PHILADELPHIA — Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is alleged to have communicated with his coaching staff during games regarding moves, according to Yahoo Sports sources.
Such an act is illegal according to MLB rules, and the Mets’ general manager denied Monday night that he has done so throughout this season.
“It’s not true,” Van Wagenen said after the Mets’ 13-7 loss to the Phillies. “No in-game decisions are ever called down to the dugout. ...We’re not doing that.”
Sources said Van Wagenen has communicated with the staff multiple times, citing an incident on Arizona on June 1 with the handling of Jacob deGrom.
DeGrom exited that game in the seventh inning with a right hip cramp, and was unhappy with the decision which sources said Van Wagenen influenced.
Van Wagenen did not discuss the specifics of that one game.
“I can tell you that we do communicate with the training staff and the training room when there is a player that suffers an injury,” said Van Wagenen, a first-year executive. “Anything that is health related to a player's status, we do communicate with that. But as far as performance-driven decisions in-game, that's (manager) Mickey (Callaway)’s call and the coaching staff's call.”
Callaway did not explicitly answer when asked about that game and whether the front office had any say in why he removed deGrom.
“We got information from all parties and we made a decision to take care of our ace pitcher who’s going to be here a long time,” Callaway said. “We all thought it was prudent at that point.”
He added: “We’re always in communication, especially when guys are injured ... When a guy gets injured on the field or when a guy is actively injured or has something going on, everybody is in communication with the training staff to take care of our players the best we can.”
There are semantics involved with this discussion since Van Wagenen is allowed to be in contact with the training staff when there is an injury.
However, he cannot tell the trainers to remove such a player from the game.
Van Wagenen said he talks with the training staff during games when a player is injured to make sure that the team is putting the player’s health first.
“That is normal protocol for us,” Van Wagenen said. “We'll continue to do that and we'll make sure that players, if the training staff and the health of the player is such that the player can't continue, then that communication happens between the training staff and the coaches.”
These allegations, combined with Sunday’s events that featured Callaway cursing out a reporter and Jason Vargas threatening to assault the reporter, do not paint the Mets in a good light. It did not help their cause that Callaway needed two apologies
Sources have painted the organization as one that is internally a mess at the moment with the internal situation being described as “bad” and “crazy.”
The Mets are 37-42 after Monday’s setback, and they may have to be sellers soon since they are nine games back of Atlanta in the NL East.
Van Wagenen gave Callaway a vote of confidence before the game, but Callaway is losing support with the fan base while the team fades.
There is a perception that Callaway is a mere puppet being hand-fed instructions on a daily basis, but the general manager said that’s not the case.
Callaway also said he feels he can manage as he pleases.
“This organization is about teamwork, it’s about collaboration,” Van Wagenen said . “Mickey has the freedom and the ability and the trust to manage the game on an everyday basis and any belief otherwise would be unfair and untrue.”