The New York Mets are set to wrap up their season this week, but there remains no progress in the search for their next General Manager. The quest to find Sandy Alderson’s successor has dragged on and on as there are reports of a divide between Fred and Jeff Wilpon about what kind of candidate should fill the post. Fred has been in favor of an old school baseball guy with an extensive background in scouting while Jeff has leaned more towards embracing a modern candidate that has experience with analytics. FanCred’s Jon Heyman offers a deep dive into the search, and he dug up some alarming information.
According to Heyman, a big part of the elder Wilpon’s desire for a scouting guy in the GM’s role is due to a belief that the Mets were too analytically driven under Alderson’s watch. This notion is laughable, especially since Heyman notes that the Mets only have four or five full time employees (with a handful of interns) working in their analytics department. The Los Angeles Dodgers, by comparison, have 30 full time employees in their analytics department. Fred is also reportedly upset that the Mets have gotten little return on their significant free agent contracts, including Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Jason Vargas, and Anthony Swarzak. Baseball people outside the organization aren’t impressed with Fred’s logic, with one official telling Heyman “they may set the organization back 25 years.”
Even though Jeff and Saul Katz will also have a say in the matter, Fred is expected to have the final say, which is scary for Mets’ fans. The Mets have tended to overreact to the end of an era and go in the complete opposite direction under Fred’s watch, which Heyman notes by providing the example of the switch from fiery Bobby Valentine to player friendly Art Howe in the dugout, a move that turned into a complete disaster. The good news here is that Omar Minaya has Fred’s ear during this process, and Minaya is said to be open minded and pitching a variety of candidates who check all the boxes.
The potentially unstable ownership dynamic may also cause some qualified candidates to pass on this job, with Heyman reporting that one person has already told the Mets he’s probably not going to be interested. Mets’ insiders indicate that they have a lengthy list of candidates that is currently approaching 40 names, and that the team hasn’t done much besides reaching out to people they are interested in with initial phone calls. Whittling a list of 40 names down to one candidate is such a daunting process that some people outside the organization believe the Mets could end up settling on Minaya or John Ricco to be the permanent replacement for Alderson, according to Heyman’s sources.
This scenario would be an absolute disaster for the Mets. The Mets as an organization have stayed in house for way too long with their executive positions, and in house doesn’t work when you have eight losing seasons in ten years. Minaya appears to be content in his current role as a scouting expert while Ricco is reportedly a team player all in on finding the right candidate for the job, but the Wilpons need to find someone from the outside to bring fresh ideas to this mix. The Mets do have a lot of pieces that can form the core of a championship team, including their top four starting pitchers and young position players like Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo. Staying in house or stubbornly restricting themselves to old school candidates would be a disaster, but given how the search is going so far those two possibilities will grow more likely the longer the job stays unfilled.