There’s already been plenty of speculation regarding the Mets’ search for a president of baseball operations. They’ve been very loosely tied to notable names like Theo Epstein, Josh Byrnes, Chris Antonetti, and Derek Falvey in recent weeks, and chatter has picked up over the past few days about a potential run at another marquee executive: Athletics president of baseball operations Billy Beane.
Last week, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic opined that the Mets should make a run at both Beane and A’s manager Bob Melvin with a plan to install Beane atop the baseball operations department and to bring Melvin in to replace Luis Rojas as manager. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman has somewhat vaguely suggested that Beane is “on the Mets’ radar” in the past few days (Twitter links), though as he notes, there’s no guarantee the interest would be reciprocated.
Andy Martino of SNY reports the Mets would indeed be willing to consider the Beane/Melvin pursuit. However, he adds that there have not yet been any discussions between the Mets and Beane regarding his interest in making that jump, nor have the Mets been in contact with the A’s about potentially granting Beane permission to interview for a position with New York.
It’s not especially surprising to hear whispers that Mets president Sandy Alderson could pursue Beane, who was a protégé of his during the 1990s. Beane succeeded Alderson as baseball operations leader of the A’s in 1997 when the latter took a position in the commissioner’s office. The two have remained close in the more than two decades since, and Alderson even returned to the A’s in an advisory capacity between his pair of stints with the Mets (as general manager from 2010-18 and since last offseason as president).
Alderson has been running day-to-day baseball operations in Queens this month. Last offseason’s GM hire Jared Porter was fired a few weeks into his tenure after revelations that he’d previously sexually harassed a reporter. Acting GM Zack Scott has been on administrative leave since September 2 because of a DWI arrest. That’s forced Alderson to assume a more demanding role, but he’s planning to step back into a broader team president role next season while relinquishing daily baseball operations tasks to whoever he and owner Steve Cohen tab as the next president of baseball operations.
It’s fairly typical for teams to refuse to allow front office personnel who remain under contract to interview with other clubs for lateral positions. Beane is already Oakland’s president of baseball operations and owns an approximate 1% stake in the franchise, so it’s difficult to envision the Mets presenting him a loftier title than the one he already possesses. (Beane would have to divest that ownership share in the A’s if he joined another MLB team). That said, it’s also plausible A’s ownership would make an exception to that general rule and allow Beane to interview for a lateral move — both out of respect for his accomplishments with the club and because general manager David Forst has long been viewed as Beane’s successor-in-waiting. Forst is “not considered a possibility” for the Mets, Martino writes.
Of course, there’d be no chance of a Beane/Melvin pairing in Queens if those two are uninterested in a change of scenery. Rumors about Beane departing the A’s to join a larger-market, high-payroll club have swirled for the better part of two decades, but he’s remained in Oakland to this point. Melvin has been A’s manager since the middle of the 2011 season, and the club exercised an option in June to bring him back for the 2022 season. Beane and Melvin have clearly been comfortable in the Bay Area and part of a steady leadership contingent in the organization for some time. It’s possible one or both would prefer to stay where they are, even in spite of the allure of a larger payroll and the chance to work with Alderson in New York.
Much remains to be determined in the Mets’ front office search. It’s at least easy to glean from initial reports that Cohen and Alderson are setting their sights high, targeting well-known and respected executives with plenty of experience running baseball operations departments elsewhere.