Mariners: A thank you letter to the now former Mets GM, Brodie Van Wagenen

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Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Mets, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the ninth inning at Oracle Park on July 19, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Mets, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the ninth inning at Oracle Park on July 19, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jarred Kelenic in batters box
Jarred Kelenic #58 of the Seattle Mariners gets ready in the batter’s box. Kelenic was traded to the Mariners from the Mets by former GM Brodie Van Wagenen. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Dear Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets,

Thank you for trading us top 10 prospect Jarred Kelenic as well as Justin Dunn.

Sincerely, the Seattle Mariners

Brodie Van Wagenen was hired by the New York Mets in late 2018 after their GM at the time, Sandy Alderson, stepped down from the position due to cancer. He was an incredibly successful agent with a history of getting deals done with the Mets, with clients like Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob DeGrom, and former NFL player and Mets minor leaguer Tim Tebow.

His highest-earning client however was Robinson Cano, who he got the Mariners to sign for 10 years, $240 million in 2013. After saying goodbye to his clients for his position with the Mets (Obviously, an MLB GM can not be a player agent at the same time), Van Wagenen made his first major move: Trading for his former client, Robinson Cano.

The major pieces of the trade were Cano and the Mariners steller young closer Edwin Diaz, in exchange for two of the Mets’ top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. It was a signal of two teams going on different paths. The Mariners were looking to cut payroll and rebuild, already having traded Mike Zunino and James Paxton, while the Mets were looking to spend more and compete.

Since being traded, Cano has a .784 OPS, a 109 OPS+, and only 23 homers in his two years with the Mets. Edwin Diaz, who was considered the biggest part of the deal due to his 2.64 ERA in Seattle and league-leading 57 saves in 2018, has had a 4.41 ERA and a 94 ERA+ in his two years in New York, along with 11 blown saves.

Both players had much better 2020 seasons compared to their first year with the Mets, but the real steal of the trade has been the rise of Jarred Kelenic. When he was traded, Kelenic was the #62 prospect on the MLB.com prospect list and has since moved all the way up to #9. It is quite possible that Van Wagenen traded away a 5 tool, generational talent outfielder but we will have to see.

Justin Dunn, who at the time was the Mets’ top pitching prospect, also came over in the deal. Dunn has not impressed so far with a 4.34 ERA and a 6.54 FIP in two short seasons, but has shown sparks like back to back 6 inning, 0 earned run starts in August of this year so hopefully, the best is yet to come for Dunn.

So, today November 6, 2020, just two years after being hired, the Mets brand new ownership announced that Brodie Van Wagenen was fired. If you read any news story or breakdown of why Van Wagenen was fired, you will see a mention of that trade with the Mariners.

Van Wagenen also made some other horrible moves in his two years with the Mets. He traded for Marcus Stroman in another attempt to avoid rebuilding and sent Anthony Kay and a now top 100 prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson to the Blue Jays. In his first season with the Mets Stroman made 11 starts and was not able to help the Mets make it to the playoffs. Before his second season and the final year of his contract, Stroman announced that he would opt out of the 2020 season most likely ending his short Mets career.

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Van Wagenen also signed Jed Lowrie to a two year $20 million deal that looked like a steal at the time, but Lowrie only played in 9 games due to a knee injury, and then in somewhat of a mystery story, did not play in 2020.

So, as the Brodie Van Wagenen era comes to a close in New York, Mariners fans say thank you again as we look forward to the 2021 season that will hopefully feature Jarred Kelenic.

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