3:01PM: “Several Mets officials” hope that Ben Cherington becomes a general manager, SNY.tv’s Andy Martino writes. Cherington, the former Red Sox GM and current Blue Jays VP of player development, was recently cited as a potential candidate in reports. While he recently said that he is happy with his job in Toronto, Cherington also said he’d be open to considering an opportunity to run a front office once more. Josh Byrnes, however, may not be in the running, as he has told colleagues that he will likely remain in his current role as the Dodgers’ senior VP of baseball operations.
10:49AM: With Sandy Alderson unlikely to return as the Mets’ general manager in 2018, the team is beginning to lay the groundwork for its search for a new baseball operations leader. Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque is one of the early candidates “receiving consideration” from Mets ownership, though the GM hiring process won’t fully begin after the season since the Mets will need permission from rival teams to interview several candidates.
LaRocque is a known figure within the organization, having previously worked for the Mets from 1998-2008 as scouting director, director of player of development, and then as assistant general manager. The 65-year-old LaRocque has never been a general manager, though he has over 40 years of experience in various front office roles, as a scout, and as a minor league coach and manager in the Dodgers’ farm system. This track record of overseeing and developing young talent, as well as LaRocque’s familiarity with the Mets, make him a logical candidate for the team as it moves into what could be a mini-rebuild, though New York held off on dealing any of its true roster cornerstones (i.e. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard) at the trade deadline.
LaRocque also has the sort of old-school front office resume that is reportedly the preference of Mets owner Fred Wilpon, as Puma writes that “the growing belief is Wilpon will look toward a more traditional baseball person” as the next general manager. While more teams are increasingly turning towards younger executives with analytics backgrounds to run their baseball operations departments, as the 81-year-old Wilpon isn’t likely to hire the type of younger executive “with whom he would perhaps have difficulty connecting.”
This stance isn’t likely to be popular with Mets fans, who are already displeased with the team’s lack of recent success and the common perception that the Wilpon family takes too a heavy hand in the Mets’ day-to-day baseball operations. Puma also notes that some Mets officials feel that the Alderson front office “became too analytics driven in recent seasons.”
Mets assistant GM John Ricco has long been considered to be a candidate to eventually take over the top job, and though he is still in the running, Puma reports that New York is “more likely” to hire its new general manager from outside the organization. Ricco and special assistants J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya have been acting as a three-person management unit in Alderson’s absence, and it appears as though the trio will have at least some influence in the hiring process. Minaya in particular “will have a strong voice in the search,” Puma hears from sources.