The most important aspect to remember about the Mets‘ search for a new head of baseball operations, as it stands on Sept. 21, is that there are no frontrunners because neither Steve Cohen nor Sandy Alderson has spoken to any of the candidates.
Above all else, this process will come down to Cohen’s personal connection during interviews, and his sense of who can be a partner for years to come in building the Mets into a championship organization.
Having said that, there aren’t many potential candidates, and we do have reporting on where they stand before the process begins.
As SNY has reported, longtime Oakland executive Billy Beane is a top target. Appealing to Alderson because of their long history together and intriguing to Cohen because of his reputation as a disrupter and innovator, Beane could be available for a number of reasons, not least among them the Athletics’ longtime struggle for a stadium and possible move to Las Vegas.
Some with the Mets also believe that Beane, who has not been as engaged in the day-to-day baseball operations in Oakland in recent years as GM David Forst, would be reinvigorated by the chance to win a championship in New York with the team that once drafted him as a player.
There have not yet been any discussions, backchannel or otherwise, between the Mets and A’s or the Mets and Beane. Because of that, both Beane’s interest and Oakland’s willingness to grant permission to allow him to interview remain unknown to the Mets.
If Beane does come to the Mets, the team would be open to considering the package deal with manager Bob Melvin that was first suggested by Ken Rosenthal in the Athletic, sources say. Melvin’s availability is unclear. Forst is not considered a possibility to join the Mets front office.
The Mets are also not yet sure if they will be able to obtain permission to interview Milwaukee Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns. They almost certainly will seek it, but the Brewers turned them down on the question last winter.
Rather than speculate about this, we reached out to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, but he did not immediately respond.
Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti’s name has circulated around the Mets in recent months, but there does not appear to be a strong expectation at present that he would leave his current job.
Former Red Sox and Cubs architect Theo Epstein could become more central to the Mets’ search if they are unable to secure permission to speak with other candidates. While his resume would certainly intrigue Cohen, the speculation about Epstein and the Mets has so far exceeded the reality.
The next president of baseball operations will be fully empowered to hire a GM and manager, sources say. The Mets are likely to announce their decision on Luis Rojas’ future shortly after the season.