Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely – John Dalberg-Acton.
By Lenn Robbins
The Mets have hired a manager that has never managed before.
Carlos Beltran isn’t the first to make this jump. Aaron Boone has been pretty darn impressive since taking over the Yankees. Yes, Boone inherited a team replete with talent, resources and culture, but there is a long list of coaches/managers that have failed in similar scenarios.
Beltran’s Mets should have a solid corps of talent but we don’t know what resources the Wilpons are willing to invest in this team. And the culture of the Mets has been one of dysfunction.
Enter Brodie Van Wagenen who the Mets hired last season as GM despite the fact that he had no front office experience. The results have been mixed.
Van Wagenen made several aggressive moves (some think too aggressive) acquiring Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and Marcus Stroman. The Mets were in the playoff race until the final two weeks of the season and it was electric.
Van Wagenen seems to have been granted tremendous power by the Wilpons. The question is, is it unchecked power? Is it the limitless power the Mets will be paying for if Van Wagenen’s ‘Forward Charge!” approach doesn’t work?
Some of the most notorious military leaders in history have led their troops to disaster. George Custer, who graduated at the bottom of his class from West Point, led the 7th Calvary to disaster in the Battle of Little Bighorn. James Brudenell, the earl of Cardigan, lost everything but his sweater when he ordered the charge of the light brigade.
The GM with no previous management experience has hired a manager with no managing experience.
Beltran only wanted to coach the Mets, and, according to published reports, did not interview for any other openings.
As is the case with Boone, Beltran, who retired in 2017, should relate to the players.
There were eight managerial openings after last season. Six have been filled. Beltran is the only minority. MLB needs to look at that because fair or unfair (read, unfair) Beltran might face extra scrutiny and certainly more attention. If he succeeds it bolsters the case for more minorities to be hired.
Beltran is walking into a unique scenario. For the first time since 2016, the Mets will enter a season with legit expectations to make the playoffs.
Van Wagenen has shown his desire to floor the accelerator, which means Beltran first ride will be in the fast lane.
This makes the Mets, with slugger Pete Alonzo and a terrific rotation, a must-watch.
Start your engines Mets fans. The Mets might be the most intriguing story in baseball next season.