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Mets could be adding new problems to old ones by picking agent Van Wagenen as GM

If the Mets select agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their next GM, don't expect an end to their steady staple of tabloid fodder. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Brodie Van Wagenen is well respected for his work as a players' agent, for his ability to forge relationships and contacts. He is an experienced negotiator -- "great in the room," as one of his peers says -- someone who has successfully read the market and clinched better deals for his clients.

Based on his experience, however, he is as qualified to be the Mets' first baseman as he is to run the organization's baseball operations -- which is to say, he's not really qualified at all. And beyond the inherent questions of practical application, the Mets' move to hire Van Wagenen is so overloaded with conflict-of-interest quandaries that folks on all sides of the industry, from Major League Baseball to the union to club management, find the choice to be bizarre and inevitably problematic.

It is the prerogative of Fred and Jeff Wilpon to pick anybody they want, and it's possible that Van Wagenen has a hidden talent for managing his bosses and running a baseball front office. The Golden State Warriors hired former agent Bob Myers to run their basketball operations, and he's been a driving force behind a dynasty.

But baseball is very different in its administration than basketball, with more players and layers of performance development. Among many baseball officials and agents familiar with the Mets' organization and the challenges and complications that Van Wagenen will face, there are ominous forecasts of disaster. Rather than seeing stability in the successor to Sandy Alderson, they see an organization inexplicably accelerating toward a cliff.