The ink barely dried when new Mets owner Steve Cohen announced Friday on Twitter his $2.4 billion purchase on the Mets sale has been completed after being approved by his fellow owners two weeks ago. He made the move that was a long time coming.
He fired Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Omar Minaya, Allard Baird, Adam Guttridge, and Jared Banner in his official act as Mets owner. Oh, and Jeff Wilpon is out as Mets’ chief operating officer. They knew they were all gone when Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz announced they would accept Cohen’s bid for the Mets. They realized Cohen couldn’t start off bad by retaining them after two uninspiring seasons.
Van Wagenen’s firing elicited cheers from Mets fans on social media, message boards, and sports radio. They appreciated Cohen doing what had to be done, and they get to see a franchise going through a reset.
Van Wagenen served as a brunt for everything that went wrong for the Mets. He represented the sins of Jeff Wilpon. He made himself a laughingstock nationally for his work as a general manager. He spoke a good game about his belief that the Mets were the best team in the NL East and invited his foes to “Come Get Us!”.
Who didn’t enjoy him get his after he mentioned to the media the teams came and got them when he assessed the state of the Mets at the All-Star break two years ago?
The disgraced Mets general manager had no idea what he got himself into when he got the job. He was happy just to be hired, even if he was nothing more than a puppet to Jeff Wilpon. We all knew Wilpon was the de facto general manager. The younger Wilpon sought to operate the Mets for a long time, and he played a role in forcing Sandy Alderson out a few years ago as the general manager.
It was interesting Wilpon did not hire accomplished executives such as Doug Melvin or Chaim Bloom. Smart fans knew why. They weren’t qualified because they wanted no part of dealing with Wilpon. Basically, Wilpon’s selfishness and ego set this franchise back after Alderson rebuilt this team when he was hired in 2010.
Now, Alderson deals with the task of cleaning up Wilpon’s mess altogether. His first task should be hiring a president of baseball operations and general manager that has credibility in baseball circles. This should be feasible since he has connections in the baseball industry, and he knows he is too old to handle the day-to-day operations. He will hire younger executives that he knows from his Athletics consulting days. Remember he served as Billy Beane’s consultant in Oakland after he resigned as the Mets general manager.
Having Alderson represents an improvement to what the Mets had previously. They boast an adult running the franchise rather than an overmatched general manager doing his boss’ will.
No more ill-advised moves such as trading prospects like Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn for overrated Edwin Diaz and washed-up Robinson Cano or trading Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson for Marcus Stroman. No more false promises such as “Come Get Us” or being committed to winning. No more conning the fans.
It will be great and even refreshing to see New York’s National League team behave like a professional MLB franchise. The firings of the Mets front office told you all that on a Friday afternoon news dump.
Firing them was easy. Getting it right in hiring new executives will be hard.
Be optimistic that Cohen entrusts Alderson to get it right. With the Wilpons, they would hire guys that they know and trust rather than hire someone outside the organization. This turned out to be a liability than an asset.
If the Wilpons remained as owners, it would be business as usual. No one would be fired since Jeff Wilpon loves them and they will do what he tells them to do, not to mention being happy to take the blame for Wilpon when things go bad.
Cohen and Alderson will greet and meet the media via Zoom while talking to the fans in the process on Tuesday afternoon. They will set the message of signifying the beginning of the new day, even though their presence also already indicated that. They certainly have a plan of what they are going to do. That’s an improvement from the old regime.
Mets fans waited for this day to come for a long time.
Now, the work begins in earnest.