Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen spoke to reporters on Tuesday night at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
The press conference covered a variety of topics with few specifics but much direction as he wanted it made clear how the organization intends to proceed at these meetings.
Van Wagenen began by saying that the organization’s “flexibility and creativity” is intended to create more wins on the field and that he is pursuing trades as well as free agents. With regard to free agents, he said, “we have the room to fill multiple needs through free agency.” Van Wagenen admitted there was movement in talks but nothing is really near the “finish line”.
He told the media he was in direct contact with players either by phone or in person. Van Wagenen wants to tell players directly about the opportunity involved in playing for the Mets and more than hinted that his tenure as GM will involve direct player and agent contact. He wanted to get an idea of the goals and aspirations of the players to build the best ‘model’ for a winning franchise.
Van Wagenen wants to build this ‘model’ franchise that will allow the Mets an opportunity to win in a competitive division. He mentioned he will not make a trade to block other teams from getting a player as that does little to help the core of his team. He stated a few times that he intends to be “transparent” with players, agents, and other teams. He wants everyone to know exactly where he stands at these meetings so there are no problems talking to these same people in potential future negotiations. He sees consistency in communication as a way “to build equity”.
Though transparent, Van Wagenen also characterized his stance at these meetings as “aggressive” but made it known that he will not be “reckless and irresponsible” in any negotiations and that is the goal is to build a winning team.
Van Wagenen was asked about David Wright who is accompanying him in Las Vegas. He called ‘David’ an “invaluable resource” in understanding player’s perspective that he can never have. Van Wagenen specifically mentioned how Wright can provide information on what kind of teammate a specific player may be, what kind of bullpen arms are available especially in pitchers that he’s faced, and said he can be useful in “line-up construction”. His praise for Wright was effusive and provided more proof of a quote he used early on in the press conference that, “people are going to be paramount in our decision making”.
He spent some time detailing the importance of “Jeff” being there, of course, referring to Met COO Jeff Wilpon who’s also at the Winter Meetings. Van Wagenen feels that with Wilpon present, more support is shown, that this is a total team effort, and shows interest is real.
Finally, he showed his customary flair in these spots when he said that he looks forward to waking up each day, knowing that his team is in a competitive NL East division, which gives him an “adrenaline boost” and he’ll have “fun” competing with the best the National League has to offer. He certainly sounds like a man who is ‘all-in’ in his commitment to his team.
The Winter Meetings continue through December 13. Van Wagenen made it clear that the Mets are pursuing multiple offers, players and trades and that little if anything is off the table. There may be a few late nights between now and the 13th but it won’t be for lack of excitement and perhaps the Mets will come home with a blue-chip player or two (or three) to buttress a team that could use a little excitement and a lot more wins.