Everyone knew new Mets owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson would make changes, but hardly anyone expected they would come as fast as they did.
The Mets sent out a press release last Friday afternoon confirming Cohen had officially purchased the ballclub from the Wilpon family. That was widely expected. What was unexpected, however, was the press release issued two hours later announcing the departure of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and nearly all of his staff as well as senior advisor Omar Minaya.
These moves were carried out by Alderson but clearly made with Cohen’s blessing. Alderson’s actions recalled the end of “The Godfather,” when Michael Corleone “settled all family business.”
Alderson was the Mets general manager from 2011 through the summer of 2018, when a recurrence of cancer forced him to take a leave of absence. The Mets were struggling at the time, and Alderson, apparently tired of working under Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon decided to resign when the 2018 season ended.
Wilpon hired his golf buddy, baseball player agent Brodie Van Wagenen, to be Alderson’s replacement. Van Wagenen’s first major trade was to ship Alderson’s top pick in the 2018 amateur draft, outfielder Jarred Kelenic, to the Seattle Mariners in a deal that brought back aging second baseman Robinson Cano and relief pitcher Edwin Diaz. Both acquisitions were disastrous for the Mets in 2019, although Cano played very well this past summer and Diaz was reliable after a shaky start.
BVW’s other signature trade was dealing two pitching prospects who were drafted under Alderson, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson, to the Toronto Blue Jays for starting pitcher and Long Island native Marcus Stroman at the 2019 trade deadline. Stroman started 11 games but didn’t distinguish himself. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.
What had to have ticked off both Alderson and Cohen, however, is Van Wagenen’s decision to tender Stroman a contract for over $18 million in the hopes of delaying his decision to become a free agent just prior to the ownership change. Stroman has done little to justify that kind of investment. Van Wagenen is hoping he’ll have a good season as a way of validating why he made another deal that sacrificed future assets.
Minaya, who grew up in Corona, was the Mets general manager from 2005 through 2010 before being fired and replaced by Alderson, who rehired him as an assistant in 2017.
Minaya may return if a new GM seeks his expertise in scouting and player evaluation.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
File this under the “a rose by any other name department.” The Washington Football team, which used to be called the Redskins until media and corporate sponsors forced them to finally drop that racist name, maintained a longstanding tradition Sunday of rolling over and playing dead for the New York Giants.
Big Blue has two wins this season and both have come at the expense of Washington. Perhaps they should call themselves the Washington Generals in honor of the team that for years has served as the loser foil for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Life and style
It should have been called “Saturday Night Almost Live” as last week’s SNL was broadcast with a 30-minute tape delay because the Clemson-Notre Dame college football game which aired in primetime on NBC, went into double overtime.
This particular episode of “Saturday Night Live” was especially anticipated because the presidential race had finally been called in Joe Biden’s favor 12 hours earlier. The host was comedian Dave Chappelle, whose last appearance on the show was four years earlier, right after Jamaica Estates native Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.
Chappelle was once again an astute observer of both events and human nature in his monologue. My sole complaint was how he was allowed to smoke a cigarette on stage, which has long been against the law in NYC. It seemed especially egregious in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.