Not sure why I have a fascination with Andy LaRoche. Partially because I always find the lesser-half of baseball brother combinations interesting. Partially because there was about ten minutes there, back several years ago, when Andy LaRoche looked like a good prospect and I and many like-minded people mocked organizations for not appreciating his greatness. Dude hit .285/.372/.429 in the minors, and at one point back in the day that line was even higher.
The Blue Jays DFA’d LaRoche last night. After he was called up on Friday, got his first major league action in two years on Sunday and went 0 for 4. Now he’s likely to be released again and I wouldn’t bet the banana I’m eating that he sees the bigs again. He’s had over 1,300 big league plate appearances in which to figure it out. He still hasn’t figured it out and likely never will.
It’s not important for our purposes because he’s, after all, merely Andy LaRoche. But he is a reminder that baseball is a weird game and that even things that seem so certain in one moment are never so certain the next.
Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has been issuing managerial orders from home. Citing an anonymous industry source, Van Wagenen made the call to remove Jacob deGrom from his June 1 start against the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning due to a hip cramp. deGrom was visibly frustrated with his removal.
According to Puma’s source, Van Wagenen was watching the game on TV at home. He communicated with a member of the team support staff that deGrom should be removed from the game. Word got to Callaway, who went to the mound and took out his starter. Furthermore, some in the Mets’ clubhouse were miffed that Van Wagenen didn’t take credit for the decision because it looked like deGrom and Callaway were at odds with each other.
Puma also notes that the decision to limit closer Edwin Díaz’s innings is also Van Wagenen’s. Díaz was not used in Sunday’s loss against the Cubs. Javier Báez ended up hitting a go-ahead three-run home run off of Seth Lugo. Callaway was questioned for choice not to use Díaz after the game, which resulted in a brouhaha in the clubhouse.
A veteran executive of another team said that a GM issuing managerial directives would be “unusual” and “crossing the line.” He added, “I have never seen that done, personally.”
Van Wagenen insisted, “Mickey has control of baseball decisions.”
In a season marked by dysfunction, things may be even more dysfunctional within the Mets organization than we knew.