Mets front office search: Club no longer seeking president of baseball operations, only hiring general manager


After being unable to get a seat at the table with their top candidates, the New York Mets are no longer seeking a president of baseball operations, team president Sandy Alderson said at the GM meetings on Tuesday. The club is now looking for a general manager only, and they are planning to hire a general manager before hiring a field manager.

"I wouldn't anticipate another position," Alderson told reporters, including David Lennon of Newsday and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, adding the team still has "several" general manager candidates under consideration.

This is now the second straight offseason the Mets sought a president of baseball operations, only to come up empty and have to settle for a general manager only. Like last offseason, the Mets have been denied permission to speak to several top candidates under contract with other teams, and have also had a few interviews declined.

"In some cases, we haven't gotten permission. Some cases, I think people are comfortable where they are," Alderson said, according to NJ.com's Justin Toscano. "… In other case, admittedly, there's a reluctance to come to New York -- but it's about New York, not about Steve (Cohen) or the org. There's no tanking in New York. It's always a competition, it's always a desire to win. I would say it's not unforgiving, but it's a demanding place -- which I enjoy, by the way."

On paper, the Mets job should be extremely desirable. It's a big market team with a beautiful ballpark, a dedicated fan base, an owner who is willing to spend, and talent at the MLB level (Pete Alonso, Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor, etc.) and in the minors (Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, etc.). And yet, few folks have shown serious interest in the position.

Alderson is free to blame the lack of interest on New York -- it is a demanding market, no doubt -- but the fact this is now the second straight offseason the Mets is having trouble getting candidates to even interview suggests the team's reputation within the industry is poor. Also, it's fair to wonder how much power a new executive would truly have with Alderson around.

The Mets were denied permission to interview Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns while others like Theo Epstein, currently a consultant with the commissioner's office, and Athletics president of baseball operations Billy Beane declined to interview for the job. The list of candidates who passed on the chance to interview is lengthy.

Stearns, a native New Yorker who worked with the Mets early in his career, reportedly has one year remaining on his contract, so the Mets would be able to interview him next offseason without getting Milwaukee's permission. It should also be noted longtime Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has one year remaining on his deal. He could interview next year too.

Last offseason, Cohen's first as owner, the Mets settled on Jared Porter as their general manager, but fired him one month later after it was revealed he sent lewd texts to a female reporter earlier in his career. Zack Scott, who joined the team as assistant general manager and then assumed Porter's responsibilities, was let go a few weeks ago following a DUI arrest.