After a seemingly endless initial wave of interviews, the New York Mets are finally moving forward in their search for a new General Manager. The Mets ended up interviewing eight candidates to replace Sandy Alderson, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports, and have officially eliminated two: Gary LaRocque and DeJon Watson. Another candidate, Dave Littlefield, is on the fringes of the race. Two new names have emerged in the picture: agents Brodie Van Wagenen and Casey Close, with Puma considering the former one of two co-favorites to land the job.
Van Wagenen, who is the co-head of CAA’s baseball division, represents numerous clients on the Mets including Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Tim Tebow. Puma notes that Van Wagenen has a solid understanding of the Mets from his dealings with them over the years and made a strong impression in his initial interview. The other favorite appears to be former Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin, who has drawn rave reviews from inside and outside the organization. While Melvin is more of a traditional candidate, which is what principal owner Fred Wilpon favors, he is reportedly open to the use of analytics to help shape the roster.
The other names still in the mix are Kim Ng, Chaim Bloom, and Close. Close, who is Derek Jeter’s agent, is listed by Puma as a wild card candidate and it is unclear if he will receive a second interview at this time. Ng, who has a ton of front office experience and is looking to become baseball’s first female GM, is also in play for the openings with the Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. Bloom, the youngest candidate on the board and the most analytically inclined, may face an uphill battle with the elder Wilpon entering the interview process for the second round. There is no word on why Watson was eliminated from the process, but sources indicate that LaRocque’s lack of experience dealing with agents and negotiating contracts made the Mets rule him out.
The search is expected to continue next week, and the Mets will make their finalists available to the media after they interview to gauge their ability to handle the New York press. The Mets remain hopeful of having a new GM in place ahead of the General Manager’s Meetings on November 5th, and in order to do that they would need to finalize a hire within the next couple of weeks.