The Sandy Alderson Era is expected to begin Friday at Citi Field, where the Mets plan to introduce their next general manager and unveil the initial blueprint for this offseason.

Alderson, 62, was the prohibitive favorite for the job from the start of the process and the last remaining hurdle was his second interview Tuesday with principal owner Fred Wilpon, president Saul Katz and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.

When that meeting went smoothly, the Mets' decision was made, and word began to leak out late Tuesday night, which is when first reported the hiring. The Mets interviewed six candidates to replace Omar Minaya, but only three had previous experience as a GM, and Alderson stood alone as the most established of that group.

The Mets will wait to officially announce Alderson's hiring in deference to the World Series, as clubs are discouraged from having news conferences on game days. With Friday a travel day, that gives the Mets a window to conduct business again.

One of Alderson's most immediate priorities will be trying to re-sign Hisanori Takahashi, who abruptly switched agents Wednesday from Peter Greenberg to Arn Tellem, the representative for Hideki Matsui and other Japanese players. Not only is Takahashi a free agent, but because of an obscure contract rule, the Mets must re-sign him by Sunday - or almost certainly lose him.

If that deadline passes, Takahashi cannot sign back with the Mets until May 15, a clause that would essentially end his time in Flushing. Greenberg has a good working relationship with the Mets - he represents Johan Santana and Jose Reyes, among others - but Takahashi's surprising move likely means he will sign elsewhere.

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The versatile Takahashi, a 35-year-old rookie, was a bargain at roughly $1 million this season. The lefthander finished 10-6 with eight saves in 53 games, including 12 starts, and even took over as closer when Francisco Rodriguez was lost to season-ending surgery. Now on the verge of a significantly bigger payday, Takahashi apparently is looking to shop his talents in the free-agent market.

That's a rough welcome for Alderson, who also has to hire a manager, among other organizational pieces. With the Mets facing a transition period, and desperately needing a return to respectability, Alderson seemed to be uniquely qualified for the task at hand. It didn't hurt that he came with the endorsement of commissioner Bud Selig, who is close with Fred Wilpon, and the Mets gave the impression early on that Alderson was their first choice.

Still, the Mets gathered an impressive group of candidates, with half aspiring to become rookie GMs. The only regret in the process was that Rangers GM Jon Daniels, a Bayside, Queens, native, was not available to pursue the position.

With Texas reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history, the Mets never asked permission to interview Daniels and chose not to delay their decision until it was over. As for reports that Daniels reached out to the Mets indirectly and was rebuffed in asking them to wait, the Texas GM said, "That's BS."

With Ken Davidoff

The Sandy Alderson file

Son of Air Force pilot who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Graduated Dartmouth (1969).

Four years as Marine Infantry Officer, including eight-month tour in Vietnam.

Graduated Harvard Law School (1973).

Left private law practice to become Athletics' general counsel in 1981.

Took over as Athletics' general manager in 1982, at age 35, after firing of Billy Martin.

Pioneered use of statistic-based analysis in evaluating players. Hired Billy Beane, who later used that as the foundation for the "Moneyball" philosophy he's relied on as Athletics' GM. Alderson also credited as mentor of Reds GM Walt Jocketty and former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. Opened door for new generation of "academic" GMs like Rays' Andrew Friedman and Rangers' Jon Daniels.

Guided Athletics' to four AL West titles, three straight World Series appearances (1988-90) and one world championship in 1989.

Had three straight Rookie of the Year winners in Jose Canseco ('86), Mark McGwire ('87) and Walt Weiss ('88). Also Ben Grieve in 1998.

Left Athletics in 1998 to work for commissioner's office in overhauling the game in the areas of umpiring and international development.

Hired by Padres in 2005 as chief executive officer and minority owner. During his tenure, San Diego lost in the first round of the playoffs twice (2005-06) and replaced manager Bruce Bochy with Bud Black before Alderson resigned in 2009 to return to commissioner's office.

Appointed by commissioner Bud Selig to direct Major League Baseball's reform efforts in the Dominican Republic. Alderson targeted age fraud, use of performance-enhancing drugs andbuscones, otherwise known as illegal street agents.