PHILADELPHIA - The Mets will interview Sandy Alderson for their vacant general manager position Thursday or Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation, and Alderson's qualifications would seem to make him the front-runner.
Alderson, 62, is the most accomplished of the Mets' confirmed candidates, having built a perennial contender in Oakland during his reign as general manager there from 1983-97. The Athletics made three consecutive trips to the World Series and won a championship in 1989. But Alderson's biggest impact may have been as an early proponent of statistics-driven evaluation, which his former assistant, Billy Beane, turned into the "Moneyball" front-office culture.
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"The way we put our clubs together, he was ahead of the game," said Reds GM Walt Jocketty, who worked with Alderson in Oakland. "He has great foresight. I think he'd be a great hire for the Mets because they're talking about bringing in somebody to kind of change the culture . . ."
The Mets badly need an overhaul after four straight years without a playoff appearance. Alderson currently is working as MLB's point man to help clean up corruption in the Dominican Republic, but he has the blessing of the commissioner's office in his talks with the Mets.
Alderson is highly regarded by Bud Selig, and given the commissioner's close relationship with Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, it would not be surprising for Selig to endorse him as the best choice. Selig has a vested interest in seeing the Mets restored to respectability as quickly as possible.
A handful of baseball officials Friday unanimously recommended Alderson for his style, track record and the daunting task awaiting the next general manager in Flushing.
"There's no BS with him," one official said.
It also was suggested that Alderson would be a good mentor for assistant GM John Ricco, whom the Mets plan to keep in his current role. Even former GM Omar Minaya might fit with Alderson in a scouting capacity.
In addition to Alderson, the Mets have three interviews scheduled for next week with White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn, Red Sox assistant Allard Baird and former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes.
The Mets also received permission from the Phillies to speak with their former general manager, Pat Gillick, according to Foxsports.com. But Gillick reportedly told COO Jeff Wilpon that he is not interested.