PHILADELPHIA - Sandy Alderson currently has his hands full trying to clean up the corruption that has caused so many problems for baseball in the Dominican Republic. But if the Mets think Alderson is the right man to fix their mess in Flushing, it is believed he could leave that project with the blessing - and perhaps even the encouragement - of the commissioner's office, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.
Alderson, 62, is best known as the general manager that built the A's into a perennial October powerhouse, with three World Series appearances from 1988-90 and a title in 1989. Alderson first hired Billy Beane as a scout and was among the pioneers to value the statistic-driven style of evaluation before it became the "Moneyball" phenomenon.
Alderson, a former Marine sergeant and Harvard Law grad, has the mix of toughness and intelligence to handle turning around a franchise in New York. While commissioner Bud Selig values Alderson in his consulting role for the Dominican issue, he also wants to the Mets restored to respectability. Selig is close with Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon and it is almost certain Wilpon will seek Selig's input on the GM decision, since he needs to go outside the organization for a GM for the first time since Frank Cashen in 1980.
It appears Selig would be willing to let the Mets speak with Alderson, but it's unclear if Alderson would leave his project in the Dominican Republic, which he has been involved with since 2009. Back in March, Alderson signed on to help institute reform there, specifically with the problems of age falsification, PEDs and the street agent and culture in the signing of young players.
Initially, Alderson expected the undertaking to last a few months before handing off the long-term duties to a successor. But the depths of the corruption, as well as the strong opposition there to changing the current system, has made it a tougher problem than first imagined.
The Mets are trying to move quickly in the hiring process, and if Alderson isn't prepared to leave that post in the very near future, he can't be considered.
But Alderson could be the perfect fit. His no-nonsense style is what the Mets are looking for in replacing Omar Minaya, who in the end was criticized by ownership for being too soft in that role. Alderson also brings an air of authority that would help change the perception of COO Jeff Wilpon's heavy-handed involvement in baseball operations.
In addition, Alderson has worked in the past with assistant GM John Ricco as employees for Major League Baseball. The Mets like Ricco and want him to remain with the next front-office team after he helps in the search for the next general manager.
The Mets had yet to receive permission to interview any of their GM candidates, but one person familiar with the situation firmly believed they would have to make the hire before the World Series, which begins Oct. 27.