MIAMI — Brodie Van Wagenen expressed confidence in the New York Mets shortly after the former agent was hired for his first general manager job in the offseason.
He urged the rest of the National League East to “come get us,” and it has.
“I wasn’t shy in the offseason, but they came and got us,” Van Wagenen said before New York visited Miami for its first game after the All-Star break. “I think that now we view ourselves as the underdogs.”
The Mets began the weekend series against the Marlins with a 40-50 record, good for fourth place in the division, 13½ games behind NL East-leading Atlanta.
“We are incredibly disappointed with both of those results in the standings,” Van Wagenen said. “This season has not gone the way we wanted. It certainly hasn’t gone the way our players have wanted and most importantly it hasn’t gone the way our fans want.”
Van Wagenen reportedly threw a chair in frustration during a meeting with the coaching staff before the break.
“I let those emotions get to me,” Van Wagenen said. “I am not typically throwing furniture and I’m sure our fans may have thrown a few remote controls at TVs over the course of the season. I think the coaches understood my emotion and we’re ready to go forward.”
“I think we have to face our reality to some degree of where we are in the standings so we are going to be open-minded,” Van Wagenen said. “We are going to be thoughtful and measured in terms of what we do as we approach the deadline all with the eyes of trying to improve this club.”
A number of teams have inquired about Mets players, according to Van Wagenen.
“Significant volume, lots of dialogue, and an overwhelming amount of incoming calls,” he said. “To the extent of if they are serious, I think that is hard to define, but I think there is real interest in our players and we have to be thoughtful with what we do with that interest.”
There has been uncertainty circulating around the future of Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who is 117-135 in two seasons with New York heading into the second half.
“I think he has done a difficult job very well,” Van Wagenen said. “I think our results in the standings are not what we want them to be. I know he shows up every day with a passion to win and a desire to work to get better and so I’m very satisfied with that.”
Two of the Mets’ key offseason acquisitions have struggled. Second baseman Robinson Cano hit .240 with four homers and 18 RBIs in his first 65 games with New York, and Edwin Diaz began the weekend with a 1-6 record and 5.50 ERA while converting 19 of 23 save opportunities.
“We acquired the best closer in the American League last year and we acquired a 3-hole hitter that was coming off of years of production,” Van Wagenen said. “I think we have to acknowledge those two players have not performed what our expectations were. The onus is on us now to support them to be better and regain their talent. Players are now healthy. Both players have 72 games in front of them to change the narrative on this season.”
The shortcomings have led to Van Wagenen accepting blame.
“This team that we built was one that was a unified vision and it hasn’t worked so I accept my responsibility in that capacity,” Van Wagenen said.