It’s been weeks since Steve Cohen owned the Mets and Mets president Sandy Alderson operated the Mets. Yet, they don’t have a general manager.
Several candidates rejected Cohen’s overtures about taking the Mets job.
Already, some media members in town address concerns about Cohen’s inability to get a general manager based on the expectations he set about winning a championship in five years at best.
I doubt that has anything to do with it. Here are the two reasons why the candidates such as Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, Rays general manager Erik Neander and Rays’ special assistant to the GM Bobby Heck, decided to stay put: 1) They are in a good situation as it is. 2) They fear Alderson still has his eyes on overseeing the club and making his imprint.
The second reason stands out the most here. It would be awkward to have a person who already has power on his own ballclub to report to an established president who knows how to operate a ballclub. Antonetti, Neader, and Heck sought to be their own man without any interference.
Even Chris Young declined to take the Mets GM job, and he pitched for Alderson during his time with the Mets.
Cohen should have expected this. No candidate wants to be told what to do by Alderson, especially when he knows what he is doing. That’s the drawback of having the Mets president overseeing the team.
No one says this is a crime on Alderson’s part. He earned the right to dictate how to run a team based on what he accomplished as a general manager. He knows how to build teams with his work with the Oakland Athletics and Mets.
It’s actually not a bad thing if Alderson exerts control of running the baseball operations. He may be best suited to run this team as presently constituted.
Let’s face it: Alderson would not have taken Cohen’s offer to be the team president without assurances he will get to operate a team the way he wants it. The new Mets owner is no dummy. It’s probably why he has that What I Worry approach about general manager candidates rejecting his overtures. He knows he has a general manager already in place. He needed Alderson to be on board to be part of his organization for him to have the sale approved.
To expect those brand candidates along with Theo Epstein to work for Alderson was simply never going to happen.
The Mets can do worse than having Alderson oversee the operation. He brings gravitas just by creating a culture that had the Mets successful during his first stint, which featured a World Series appearance and a wild-card game appearance.
He won’t stay forever being that he is 73 years old. He plans on grooming a general manager, which is probably his goal out of his return as the Mets general manager. This means he either will hire someone from the Athletics organization or groom J.P. Ricciardi as the next general manager.
It’s not something Cohen envisioned when he bought the team, but it is what is, and he has to make the most of it. Timing is everything, and sometimes guys may not be available or timing is not right for them. The Mets have to offer a challenge as a reason for them to leave, and this franchise is just not an iconic franchise for that to happen like the Dodgers when Andrew Friedman left the Rays to oversee the Dodgers.
Maybe Epstein changes his mind and wants the Mets job next year. Maybe Antonetti or Neander expresses a change of heart. Even Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen can be available if his team underachieves next season, but it could be much worse. This franchise has an adult running the operation, which no one could have said when Alderson left. It may be more of the same, but at least the new team president at least had success to back it up, so we are not in Panic City just yet.
The Mets can afford to wait and see it all play out at this point. By then, Cohen could establish credibility where general manager candidates could be interested in working for him, even if Alderson is around.
It would be the best scenario than say Riccardi being groomed as the next general manager.
Featured Image: Kathy Kmonicek/AP