As expected, Mets owner Steve Cohen was in contract with Theo Epstein about the team’s president of baseball operations opening, but Epstein won’t be taking over the Mets’ front office. According to SNY’s Andy Martino (Twitter link), Cohen and Epstein “had a good conversation and both agreed that this was not the right opportunity.”
Epstein has been linked to the Mets on the rumor mill essentially since the moment he stepped down as the Cubs president of baseball ops last November, though Epstein said that he intended to take some time off before getting back into team management. He instead took a consultant job with the Commissioner’s Office, and it appears as though Epstein will remain in that role for the foreseeable future. Barring a surprise move in the coming days, the Mets look to be the only team in search of a new front office boss this offseason.
While it made natural sense for Cohen to look into Epstein’s availability, reports suggested that Epstein was seen as something of a longshot of a hire. Beyond just running a front office, there have been suggestions that Epstein has his eyes on being at least a minority owner of his next team, if his next baseball job is even with a team at all — there have even been rumors that Epstein might look to succeed Rob Manfred as the next commissioner.
With Epstein out of the running, speculation will continue about two other major names reportedly on the Mets’ list, as Cohen is expected to request permission to speak with Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns and A’s executive VP Billy Beane. Of the two, the “Mets still may have a legit shot at Beane,” MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets, though Beane himself downplayed the speculation.
“I wouldn’t even know that, honestly,” Beane told Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News and other reporters about the Mets’ plans to request an interview. “Normally the process is they would call the owner which has happened in the past. But to worry about this is to lend credibility to it. It’s all just press reports.” Of note, Beane also owns a small ownership stake in the Athletics, so that could be another hurdle to a hiring if Beane did have interest in leaving Oakland or if A’s ownership was willing to part ways.