Just hours after becoming the official majority owner of the Mets, Steve Cohen has cleaned house, announcing the departures of General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Special Assistant to the GM Omar Minaya, Assistant GM of Player Development Allard Baird, Assistant GM of Systematic Development Adam Guttridge, and Executive Director of Player Development Jared Banner. These departures was surely not unexpected, as it was presumed that Cohen and Team President Sandy Alderson would want to bring in their own people to run the organization.
“I want to thank Brodie, Allard, Adam and Jared for their contributions over the last two years,” Alderson said. “I especially want to thank Omar for his long and distinguished service to the Mets in many important capacities.”
Van Wagenen was GM for the past two seasons, and his tenure was marked by a few splashy moves and two seasons missing the playoffs. The defining move of his tenure may be trading top prospect Jarred Kelenic and Jay Bruce to the Mariners in a multi-player trade that brought back Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, among others.
The Mets missing the playoffs in 2020, despite 16 teams making the postseason due to the shortened season, was seen as a failure on the part of Van Wagenen more than any of the on-field staff. His departure casts doubt on his future as a front office player for other franchises, and must beg the question of whether he will return to his highly successful career as an agent.
The other departures point to Alderson wanting to rebuild the front office in his own image, despite the pedigree of the departed staffers. Minaya, a former Mets GM himself, returned to the organization in 2017 as a special assistant to Alderson, though the move was widely rumored to be a Jeff Wilpon move and not an Alderson decision.
Baird and Guttridge were early hires by Van Wagenen to boost his front office, with Baird being a more ‘old school’ front-office hire, and Guttridge representing one of the Mets’ most visible forays into analytics. Banner, coming off a successful run with the Red Sox, joined just a few weeks later.
A name that was conspicuously absent from the dismissals was that of John Ricco, the Mets’ longtime Assistant General Manager and, reportedly, someone who had a good working relationship with Alderson.