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LAS VEGAS — Omar Minaya — once the Mets’ star general manager, then a Citi Field expatriate and now a Flushing/Corona Jedi Master — offered Brodie Van Wagenen some counsel heading into his first winter meetings, the Mets’ rookie GM revealed Monday.
“Omar told me to pace myself,” Van Wagenen said. “But I didn’t listen to him.”
Given the many ways one could interpret that when discussing four days here in Sin City, it behooved Van Wagenen to detail precisely what he meant: “I don’t sleep very much, and I probably talk to too many people too often. But I think that’s part of my personality. That would be the fun part.”
Van Wagenen, an agent in spirit only now that he shifted careers, continues to market his brand: Tirelessness. Aggressiveness. Charm. And to be fair, he has played the role to the hilt, impressing industry folks with his quick response times, personable nature and mastery of detail. Let’s face it: He has been good for my business, generating fun discussion about the beleaguered yet beloved franchise on which he has staked his professional legacy.
So the showman might as well go on with the show, right? With his newly formed brain trust convened in one place for the first time, with the entire industry gathered here at the winter meetings’ showiest locale, Van Wagenen must advance his narrative that these are new times and new methods for the Mets and continue his perhaps quixotic quest to make the Mets both immediate and perennial contenders.
Lo and behold, news broke late Monday the Mets, Yankees and Marlins had held talks that would put J.T. Realmuto in a Mets uniform and Noah Syndergaard possibly in a Yankees uniform. These tantalizing discussions carried much smoke and not much fire, an industry source told The Post’s Joel Sherman. Yet the tidbit reinforced the Van Wagenen narrative: Open to everything, afraid of nothing.
“Gonna keep the gas pedal down and hoping we can accomplish our goals,” Van Wagenen said. “Whether that’s today, tomorrow, a month from now, we’re not going to stop until we feel like we’ve accomplished what we’ve wanted to.”
Even as the Mets continued to try to pry Realmuto from the Marlins, they met with free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos and his wife Monday afternoon. Free agents Yasmani Grandal or Martin Maldonado, with Grandal costing a compensation draft pick and Maldonado requiring negotiations with noted Van Wagenen and Wilpons critic Scott Boras, remain options, and Van Wagenen mentioned other catcher trade possibilities besides Realmuto (Francisco Cervelli? Russell Martin?).
And of course the GM also continues his work on center field, where A.J. Pollock looks like such a perfect fit it’s hard to come up with an appealing Plan B, and the bullpen, where plenty of strong options exist as long as the Mets shop in the high-end aisle (Zach Britton, Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino and David Robertson) and avoid the discount aisle in which they found Anthony Swarzak last year.
Yup, this represents a full advocacy for blowing past last year’s payroll of $155 million, an action at which Van Wagenen and his boss Jeff Wilpon — here on site to be “strategically helpful,” as per his new GM — have hinted at without confirming. Van Wagenen’s first trade, getting Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Mariners, generated so much excitement within the Mets, you would’ve thought Van Wagenen had produced peace in the Middle East.
The revamped brain trust features strong new hires Allard Baird and Jared Banner from the Red Sox, as well as analytics guru Adam Guttridge, plus holdovers Minaya and John Ricco. This represents an Era of Good Feelings in Mets Land. Such eras, historically, don’t last very long.
It’s time to add more meat to the BVW brand, more heft to this Mets team, and as Monday night’s potential bombshell reflected, Van Wagenen sure seems determined to do just that. After all, if you’re not going to sleep, you might as well have plenty to show for it, right?