Fellow executives Allard Baird, Adam Guttridge and Jared Banner are also leaving the organization.
“I want to thank Brodie, Allard, Adam and Jared for their contributions over the last two years,” former Mets GM and current team president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “I especially want to thank Omar for his long and distinguished service to the Mets in many important capacities.”
SNY reported last week that Cohen and Alderson are looking to hire two executives to run the baseball operation, naming Oakland Athletics assistant general manager and director of player personnel Billy Owens, Tampa Bay Rays special assistant to the general manager Bobby Heck, Arizona Diamondbacks senior vice president and assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye and Peter Woodfork, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, as potential candidates. Former Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who was fired in January and suspended for the 2020 season by MLB amid the team’s sign-stealing scandal, could be another possibility, according to the Associated Press.
Van Wagenen was an out-of-the-box hire by former owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon after the 2018 season. He became a co-founding agent of Creative Artists Agency Sports in 2006 and spent the next 14 years representing top talent across baseball. Relinquishing his role as an agent, Van Wagenen went back to the well as general manager, acquiring former clients Robinson Canó, Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie. But the Mets failed to finish better than third place in the National League East in his two seasons in charge.
“We took a team that had suffered losing seasons in 2017 and 2018 to contention in 2019 and onto a chance for real success in 2020 prior to the pandemic,” Van Wagenen said in a statement. “While we didn’t reach our goal in 2020, the work that you put in to keep everyone safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 threat played a significant role in the return of and the successful completion of the Major League Baseball season.”
“Congratulations to Steve Cohen on the purchase of your home-town team,” Van Wagenen said. “I hope that your energy, competitiveness and resources will be welcomed by Major League Baseball. The sport can benefit from your fearlessness and aggressiveness.”
Cohen’s acquisition of the Mets was approved by MLB owners last week by a vote of 26-4. One of his first acts upon approval was to restore pre-pandemic salaries to all Mets employees.
Cohen, a lifelong Mets fan, quickly put his ear to the ground to gather input from the Flushing faithful. “I would love to hear your ideas to make YOUR Mets experience better,” Cohen tweeted Sunday, eliciting more than 7,000 replies.
“This is a significant milestone in the history of this storied franchise,” Cohen said in a statement Friday after his purchase became official. “The 2021 season is right around the corner and we’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’m excited to get started.”
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