Brodie Van Wagenen’s time as New York Mets General Manager was doomed from his first major move.
“We will win now. We will win in the future.” Those were the promising words that Brodie Van Wagenen spewed in his introductory press conference back in October of 2018. The First Move he made jeopardized both the present and the future for the New York Mets.
On December 1, 2018, Brodie Van Wagenen oversaw a deal that sent top prospect Jarred Kelenic along with Gerson Bautista, Jay Bruce, and Anthony Swarzak to the Mariners in exchange for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. Diaz, who had a bounce-back year in 2020, was absolutely dreadful in 2019. It can be argued that he’s the main reason the Mets didn’t qualify for the postseason that year.
Cano had a rough 2019 himself, mainly due to the multiple injuries he suffered. In 2020 Cano played well, but it’s evident that his defense is declining and he still has 3 years remaining on his contract. Fortunately for the Mets, optimism is growing that the Designated Hitter is here to stay in the National League, meaning Cano won’t need to play the field every day.
Kelenic has risen quickly through the Mariners system and is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Many experts are projecting him to be an All-Star-caliber player. If Kelenic is able to live up to the hype, this trade might go down as one of the worst trades in franchise history.
At the time this was the wrong move and looking back now it was definitely the wrong move. The main attraction to Van Wagenen and the Mets in the deal was Diaz, who was coming off of a dominant 2018 season. If the Mets were one dominant reliever away from being a championship team, this deal would have been an easier pill to swallow. The only problem is, the Mets weren’t one piece away. The trade didn’t help the Mets in the win column as they failed to even make the playoffs during Van Wagenen’s tenure as General Manager.
When the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman in 2016, they instantly became World Series contenders, if not favorites. Getting that final piece warranted trading away top prospect Gleyber Torres for Chapman. Edwin Diaz along with an aging Robinson Cano in no way shape or form warranted a return of a promising young player such as Kelenic.
The Kelenic trade was by far the most egregious move made by Van Wagenen, but there were definitely others. Signing Wilson Ramos didn’t work out well to put it nicely. Jed Lowrie only tallied 7 at-bats throughout his 2 years, $20 million contract, and the amount of minor league pitching depth that Van Wagenen traded is absurd.
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We can go on and on about the Rick Porcellos and the Marcus Stromans of the world but it’s already obvious how poor of a job Van Wagenen did in New York. Outside of Jacob Degrom’s extension (which technically Brodie wasn’t involved in) and the trade for JD Davis, it was a failed tenure for Brodie Van Wagenen in Queens.