Brodie Van Wagenen wants to enter the manager’s office knowing he can breathe. On Monday morning, the New York Mets officially introduced former outfielder Carlos Beltran as the 22nd manager is team history.
Most of all, it’s a homecoming for Beltran, who played six and a half seasons in Queens, as well as two and a half years with the New York Yankees.
“I know this place,” Beltran said of reuniting with the Mets. “I know this is a great platform, not only for me to work here, but for players to come play for the New York Mets.”
Beltran also served as a special advisor to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in 2019. After the year of working with the Yankees, Beltran’s name surfaced as one of the top candidates to replace Mickey Callaway.
Now, he will adorn the No. 15 uniform with the Mets once again.
Van Wagenen went as far as saying Beltran, with a wide smile, is a fresh face that was needed for the Mets.
“It was important for all of us to feel like we can exhale when we walk into the manager’s office,” he said. “We didn’t want to inhale in anticipation of the conversations. We want to feel a partnership with the manager.”
At the end of the day, a big part of Beltran’s decision was his familiarity with New York City and Long Island. For a large portion of his career, he lived in Sands Point before selling his mansion for almost $4.5 million in 2014.
“I live in New York,” he said. “I didn’t want to come to a place that I felt like I’m new.”
For Van Wagenen, who had a plethora of candidates for the job, including formers Yankees manager Joe Girardi, the decision to sign Beltran to a three-year deal came partially thanks to his local knowledge.
“He’s familiar with New York City,” Van Wagenen said. “He’s familiar with the Mets. He has an understanding of how to cope with expectations, adversity and success.”
Prior to taking on this role, Beltran reached out to several players who became managers, such as the Red Sox’s Alex Cora and Yankees’ Aaron Boone, as well as former Mets manager Terry Collins.
Among those who reached out to congratulate Beltran on his new role include former teammates Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and Pedro Martinez. Overall, he received about 260 texts since the Mets announced his hiring on Friday afternoon.
Beltran will likely be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame sometime in the near future, potentially while serving as manager of the Mets.
Throughout his playing career, which ended after a 2017 World Series title with the Houston Astros, Beltran hit 435 home runs and had a 0.279 batting average in 2,586 games. Between 2005 and 2011, while on the Mets, he was named to five All-Star teams. He also won three Gold Glove Awards with the Mets.
“Carlos has an extremely high baseball IQ,” Van Wagenen said.
But before Beltran could even interview with the Mets, he needed the approval of wife Jessica first.
“At the end of the day, happy wife, happy life,” Beltran joked.
Now, Beltran will begin calling each player on the team’s current roster to introduce himself. He wants to individualize this experience, and he plans on being a hands-on manager, working closely with Van Wagenen to make key decisions.
“The way it’s been presented to me is it will be a collaboration,” Beltran said. “They’re going to let me make decisions.”
Van Wagenen had five key points as to why he selected Beltran as the team’s new manager, including poise, the ability to exhale, his growth mindset, a raw ability to beat his opponent and his understanding of players.
“We’re players first here,” Van Wagenen said. “Carlos Beltran will be a players’ manager.”
While the Mets’ roster still has several question marks, including the status of Yoenis Céspedes, the team has the expectation of making the playoffs in 2020, according to Van Wagenen.