What does Mets owner Steve Cohen, the richest owner in baseball, have to do to find somebody to run his team?
Two weeks removed from the end of their disappointing 2021 campaign, the Mets appear to be no closer to finding the president of baseball operations they’ve long coveted.
In past weeks, the Amazin’s have been linked in published reports to some of the best executives in the game — including Theo Epstein, who broke the Boston Red Sox’s and Chicago Cubs’ title droughts; Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s master of “moneyball”; and David Stearns, who turned the Milwaukee Brewers into a perennial playoff contender.
But none of the big three appear to be close to a deal with the Mets, as SNY’s Andy Martino and reporter Jon Heyman, among others, have reported. Epstein and Cohen met, but agreed that a deal wasn’t possible; and it appears neither the A’s nor the Brewers are interested in giving the Mets an opportunity to interview Beane and Stearns for the role.
Now, it appears Cohen and Mets team president Sandy Alderson are shifting back toward finding a general manager, Martino reported Saturday. The search comes at a critical moment in the offseason; the MLB playoffs are at their midway point, and the start of free agency looms large after the World Series ends, with several key Mets players — including Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto — poised to hit the open market.
If the situation the Mets find themselves in sounds familiar, it’s because they were at this very same point last November, after Cohen purchased the Mets from the Wilpon family’s Sterling Equities.
Alderson and Cohen hired a general manager in Jared Porter, but moved ahead without a president of baseball operations after they couldn’t find a suitable candidate. Porter seemed like a great hire at the time, given his previous credentials in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ front office — and he won rave reviews in early January in making the deal that brought shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco to Flushing.
But just a few weeks after that deal was made, Porter was fired in disgrace after it was revealed that he sent lewd texts to a female reporter while working for the Cubs in 2016. Alderson elevated assistant GM Zack Scott to interim general manager, but months later, Scott was placed on administrative leave after being arrested for DUI in Westchester County in August. Alderson then stepped into general manager duties for the remainder of the season. Scott’s fate with the club remains in doubt pending the outcome of his trial in December, as Martino reported.
So Cohen and Alderson are essentially back at the drawing board trying to build a front office with the clock rapidly ticking toward the start of free agency. On top of making decisions about the Mets’ key free agents and soliciting new talent, whoever they hire as general manager will also be saddled with the responsibility of bringing on a new manager after Luis Rojas’ contract wasn’t renewed for next season.
It might not yet be time for the Mets fanbase to panic, but with the new regime’s best laid plans going astray again, they’re undoubtedly feeling a little more agita than normal.