Not long after longtime general manager Sandy Alderson stepped down from his post with the Mets earlier this summer, it became clear that the organization would conduct an extensive search to tab a new head of baseball operations. Assistant GM John Ricco and special assistants J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya have been overseeing the team’s baseball operations department on an interim basis, but the Mets are now formally in search of a new department leader.
There have been multiple reports that owner Fred Wilpon is eyeing a more traditional general manager with scouting-based acumen (an “old school” type of executive, to use a broad description), while his son, COO Jeff Wilpon, is more focused on hiring an analytically-inclined executive that more closely aligns with recent industry trends. Per Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Mets are leaving some candidates with the sense that the new hire won’t quite enjoy a full slate of baseball ops power. As he puts it, the impression is that Omar Minaya or one of the other existing assistant GMs could retain control over player development functions. Team sources that spoke with Heyman denied that was the case, however.
As we’ve done with some recent managerial searches, we’ll track the majority of the updates in the Mets’ GM search here as they navigate the early phases of the process.
Latest Update — 10/20
- Doug Melvin and agent Brodie Van Wagenen are the favorites to land the job, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- Ng and Bloom are still being considered for the position, per Puma.
- Littlefield, if not already eliminated, is considered a “long shot” at this juncture.
- Close and former Mets GM Omar Minaya can’t “completely be ruled out” at this time, per Puma and Joel Sherman.
Latest Update — 10/19
- It seems that agent Casey Close is also still in the mix. Martino tweets that he, Van Wagenen, Bloom, Ng, and Melvin appear to make up the finalists.
- LaRocque is no longer under consideration, Marc Carig of The Athletic reports (Twitter link).
- Agent Brodie Van Wagenen is still in the picture after receiving an initial interview, per Carig (via Twitter). (Carig initially tweeted the opposite, but amended his report.)
- The Mets only consider Littlefield a “fringe” contender to land the position, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- DiComo now tweets that Watson did not receive a call for a second interview and is no longer in the running for the position.
Earlier Updates — 10/19
- The Mets have interviewed six to eight candidates and will enter the second round of interviews next week, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter link). Fred Wilpon will join the interview process in place of John Ricco for the second wave of sitdowns. DiComo notes that Littlefield, Bloom, LaRocque, Watson, Melvin and Ng are the six known candidates to date.
- It’s not fully clear whether all six to eight candidates who’ve interviewed are ticketed for a followup session, though. Andy Martino f SNY.tv writes that the Mets have not yet determined which of the first round interviewees will be spoken with next week. Interestingly, Puma tweets that the Mets plan to make each finalist available to the media after his or her second interview is completed, so it seems as though there’ll be some transparency in the latter stages of the process.
Have Interviewed/Will Interview
- The Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield for their front office opening, according to Marc Carig of The Athletic (via Twitter). Currently the VP of player development with the Tigers, Littlefield once served as the GM of the Pirates. Of course, his seven-year run at the helm of the Pittsburgh roster was not terribly successful.
- Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom has interviewed with the Mets, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). Bloom has been with the Rays since breaking in as a 21-year-old intern and has steadily risen through the ranks, ascending to his current role not long after the departure of Andrew Friedman (who left to become the president of baseball ops for the Dodgers). Bloom would represent a radical shift atop the baseball ops department, bringing a more data-driven approach to the organization. At 35 years old, he’s half the age of his would-be predecessor, Alderson, and has been a frequent target in previous GM searches.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets that the Mets have sat down with Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque as well. The 65-year-old LaRocque is a widely respected veteran executive who previously served as a scouting director, director of player development and assistant GM with the Mets in the late 90s and early 2000s. LaRocque has been reported as a likely candidate for weeks.
- The same is true of former Brewers GM (and current special adviser) Doug Melvin, according to Puma. He’s slated to receive an interview and, like LaRocque, would bring a more “old school” background to the table as the new general manager in Queens. Fancred’s Jon Heyman linked the two sides back in August.
- Recently, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that De Jon Watson, who previously served as the senior VP of baseball operations under D-backs GM Dave Stewart and as an assistant GM with the Dodgers, will receive an interview. He’s currently working as a special assistant to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo. Puma tweets that Watson’s interview took place today.
- Puma has previously reported that Major League executive Kim Ng is also expected to receive an interview. She’s been floated as a potential GM candidate for more than a half decade and has interviewed with a number of clubs in the past (including the D-backs, Phillies and Angels) and would be the first female general manager in league history.
Other Possible Candidates
- Gordon Wittemyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has previously suggested that Cubs senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting Jason McLeod could have his interest piqued by the possibility of landing a GM spot in a major market. McLeod, a longtime associate of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer dating back to the trio’s days in the Red Sox organization, has been touted as a future general manager for years. It’s not yet clear if he’ll have a formal sit-down with the Mets, however.
- There’s been a surprising amount of speculation that the Mets could go extremely out of the box and interview high-profile player agents Brodie Van Wagenen (head of CAA Baseball) and Casey Close (head of Excel Sports Management). Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Andy Martino of SNY.tv have both discussed the possibility of hiring a prominent agent, with Martino indicating that the Mets have talked about both Close and Van Wagenen internally. However, there’s yet to be any indication that either representative will sit down with the team.
- In a recent podcast, SNY.tv’s Andy Martino noted that the Mets could still add some candidates to their list from teams that are still alive in the playoffs, with Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold being one possibility. The first wave of interviews is expected to wrap up shortly, though certainly if the Mets have substantial interest in Arnold or any other exec whose team is still in the running for the World Series, that interview wouldn’t align with the rest of the field.
Not Under Consideration
- Indians GM Mike Chernoff had been expected to interview, but that won’t happen, Mike Puma of the New York Post hears. Dodgers executive Josh Byrnes also will not interview, Joel Sherman of the Post tweets.
- The Mets reached out to Twins general manager Thad Levine in hopes of interviewing him, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link), but Levine declined to pursue the opportunity. Depending on the title the Mets bestow on their new head of baseball ops, it’s possible that Levine wouldn’t have technically have received a promotion; he already holds the general manager title, though Derek Falvey holds the top title in the Minnesota front office (chief baseball officer). Regardless, Levine won’t be leaving Minnesota — at least not for the Mets.
- Similarly, former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington won’t be receiving an interview after removing his name from consideration, per Martino. Currently the Blue Jays vice president of baseball ops, Cherington is open to new GM possibilities but would prefer to build an organization from the ground up, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal recently tweeted. A third veteran executive, former Padres and D-backs GM Josh Byrnes, is also “uninterested” in the position, according to Martino. Byrnes is currently the senior vice president of baseball operations with the Dodgers.
- Though there were initial reports that the Mets would interview recently dismissed Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, both DiComo and Martino have both since reported that Duquette will not receive an interview and is not a candidate (Twitter links).
- If there was any doubt that the Mets would make an outside hire at the GM post, the Wilpons have plainly told the media that none of Ricco, Minaya or Ricciardi are considered to be candidates for the vacancy (Twitter link via Puma).