Billy Owens is the easy choice to replace Brodie Van Wagenen. His resume speaks for itself, and his connection to Sandy Alderson is a major plus.
Brodie Van Wagenen‘s days as general manager are numbered. With Sandy Alderson returning to the New York Mets as president of baseball operations, he’s going to want to bring in his own general manager. Billy Owens should be that guy.
Owens checks all the boxes that any team could want in a general manager. He’s a baseball lifer, a phenomenal scout, has worked under some of the best executives in the sport, is analytically inclined, and has a past working relationship with the president of baseball operations. He’s the perfect fit to take over the reins for the Mets in nearly every facet.
Owens’ playing days were short-lived. A former third-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles, he spent seven years in the minor leagues, never reaching the majors.
He retired at the age of 27 after the 1998 season, but it didn’t take long for him to find work. Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s snatched up Owens and named him the hitting coach of the Southern Oregon Timberjacks. He then spent five years bouncing around the organization as a minor league hitting coach.
Alongside his coaching duties, Owens was an area scout and was named the East Coast scouting coordinator in 2003. From then on, he was a front office guy.
Just two years later, he was named the A’s director of player personnel. Under Owens, the A’s turned into a talent factory. Dallas Braden, Kurt Suzuki, Carlos Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey, Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson, Sonny Gray, Marcus Semien, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Ramon Laureano, and Jesus Luzardo all came up through Owens’ minor league system.
The majority of them had been drafted or acquired by the A’s during Owens’ stint as director of player personnel, a job he’s held for the past 12 years. In 2019, he also added “assistant general manager” to his title.
Owens is considered to be one of, if not the best scout, in MLB. That alone qualifies him for an interview, but it doesn’t stop there. His connection to some of the best executives in MLB and the Mets’ soon-to-be president of baseball operations gives him another edge.
Connection to Alderson
Owens and Alderson worked closely together in 2019 and 2020, with Alderson working as a special assistant to Billy Beane and Owens holding a prominent role in the front office.
Having worked in the same front office for the last two years shows they’re capable of working well together. If the Mets are going to move forward, they’re going to need a general manager who can not only collaborate with Alderson, but is on the same page. Owens is one of the very few general manager candidates to have proof of that working relationship with Alderson.
So what should Mets fans expect from a potential Alderson-Owens pair? Well, they should certainly expect a team focused on scouting, analytics, and the construction of a sustainable winner.
During Alderson’s first run with the Mets, he proved he wasn’t afraid to spend money when the right opportunity came up, but that he’d also rather build through the farm system. Alderson drafted Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Seth Lugo, Dom Smith, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and David Peterson. He traded for and developed Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, and Zack Wheeler. He additionally signed Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Ronny Mauricio, and Francisco Alvarez.
The bulk of the Mets’ core and top prospects were all added by Alderson through development. Adding one of the game’s best scouts and developmental minds in Owens is only going to strengthen that strategy.
And the best part about this? Alderson and Owens would have nearly unlimited resources. If they found a player they wanted in free agency, Steve Cohen would have the money to make it happen. Finally, the Mets would have true baseball people with phenomenal scouting backgrounds that are backed by analytics with the resources to build whatever team they envision.
The ability to scout, develop, and spend money to build a sustainable winner should remind Mets fans of one team: the Los Angeles Dodgers. That should be the model the Mets follow after, and with Sandy Alderson and Billy Owens, it’s very much possible.