Mets conducting interviews for team president;  Sandy Alderson will eventually step into the role of adviser

Mets conducting interviews for team president; Sandy Alderson will eventually step into the role of adviser

The Mets announced Thursday afternoon that they have begun a hiring process for a new team president. Sandy Alderson will remain in the role until a new hire is finalized, at which time he will become a “special advisor” to the property. SNY’s Andy Martino reported the development shortly before the team’s announcement.

Mets owner Steve Cohen selected Alderson as team president in the fall of 2020, months before his purchase of the Wilpon family franchise was even finalized. As soon as this sale process was completed, the club parted ways with then-general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and much of his senior staff and announced the hiring of Alderson.

When I asked Sandy to return to the team, it was for a specific term and with a specific mandate — to bring our culture and this iconic franchise to life for our fans, partners and employees.“Cohen said today in the press release announcing the news.”Sandy did these same things and more and we began a search for his successor. When we found this person, I asked Sandy to continue in a new role as a special advisor to me and the management team.

Alderson initially signed a two-year contract, which Martino said is set to expire at the end of December. According to Martino, Alderson and Cohen mutually agreed it was time to bring in a new team president. None of the specific candidates are known yet, though Martino adds that those currently being considered come primarily from business backgrounds, as opposed to careers in baseball operations. No hiring seems imminent and Alderson is expected to remain team president until a new signing is found, even if that process extends beyond the official expiration of his contract.

The role of team president is a senior position, with this person responsible for impacting both baseball and the business operations of the organization. Alderson is not the decision-maker of day-to-day baseball operations for the team, nor should the new recruit take on that role. Day-to-day duties of baseball operations fall to general manager Billy Eppler, who signed a four-year contract last November. There is no indication that Alderson’s change will impact Eppler’s employment status; Martino writes that Mets ownership has been ‘satisfied’ with Eppler’s work so far, which comes as no surprise given the team is a lock on reaching the playoffs and battling the champ World Series Braves titleholder for the NL East title.

Alderson had been the day-to-day decision maker of Mets baseball operations in the past, serving as general manager from 2010 to 2018. He retired in the summer of 2018 after being diagnosed with cancer. He returned to the organization a year and a half later but apparently never had any interest in resuming his old responsibilities. The 74-year-old was forced to temporarily lead the baseball operations department at the end of last season, but Jon Heyman reported at the time Alderson had no interest in taking on the role permanently.

The Mets signed Eppler last offseason, with Alderson returning to his position as team president for the second year of his contract. Martino adds that he and Cohen always planned to limit his time in that capacity to two years; his upcoming transition to a less demanding position as an adviser is fortunately not linked to new health problems.

Alderson’s time as team president was not without a notable misfire. Shortly after returning to the organization, Alderson helped orchestrate a GM search process that resulted in the hiring of former Diamondbacks executive Jared Porter. Hired in December 2020, Porter held the position for about a month, before ESPN reported he had sexually harassed a reporter four years prior. The Mets quickly fired Porter, who was eventually banned by Major League Baseball until at least the end of the 2022 season.

A few months later, The Athletic reported allegations of sexual misconduct against former Mets manager Mickey Callaway, whom Alderson had hired during his tenure as the club’s general manager. Callaway, who was working for the Angels at the time these allegations became public, was eventually fired and also declared ineligible by MLB until at least 2022.

Following the Porter debacle, the Mets promoted assistant general manager Zack Scott to interim general manager. Scott appeared to be a strong candidate to take on this role permanently, but he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in September 2021. The Mets placed him on administrative leave and pushed Alderson in charge of baseball operations during some months.

New York parted ways with Scott after the season while his criminal case was still pending. Scott was acquitted in January, with the trial court judge writing that he “conducted (field sobriety) tests in a way that no neutral observer would conclude he was drunk, especially to the point of intoxication.” Scott did not return to baseball operations with an MLB team, although Newsday’s Tim Healey reported in April that he had turned down front office jobs to work with a private consulting firm.

Following Scott’s departure, the Mets conducted a high-profile search process for their head of baseball operations this past offseason. The Mets reportedly shopped Theo Epstein, Billy Beane and David Stearns (among others) before tabling Eppler. While the Mets have always maintained they were happy with Eppler’s performance, some fans and outside observers have speculated the club could make another run on one of those notable executives this winter. Alderson’s resignation could fuel that fire, but it’s worth remembering that the vacant position of team chairman is a bigger job than the jobs Epstein, Beane and Stearns have held in recent years.

Beane and Stearns remain with the A’s and Brewers respectively, both working as president of their club’s baseball operations. Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio blocked Mets efforts to interview Stearns last winter. He remains under contract with the Brewers until 2023, although a long post-season streak this year (either to the NLCS or the World Series) would apparently allow him to opt out of that deal at the end of this year. this season. Milwaukee is currently 1 1/2 games shy of the last Wild Card spot in the National League. Epstein and Beane were allowed to speak with the Mets last fall, but the two eventually backed out of consideration for the job.

At this point, the most likely course of action is for the Mets to eventually bring in a business-oriented team president while continuing to delegate baseball operations to Eppler. Even if the new president isn’t brought on board to take over day-to-day baseball decisions, it marks a notable hire for Cohen and his team. For the third straight winter, there will be key changes to the Mets’ executive hierarchy.

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