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What Steve Cohen means to Van Wagenen, Mets front office



PHILADELPHIA – The first important decision for the new Mets boss to wait will decide who will oversee baseball operations.

Steve Cohen’s transfer to Mets owner will not be official until next month, when MLB owners vote on the $ 2.4 billion deal. Dollars that will leave the hedge fund billionaire as the franchisee’s controller. However, it is also possible that voting will not take place before the quarterly owner meetings in November. Cohen needs 23 out of 29 votes.

The Wilpon and Katz families will relinquish their votes on organizational matters, but it is less clear whether general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will retain control of baseball operations.

According to sources, Van Wagenen and Cohen have spoken several times since last winter, when Cohen, a minority partner, first entered into exclusive negotiations to buy the team. However, this agreement was never realized when COO Jeff Wilpon̵

7;s potential role in the new regime became a fixed point. As part of the emotional process, Cohen also got to know key members of Van Wagenen’s front office. Cohen had a previous relationship with senior adviser Omar Minaya, a longtime friend.

“[Cohen] is no stranger to Brodie, ”said one source.

The Post reported in January that Van Wagenen wanted Cohen’s input into the choice of management replacement for Carlos Beltran, who stepped aside after his role in Astros’ illegal character theft scheme was revealed. But Cohen did not want to get involved at the time and preferred to see how Van Wagenen handled the situation. Van Wagenen eventually promoted from the inside and lifted quality control coach Luis Rojas to the position.

Steve Cohen;  Brodie Van Wagenen
Steve Cohen; Brodie Van WagenenEPA, Charles Wenzelberg

The source stated that there is a sense of optimism among Van Wagenen’s staff that Cohen will provide this front office at least next season before considering changes. This is especially true if Cohen is not approved until November, when teams are already formulating offseason strategy. But even if Cohen was approved in October, his timeline would be tight to install a new front office.

The expectation is that Cohen would hire a team president to oversee the day-to-day running of the club. These tasks are currently handled by Jeff Wilpon.

One possibility, until a team president is hired, is Cohen would allow Van Wagenen to report directly to him. If Cohen’s purchase of the team took place months earlier, Van Wagenen would be less likely to return.

Van Wagenen, a former agent, became Met’s general manager in October 2018 after a search that began with Sandy Alderson’s resignation in June before. Under Van Wagenen, who received a four-year contract, the Mets missed the playoffs last season, finishing 86-76.

Unless the Mets, who lost 4-1 to the Phillies on Tuesday, get hot over those last 11 games, they will again miss the playoffs, even in an expanded format that includes eight teams from each league.

These results hardly shout “job security”, but Van Wagenen can have the calendar on his side.

“A new GM will have to come in and get his people in place, he will have to figure out what’s where,” the source said. “[Cohen] to replace Jeff’s work. Steve will not come in and do it himself. ”


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