Brodie Van Wagenen got dragged through the mud plenty during his two years as general manager for the New York Mets. I can’t blame too many people for feeling dissatisfied with the job he did. He set the team up for possible temporary success while ruining a bit of the future.
Van Wagenen’s modus operandi focused on a “win now, figure the rest out later” mindset. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t do much winning under his leadership.
eternityFor all of the bad moves he made, from the still-controversial trade with the Seattle Mariners, to the Jed Lowrie signing, to the constant annihilation of the farm system, there is one move Mets fans should hate for all enternity.
Brodie Van Wagenen’s biggest sin as Mets general manager as non-tendering Wilmer Flores
The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. The second rule: don’t mess with Wilmer Flores.
Perhaps the most beloved Mets player to never actually be a star on the club, he won everyone over with his clutch hitting, happy personality, and the tears he shed when he believed he was getting traded in mid-2015.
In parts of six seasons with the team, Flores hit .262/.303/.424. Far from impressive, he still felt like a fit for the club in 2019 when Van Wagenen took over. Apparently, BVW had other plans.
After hitting .267/.319/.417 for the 2018 Mets and being their main first baseman for the season, Flores became a non-tender casualty early on in the offseason. Concerns about his health, specifically his knees, led to the decision to part ways.
Wilmer Flores aged better than Brodie Van Wagenen’s decision to let him go
Like so many Mets who have left Flushing over the years, Flores immediately showed how valuable he was on a baseball diamond. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks over the winter and went on to have a productive .317/.361/.487 season in 285 plate appearances. It might not have been the difference for the 2019 Mets, but it surely could have been beneficial to have him on the roster.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Flores has now put together two straight productive and rather healthy seasons for the San Francisco Giants. He played in 55 of 60 games in 2020 and another 139 out of the 162 in 2021. Flores was actually better than his Mets numbers (.264/.328/.470 in San Francisco vs. .262/.303/.424 in New York).
Not only did he hit well, Flores also showed he could still play more than first base. Since leaving the Mets, he has logged significant action at second base and third base. The defense might not be Gold Glove-caliber. However, nobody ever thought it was. Flores is a smart hitter you want up at the plate in a big situation. He won’t get to every groundball but he will send the hometown fans to the parking lot happy.
Flores and Van Wagenen are both, kind of, back to where they were in 2018. Flores is hitting well and Van Wagenen is representing players.
For all of the bad moves he made, this might be the most unforgiving—if only for sentimental purposes.