The New York Mets’ list of candidates to be their new General Manager has skewed older, with Gary LaRocque and Doug Melvin among the first tier of candidates scheduled to be interviewed. Former Red Sox’ GM Ben Cherington has already pulled his name from consideration for the post, and Minnesota Twins GM Thad Levine has also declined an interview request from the Mets, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. That trend of younger, more progressive candidates pulling away from this post is expected to continue as Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com reports that concerns about ownership’s involvement are playing a role.
According to Ehalt, several of these younger, more progressive candidates “do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets’ job.” That same source told Ehalt that those concerns played a role in Cherington’s choice to withdraw his name from consideration for the job. Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon has reportedly made it clear that he has no faith in analytics, instead preferring to hire an old school baseball man with a background in scouting and player development. The team also has only three full time analytics staffers according to Marc Carig of The Athletic, the second smallest department in the majors, ahead of only the Chicago White Sox’ two man analytics team.
The Mets’ analytics department has also been ignored in the past, with Ehalt reporting back in July that the front office ignored the analytics team’s recommendations not to sign Jay Bruce or Jason Vargas. There have also been rumblings that Sandy Alderson asked for a bigger analytics department only to get told no by the Wilpons, who chose to hire a team of interns instead of investing in full time employees. Younger candidates also have to take a look at how Jeff Wilpon publicly threw Alderson under the bus last week and oddities in the search process, such as this nugget:
What business would ever bring a subordinate, who isn’t being considered for the promotion, into interviews to help hire a person who will work above them? This new GM is also going to be asked to retain all three of the team’s current assistants and manager Mickey Callaway, which combined with ownership’s stubborn attitude towards analytics should scare away a lot of progressive candidates. This makes it more likely that the Mets end up with an old school candidate who know they may not get another crack at a GM gig and less likely that they land someone who can bring the organization into the 21st century.
At some point, Mets’ fans would have to hope that ownership would take a look in the mirror and wonder why so many people are pulling their names out of the running without even going through an interview. A young hotshot with a lot of time to establish their career can take a look at this situation and see a meddlesome ownership group that doesn’t want to spend the money necessary to compete in its own market and won’t invest in the analytics to offset that, making it a very unappealing position. Until the Wilpons realize that they need to take a step back and let the baseball people they hire do their job with the proper amount of resources, situations like this will keep occurring.