1:15PM: Stearns is “happily employed” with the Brewers, he told MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Stearns also declined to clarify how many years or possible years may remain on his Brewers contract.
8:14AM: The Mets have twice been denied in their attempts to interview David Stearns about their president of baseball operations job, as Brewers owner Mark Attanasio declined the Mets’ requests both last season and earlier this offseason. However, the Mets are seemingly prepared to simply wait the Brewers out, as The Athletic’s Tim Britton, Britt Ghiroli, and Ken Rosenthal report that New York will approach Stearns about their front office vacancy next winter, when his contract with the Brewers may or may not be up.
In the interim, the Mets’ search has been focused on assistant general manager types, who would become the club’s GM in 2022. (Former Nationals AGM Adam Cromie has recently emerged as a favorite for the job.) Should the Mets’ plan to land Stearns come to fruition, Cromie or whomever ends up in the GM role would then become the ops department’s chief lieutenant to Stearns, who would carry the official PBO title and sit at the top of the Amazins’ decision-making pyramid.
It would make for an unusual dynamic for at least one season in the team’s front office, not that there has been much normalcy associated with the Mets’ very public search to date. Several potential candidates have already declined interviews with the Mets, quite likely because of the associated uncertainty. Looking it from the perspective of an assistant GM, if you’re comfortable with your current team, why take the risk of accepting what might be a one-year job, should Stearns (or another incoming boss that you aren’t familiar with) decides that they want their own handpicked GM as their top lieutenant?
Waiting for Stearns also carries its own set of challenges for the Mets. “Stearns has serious interest in the position,” Britton/Ghiroli/Rosenthal write, which isn’t really surprising given that Stearns grew up as a Mets fan in New York and even interned in the club’s front office in 2008. It could be that some unofficial back-channel communication may have already taken place between the two sides, though Stearns’ feelings about the job could change if and when he has a formal interview with team officials. (It can also be assumed that Attanasio would likely be on the lookout for any sort of early talks of any kind between Stearns and the Mets, should he feel tampering is taking place.)
Stearns has also enjoyed a lot of success in Milwaukee, and could prefer to remain with the Brewers on another contract extension, or perhaps even investigate a potential job opening with another team besides the Brewers or Mets. Plus, Stearns’ contractual situation is a little unclear. The Mets reportedly believe Stearns will be available next winter, though reports have suggested some type of vesting option could be in place for Stearns to remain with in Milwaukee through the 2023 season. If this option does exist and it vests, the Mets would find themselves putting their front office plans on hold for yet another season — assuming Stearns would remain at the top of their list, and another executive didn’t emerge in the interim.