Mets president Sandy Alderson revealed earlier this week that his team would not hire a president of baseball operations and would instead focus its front office search on hiring a general manager. It’s already known that Alderson and new owner Steve Cohen have spoken to former Marlins president of baseball ops Michael Hill, and Mike Puma of the New York Post now tweets that former big league pitcher Chris Young has also interviewed for the position. Alderson said earlier this week that six candidates have interviewed.
The 41-year-old Young would be mark a second straight outside-the-box hire were he to eventually be the choice, following the Wilpon family’s surprise hire of agent Brodie Van Wagenen two years ago. That said, Young hasn’t been simply sitting back and reminiscing on a solid, 13-year playing career since retiring after the 2017 season. Rather, he’s been working for the league itself. Major League Baseball announced in May 2018 that Young had been named the league’s vice president of on-field operations, initiatives and strategy — a role in which he focused on “the application of playing rules and regulations, on-field standards and discipline, pace of play and other special projects.”
Young reported directly to MLB’s chief baseball officer, Joe Torre, for the first two years he was in that position. Back in February, Torre moved into an advisory role, serving as a special assistant to commissioner Rob Manfred. Young, in turn, took on a greater role within the league’s hierarchy and was promoted to senior vice president of on-field operations, initiatives and strategy.
While Young would be an unorthodox hire, his candidacy isn’t a total shock, either. SNY’s Andy Martino noted more than a month ago that Young and Alderson maintain a strong relationship after getting to know one another during their time with the Padres’ organization, and Martino has since reported that the veteran pitcher and Princeton grad is a candidate for some type of role in the Mets’ new front office.
Hiring Young as the GM, however, would somewhat fly in the face of Cohen’s previous comments about his club’s search for a baseball ops executive. At his introductory press conference earlier this month, Cohen suggested he preferred an experienced candidate, telling reporters (link via Newsday’s Tim Healey): “I’m not crazy about people learning on my dime.” Young’s work in the league office gives him more relevant experience than most recently retired players, but he’d still be a rookie in a team’s baseball ops department. Even with guidance from an experienced vet like Alderson, he’d be “learning on Cohen’s dime,” though perhaps that’s more palatable for Cohen if Alderson heads up baseball ops himself for the early portion of an incoming GM’s tenure.
Turning to other potential candidates, Martino reported this morning that Rays special assistant Bobby Heck, who’d previously been under consideration, is no longer seen as a candidate for the job. He’s expected to remain with the Rays.