Beltrán: Need to be 'best friend' to Mets' GM as manager

Carlos Beltrán was back in familiar blue pinstripes Monday, buttoning up a New York Mets uniform while standing next to his new boss, Brodie Van Wagenen.

News 12 Staff

Nov 4, 2019, 8:58 PM

Updated 1,661 days ago

Share:

NEW YORK (AP) - Carlos Beltrán was back in familiar blue pinstripes Monday, buttoning up a New York Mets uniform while standing next to his new boss, Brodie Van Wagenen.

The first-time manager is taking over following a tenuous season at Citi Field, and his plan to calm the clubhouse works from the top down. That means Van Wagenen isn't just getting a new employee.

"When you're a manager, literally, your GM has to be your best friend," he said.

Beltrán was introduced as Mets manager by Van Wagenen and Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon during a news conference in Queens. Beltrán, who spent seven of his 20 seasons as a player with the Mets, identified inconsistency as the culprit for New York's rocky and disappointing 86-win season.

His solution: More cool-headed communication.

That's been an issue in Flushing. Recently fired manager Mickey Callaway was fined by the Mets for cursing out at a beat reporter in June, and the next day, it took him two news conferences to issue an apology. Star pitcher Noah Syndergaard was irked when private conversations with the front office about his battery preferences became public in September.
 
And of course, there's the time Van Wagenen threw a chair in frustration during a meeting with the coaching staff prior to the All-Star break.

Van Wagenen thinks this hand-picked manager - he inherited Callaway when he moved from player agent to GM last fall - can clean up behavior behind the scenes.

"It was important for all of us in the ownership group and the baseball operations department to feel like we could exhale when we walked into the manager's office," Van Wagenen said. "We didn't want to inhale in anticipation of conversations.

"Instead, we wanted to feel comfortable, we wanted to feel welcome and we wanted to feel in partnership with the manager. We can trust Carlos, and that goes a long way."

Van Wagenen and Beltrán spoke on the phone for 30 minutes before the interview process even began. A nine-time All-Star during 20 seasons as a player, Beltrán was recommended highly by Mets assistant GM Allan Baird and special assistant Omar Minaya based on prior relationships.

Even though he's never managed, the 42-year-old from Puerto Rico made the Mets confident he was ready for the role over the course of five more interviews.

"My time one-on-one with Carlos was really the key in terms of my comfortability," Van Wagenen said.

Beltrán retired as a player after helping Houston win the 2017 World Series and took a job before the 2019 season as special adviser with the New York Yankees. He worked closely with longtime general manager Brian Cashman, sitting in on crucial front office meetings and routinely operating as a bridge between number crunchers and the clubhouse.
 
"I went to the Yankees' organization willing to learn," he said.

He plans to be player-friendly - "I'm not a rules person" - and also wants to work closely with the analytics department. Based on his experience with the Yankees, he's seeking every edge available, even if it involves a little gory math.

"I like to call it information," he said. "It's going to be a collaboration."

Beltrán has spoken to other former players-turned-first-time managers, including Boston's Alex Cora and the Yankees' Aaron Boone. They told him to "be authentic" and boosted his confidence about his readiness.

Even with that, Beltrán is seeking a veteran coaching staff to cover for his inexperience at that end of the bench. He's working with the front office to select coaches now. The team is uncertain when that process will be completed.

"I do need experience, and there's no doubt about that," Beltrán said. "We are reaching out. We're going to reach out to coaches that have experience, but most importantly, I don't want to bring names, I want to bring guys that are passionate."

Beltrán and Van Wagenen declined to say whether former manager Terry Collins was a candidate to be bench coach, but Beltrán said he's already spoken to Collins and will use him as a mentor whether he's on staff or not. Beltrán played half a season under Collins in New York and said he'd draw from the 70-year-old's energy as inspiration. Collins is currently a special adviser to Van Wagenen.
 
 
 


More from News 12
2:08
Officials: Attorney general investigating fatal wrong-way Southern State crash; victim identified

Officials: Attorney general investigating fatal wrong-way Southern State crash; victim identified

2:13
STORM WATCH: Thunderstorms likely Thursday morning; partly sunny Memorial Day ahead

STORM WATCH: Thunderstorms likely Thursday morning; partly sunny Memorial Day ahead

1:20
Hempstead Village police: Woman shot, robbed by 2 men on a motorcycle

Hempstead Village police: Woman shot, robbed by 2 men on a motorcycle

2:11
West Hempstead woman sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison for crash that killed 2 teens

West Hempstead woman sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison for crash that killed 2 teens

2:24
Police search at suspected Gilgo Beach killer’s home for 3rd day

Police search at suspected Gilgo Beach killer’s home for 3rd day

0:55
Luminaria fundraiser in Long Beach supports children, young adults who have lost loved ones

Luminaria fundraiser in Long Beach supports children, young adults who have lost loved ones

1:00
90-year-old Holocaust survivor walks with middle schoolers in Port Washington

90-year-old Holocaust survivor walks with middle schoolers in Port Washington

0:40
Commack man’s trial against the Suffolk police ends in hung jury

Commack man’s trial against the Suffolk police ends in hung jury

1:52
Village of Hempstead calls for help with water problem

Village of Hempstead calls for help with water problem

0:41
Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce holds 'Latina Hat Luncheon'

Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce holds 'Latina Hat Luncheon'

1:17
US Marines land at Walt Whitman High School as part of Memorial Day weekend celebration

US Marines land at Walt Whitman High School as part of Memorial Day weekend celebration

0:55
Former News 12 anchor Carol Silva to be honored at Oyster Bay charity bike ride in June

Former News 12 anchor Carol Silva to be honored at Oyster Bay charity bike ride in June

0:45
AAA shares statistics on teen crashes, safety tips with new drivers at Adelphi University

AAA shares statistics on teen crashes, safety tips with new drivers at Adelphi University

RESULTS: School Vote 2024 budget results

RESULTS: School Vote 2024 budget results

2:13
Sachem School District budget vote fails; vote on second budget to be held next month

Sachem School District budget vote fails; vote on second budget to be held next month

0:23
Police: Uniondale man tried to run from police after stealing cash from Glen Cove CVS

Police: Uniondale man tried to run from police after stealing cash from Glen Cove CVS

0:31
Police: 4 canoers rescued after capsizing in Long Island Sound

Police: 4 canoers rescued after capsizing in Long Island Sound

0:23
Officials: 1 person dead in crash on Southern State Parkway in Islip

Officials: 1 person dead in crash on Southern State Parkway in Islip

2:42
Garden Guide: This is why you should grow Geraniums this summer

Garden Guide: This is why you should grow Geraniums this summer

1:31
What's Cooking: Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace's spring frittata

What's Cooking: Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace's spring frittata