One Fish, Two Fish, Orange Fish, Blue Fish...
Mets have bait on the hook. Let's see if they get any bites...
The wheels have already begun turning with regards to the New York Mets’ search for a true president of baseball operations (again) this offseason. Offseason. Ha. What offseason?
After being spurned on multiple fronts in their attempts to secure a number-two to team president Sandy Alderson last winter, the Mets, as expected, immediately turned their attention to arguably the most recognizable name on the open market in former Red Sox and Cubs executive Theo Epstein.
According to multiple reports on Wednesday, Mets owner Steve Cohen and Epstein had a brief conversation on the opening but both came to the quick realization that this might not be the best situation. That could be a blessing.
As accomplished as Epstein is (ending two lifetime-long championship droughts in two watershed baseball markets is nothing to scoff at), he has overseen the exact type of toxic culture the Mets have justly come under fire for turning a blind eye to in recent months. Not the best look.
With a distinct overlap in that situation existing in the form of Jared Porter — a longtime Epstein disciple and New York’s brief general manager, fired in January following reports of sexual harassment toward a journalist covering the Cubs surfaced (via ESPN) — it’s plausible that the ceremonial small-talk that Cohen and Epstein engaged in shouldn’t have even happened.
There’s a mixed consensus on the level of interest Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane has in taking a job that will likely be offered to him next if it hasn’t already. Mike Mayer of Metsmerized reported on Wednesday that Beane (the Mets’ first-overall pick in the 1980 MLB draft) coming back to Flushing was “unlikely”.
Beane himself shot down the idea as well as any rumors of contact with New York while speaking with reporters earlier this week (via Shayna Rubin, Mercury News).
“Normally the process is they would call the owner which has happened in the past,” Beane said, noting that had not occurred, to his knowledge. “But to worry about this is to lend credibility to it. It’s all just press reports.”
“Been around long enough,” he added. “I’ll take it as a compliment that this has been the case with a lot of our staff.”
Such is the way of the [baseball] world. Make a change in the front office, ask for permission to speak to a well-regarded team executive with hopes of hiring that person, maybe you get it, maybe you get shot down.
As they embark on their next of, oh gosh, I don’t know, a dozen or so high-leverage hires in the last few seasons, the Mets know this process all too well.
Historically, teams will grant their non-top-of-the-chain employees permission to seek advanced levels of employment with other clubs when requested.
In rare cases — more often as of late, as New York can surely attest to — organizations will deny those requests, and instead promote and/or increase the salary of their employee to keep them on board. Again, par for the course.
You can probably imagine a similar course of events playing out in a “regular life” situation without too much effort. Maybe you’ve even seen it happen before. I know I have.
The Milwaukee Brewers denied the Mets permission to speak with their president of baseball operations, David Stearns (Manhattan native and former Mets intern out of Harvard), last winter. The expectation is that both the request and the result will transpire in similar fashions this offseason. We shall see.
So where do the Mets go from there? Good question. We can throw names around but it would be purely speculative at this point.
OK, so what do we know? Well, Steve Cohen & Co. can go angling for a big fish, a little fish, or a goldfish.
The bait at the end of that hook is a significant payroll, a sturdy-ish core with plenty of room for tinkering and improvements, and the opportunity to win a World Series in New York City.
At the end of the day, all we ask for in a hire are qualifications. And maybe don’t be scared to break the mold.
Raquel Ferreira, currently executive vice president and assistant general manager for the Boston Red Sox, has been in MLB front offices since 2002 (hired by Boston in 1999 as an administrative assistant and worked her way up to the penthouse, in fact).
Ferreira has paid her dues and then some. She’s been an instrumental cog in four World Series championship runs. She’s also under contract with the Sox. Still, it can’t hurt to ask.
Never any paywalls. Once it leaves my head, it’s yours. If you want to pay me for my work, it’s greatly appreciated.
Become a paid subscriber below, or if you enjoyed the story, drop a buck or two in our Venmo account (@TheAppleNYM)