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Mets set to begin first-round GM interviews early next week, says source

Multiple reports said former Brewers and Rangers GM Doug Melvin and Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque as two of the candidates

Jeff Wilpon looks on before David Wright's final

Jeff Wilpon looks on before David Wright's final game at Citi Field.  Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Their search for a general manager to replace Sandy Alderson finally underway, the Mets are set to begin first-round interviews early next week, a source said Friday.

The Mets have held tight the names of those set to interview, but multiple reports pegged former Brewers and Rangers GM Doug Melvin and Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque as two of the candidates.

When they decide on finalists, the Mets plan to make those names public and hold a news conference with each candidate.

Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ chief operating officer, said Sunday that he and John Ricco, the team’s assistant GM since 2004, will conduct the first round of interviews. But Ricco is not a candidate for the job, according to Wilpon, and involving him in the process so heavily has drawn curious looks from others around baseball and inside the Mets’ front office.

Under Melvin, 66, the Brewers made the postseason twice in 13 seasons, advancing to the NLCS once. He moved into a “senior adviser” role toward the end of the 2015 season as Milwaukee opted to rebuild with a more analytically-inclined front office. Melvin’s Rangers (1994-2001) had a bit more success, getting to the playoffs three times in six full seasons, but never won a series.

LaRocque, 65, has worked for St. Louis since 2008, but for about a decade before that worked for the Mets in senior management roles, including assistant GM.

Among those who reportedly declined to take part in the Mets’ search: Ben Cherington, the former Red Sox GM who is now the Blue Jays’ vice president of baseball operations, and Thad Levine, the Twins’ GM.

Wilpon said the Mets are looking for a “hybrid” scouting-and-analytical background, but noted that it’s hard to tell at this early stage.

“But until we go out and interview and hear the different ideas — of somebody who’s only analytic, one of the young Ivy League-educated guys or somebody else coming from the other side that’s a little bit more old-school — I don’t think we’re going to know,” Wilpon said. “The group of us that have talked about what we should be looking for has been pretty broad in what they think. As you know, some of the guys are very old-school and some are progressive. I’d like to wait and see.”

The Mets are trying to replace Alderson, who stepped away from the team in June because of cancer but technically still holds the GM title. Wilpon said the Mets hope to have a GM in place by the GM meetings in early November.

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