The New York Mets search for a new general manager is down to just three candidates as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reported on Monday that Chaim Bloom, Doug Melvin and Brodie Van Wagenen are the finalists.
And they couldn’t be any more different.
Melvin, who has spent the past 16 years with the Milwaukee Brewers, mostly as the team’s GM, was initially considered as one of the favorites for the job and is looked upon as the safe choice for owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon. At 66 years old, he represents everything the Wilpons know about baseball as he is a specialist in scouting and player development.
For a rebuilding Mets team that has to replenish its farm system with prospective, high-end major-league talent, Melvin checks off that box. But that old-school thinking hasn’t done much for the Mets recently, especially over the last two years as teams with high expectations have ended up near the cellar of the National League East.
Bloom represents the next generation of running a front office in Major League Baseball as his analytical approach has added to the trend of teams going far beyond the eye test and conventional box score to build a team.
The 35-year-old has done exceptionally well with the Tampa Bay Rays since being named the franchise’s senior vice president of baseball operations following the 2016 season. In just two years, he took the Rays from a 68-win team to a 90-win team. Most impressively, he did it with a $78 million payroll.
It might seem like French to the Wilpons, but the fact that Bloom was able to build a contender on such a small budget has to be appealing to New York’s front office. After all, this is a big-market club that refuses to dole out big contracts to marquee names. Naturally, that means Mets fans shouldn’t get their hopes up about possibly signing the likes of free-agent superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this winter.
Van Wagenen doesn’t provide any sort of front-office experience when it comes to baseball. The 44-year-old is a head agent for CAA, one of the most reputable agencies in baseball, and he is one of the most well-respected at his position.
He has no shortage of ties to the Mets as he represents Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas, though he would obviously have to step away from his current position if he was named general manager.
It’s worth noting that Van Wagenen has championed for deGrom to receive a contract extension from the Mets, though nothing has happened as of yet. With the NL Cy Young frontrunner under team control (via arbitration) for the next two years, it’s safe to assume an extension would get done rather quickly if Van Wagenen was given the reins.
For a team in desperate need of a catcher (among other things), Van Wagenen also represents J.T. Realmuto, the star backstop for the Miami Marlins who has been the subject of trade rumors for the last year.