Van Wagenen is 44 and the co-head of CAA’s baseball division. He is considered an outside-the-box choice, beating out veteran baseball men and wunderkind Chaim Bloom of the Tampa Bay Rays, a 35-year-old executive with major analytics skills and who was part of the executive team that led the perennially under-capitalized Tampa team to 90 victories this year.
Reports indicate the Mets are negotiating the contract details to finalize the deal with Van Wagenen. A final announcement will either have to occur on Monday’s off-day for the World Series, or wait until the event’s conclusion to avoid stealing the thunder from the championship.
The NY Mets job presents a challenge for Van Wagenen, who has never run a team.
Van Wagenen has many clients on the Mets, including stars Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo and Jason Vargas. Shifting to the other side of the negotiating table and being privvy to those clients tactics may pose a challenge for Van Wagenen.
Another potential barrier is Van Wagenen negotiating against other player agents, many of them adversaries from past deals. Scott Boras, one of the biggest agents in baseball, claimed earlier this week that an agent switching sides is a conflict of interest.
Still another problem may be current Mets management, which suffered financial problems with the Bernie Madoff scandal and has a reputation for not granting full autonomy. The Mets finished poorly the last two seasons, winning just 77 games this year and finishing 13 games in back of the division winning Atlanta Braves.
The Mets missed out on some of their top choices to lead the team. Several prominent baseball names declined the opportunity to interview, wary of working for Fred and Jeff Wilpon, the team owners with a reputation for meddling. But the Mets did meet with MLB executive Kim Ng, Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque, Nationals special assistant De Jon Watson, former Brewers and Rangers GM Doug Melvin, and Tigers VP of player development Dave Littlefield.