Freshly minted Mets owner Steve Cohen seems to be having a blast in his new role atop the organization, but that doesn’t mean it’s all coming easy. While the club looks to be a prime landing spot for industry executives, Cohen and president Sandy Alderson have not had the easiest time of recruiting new baseball operations leadership.
Cohen acknowledged as much in comments this evening, as Mike Puma of the New York Post covers on Twitter. “I thought it would be a little bit easier than it has been,” Cohen said of his efforts to build out a new staff, including a replacement for outgoing general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
The problem, per Cohen, is that it’s tough to get qualified candidates in the door for a chat. “Baseball is kind if funny,” he says, “where you have to ask for permission and we are not getting a lot of permission.”
It’s interesting to wonder whether the deep-pocketed Cohen is facing stiffer-than-usual headwinds in his rookie offseason. Regardless, it appears that the Mets have been stymied at least in holding exploratory talks with several intriguing potential targets.
That explains why the club recently decided to drop the concept of hiring a president of baseball operations in favor of pursuing a GM. Then again, it may not only be a matter of being thwarted by fellow teams. Zack Meisel of The Athletic indicates (subscription link) that Indians GM Mike Chernoff elected on his own accord not to pursue the president of baseball ops opening in New York.
At the moment, relatively little is known about the Mets’ preferred candidates for the top remaining baseball ops openings. Former hurler and league executive Chris Young is known to have interviewed recently, but he’s the only publicly identified GM possibility. (Michael Hill is also known to have interviewed, though it may be that he was being looked at for the now-abandoned president of baseball operations gig.)
There is one new name to keep an eye on. Former club exec J.P. Ricciardi is on the radar of Cohen and Alderson, according to SNY.tv’s Andy Martino. Ricciardi is certainly a familiar face, having served as a special assistant to Alderson for the entirety of the latter’s original tenure as GM.
Though the market is open, it doesn’t seem the Mets feel much urgency in this arena. Martino says the organization is active in pursuing improvements but isn’t yet close to making significant additional front office hires.