The case to say former Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s biggest weakness was free agency
There may have been a former agent bias on Van Wagenen’s behalf. He signed players at will without much regard to whether or not they were the best fit for the club.
Off of memory, he brought in Jeurys Familia on a crazy expensive deal to be a setup man, catcher Wilson Ramos who aside from a hitting streak in 2019 was pretty bad, and Jed Lowrie.
This was only in his first year as Mets general manager. The following winter, he whiffed even harder.
Pitchers Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, and Dellin Betances were all undeniable busts for the Mets. Some lesser additions, like Eduardo Nunez for instance, don’t really count because of how minor of additions they were. Nonetheless, it doesn’t help his case.
The one free agent Van Wagenen signed that did work out well was left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. Added to the ball club for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, he pitched to a 2.91 ERA in 58.2 innings of work.
Beyond just free agency, Van Wagenen made some other questionable moves. He non-tendered Wilmer Flores—a guy who has continued to hit at the big league level in the years since leaving the Mets. He tendered a contract to Travis d’Arnaud only to DFA him early in 2019 before selling him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The decision to let Zack Wheeler walk and join the Philadelphia Phillies could even end up as one of the worst decisions of all made by him.
There’s little doubt in the mind of Mets fans that the Van Wagenen regime was a failure. His worst attribute as a general manager, though, was his poor free agent additions. With just one player signed to what we can consider a good deal, Van Wagenen was, by default, better at trades.