotiations. Therefore, in his new role, Van Wagenen is going from representing employees to managing employees. He is a salesman first of all. He may have it in him to become a top baseball executive, but he’s going to have to earn that title.

It’s great that the Mets have a shiny new young GM, but the only way that fans are going to buy into his declarations is to see the team prove it on the field throughout the entire season.

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