Don’t let the shills convince you. What has happened in Mets land the last couple of weeks is alarming. How alarming though remains to be seen.
If you’ve buried your head into football the last couple of weeks and have distance yourself from Met talks since the season ended, let me give you a refresher.
The Mets have been in the market for a President of Baseball Operations since Steve Cohen took over the team in November of 2020. They failed to hire one last off season and heading into this off-season there were several names floated around that the club was interested in hiring. One prominent figure who is available was Theo Epstein. Epstein’s resume includes building World Series champions in both Boston and Chicago for two franchises that were so used to losing they had a “curse” attached to a franchise.
It was reported that the Mets did talk to Epstein about the position but that talks quickly halted as many have speculated that Epstein may have wanted part ownership in the team, something Steve Cohen wasn’t willing to do, which was expected.
Still, losing out on someone as talented and as great as Epstein hurt but there were other very qualified candidates being floated around. Two other names were Milwaukee Brewers General Manager David Stearns and Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane.
Beane has been an executive in the A’s front office since 1997, when he became the club’s General Manager. He was initially hired by Sandy Alderson, the Mets current president, as a scout in 1990.
Not only does Beane have ties to Alderson from their days together in Oakland but he also has ties to the Mets organization. Beane was a first round draft choice for the Mets in 1980 and played a few big-league games for the team in 1984 and 1985. His playing career would come to an end after the 1989 season.
While his playing career was a big disappointment his career as an executive has been Hall of Fame worthy. In his years with the Athletics he’s created the phenomenon known as “Money Ball” a heavily based analytical approach to baseball which has gotten more commonplace today. Beane was ahead of his time and is the man credited with being one of the first to build an organization based around analytics.
A few weeks back, there was some talk that Beane may have had some desire to leave the organization he’s been with for 31 years and join old friend Sandy Alderson and his former organization.
In the past week however, Beane has shot down any idea of that being true and it’s been reported that he remain in Oakland. Same goes for Stearns, who has been the Milwaukee Brewers General Manager since September of 2015 and has helped build the organization into one of the most repeated clubs in the National League.
Stearns is originally from Manhattan and briefly worked in the Mets organization when he was just starting out. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in Political Science. There’s no doubt he is one of the brilliant minds in baseball. Yet, the Brewers denied the Mets permission to speak to Stearns therefore ending any idea of that happening. That’s 0 for 3 if you’re keeping score at home.
Other names tied to the role have included Brandon Gomes and Josh Byrnes of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Speaking to both of those executives about the role is hard because they still have business to take care of with the Dodgers currently in the NLCS with the Braves. There are rumors that the Dodgers may promote Gomes to General Manager to avoid him taking a role with the Mets. Whether both of those names are a possibility remain to be seen and who knows if there are other names the Mets are talking to for the role.
However the most interesting part of the search has been the report that surfaced this week that the Mets may transition their search to looking for a General Manager, rather than a President of Baseball Operations and that GM would have duel roles.
It would be the second off-season in a row that the club has failed to fill the role with the intent to do so. Last off-season, the timing and circumstances surrounding a new owner getting implemented into baseball greatly affected the club’s ability to hire front a President of Baseball Operations.
This off-season though there is no excuse. The Mets must fill the role with a capable person in order to initiate the plan of Sandy Alderson transitioning out of baseball and leaving the club in good hands. They have had a full season to compile a list of possible candidates. If they fail to hire someone for that position it would be another misstep for this front office.
While there is still some time to hire a President of Baseball Operations, the reports this week are a bit alarming especially after the Mets hired two General Managers in the past year both of whom have both left the club in disgrace due to off the field issues.
The confidence in the Mets front office to get this right is low, as it should be. Since Steve Cohen has taken over the team the front office has made one mistake after another. Everyone was hoping that a new off-season would be a fresh start. So far, it appears to be more of the same.
It’s not time to panic yet, but as the World Series draws closer and closer to completion the Mets have to narrow down their search and zero in on a candidate. If they don’t do that, the panic meter will rise as will the criticism, and rightfully so.