The Mets fired general manager Jared Porter on Tuesday morning, hours after they learned that he sent unsolicited and graphic texts to a female reporter in 2016, behavior that team president Sandy Alderson called "a serious error in judgment."
Further, a source said, Major League Baseball plans to investigate Porter over his conduct. The inquiry could result in a suspension that would include Porter needing to apply for and receive reinstatement before getting another job in MLB.
Porter, the first baseball operations hire by new owner Steve Cohen and Alderson, was the Mets’ GM for 37 days.
"We have terminated Jared Porter this morning," Cohen wrote on Twitter early Tuesday. "In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it. There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior."
Someone asked Cohen in a tweet what Porter’s path to redemption might be.
"I have no idea," Cohen replied. "I have an organization of 400 employees that matter more than any one individual," he wrote. "No action would [have] set a poor example to the culture I’m trying to build."
Porter, 41, did not respond to Newsday’s request for comment.
The Mets do not plan to replace Porter in the short term, Alderson said. Instead, an inner circle of baseball decision-makers — including assistant GM Zack Scott, who was a finalist for the top job before Alderson and Cohen picked Porter — will help Alderson run the team.
Alderson said he learned of Porter’s texts to the reporter, a foreign correspondent who was in the United States to cover baseball, around 5:30 p.m. Monday, when Porter called to warn that the saga would be revealed in an ESPN story.
"I wouldn't say that Jared was misleading," Alderson said. "However, we didn’t understand the full scope of this situation until we had a chance to read the article."
That came around 11 p.m. Within the hour, Alderson said in a statement that Porter "has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions." He finished by noting, "We will follow up as we review the facts regarding this serious issue."
The review of the facts was quick. Alderson and Cohen spoke at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. They agreed that firing Porter was "the only course of action."
"We both arrived at the same conclusion independently," Alderson said. "So when we talked it was a very short conversation and almost immediately thereafter I placed a call to Jared.
The reporter, who was not identified by ESPN and has since left the journalism industry, told ESPN that she met Porter once, in an elevator at Yankee Stadium in June 2016. They exchanged business cards. Porter, who was the Cubs’ director of pro scouting, began messaging her that day — including thrice asking her to get a drink and once sending a selfie.
Porter’s texts became more aggressive and she stopped responding. But he sent 62 consecutive unanswered messages over the course of about three weeks, culminating in an explicit photo.
When the woman asked Porter to stop, he did and apologized, ESPN reported. When she next saw him in person — October 2017 as she was covering the Diamondbacks, Porter’s new team, in the playoffs — she panicked and hid, she said.
If the Mets knew about this last month, Alderson said, they would not have hired Porter. They even asked Porter the question during the interview process: "Is there anything else we need to know?"
"I was shocked," Alderson said, reiterating the positive recommendations he received on Porter’s behalf last month. "Eventually, that gives way to the disappointment and a little bit of anger. This was a total surprise to us.
This is the second January in a row — under two different ownership regimes — that the Mets made a major hire but dumped him before the start of spring training. In January 2020, they parted ways with Carlos Beltran, who was chosen as manager less than three months prior, over his involvement in the 2017 Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
"These were two different vetting processes, both of which ended up poorly," Alderson said. "It certainly raises questions that we have to reflect upon and decide whether things need to change, but I don't think this reflects a fundamental flaw in the process. I think this is a very unfortunate circumstance that we wish we'd known about but didn't.
"Given the length of time that’s transpired between this series of incidents and now, I’m confident that this is not something that we should have known about, should have found out about it [or], had used other means to inquire, that we would’ve known about it."
A couple of Mets players seemed to comment via social media. Righthander Marcus Stroman posted on Instagram a video captioned "Women are queens."
"What a morning. What news. Crazy world out there, man. Love my momma, love my sister. Treat women like the princesses that they are, always," Stroman, with a half-smile, said in part in the video. "They’re queens. That’s how you gotta be. Just shows you, man. You never know what individuals are doing in this world, bro."
Lefthander Jerry Blevins, who was with the Mets from 2015-18 and returned on a minor-league contract last month, wrote in a tweet, "Proud to be a Met today."
With less than a month until pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training on Feb. 17, the Mets have more roster and front-office additions to make. They don’t want another Jared Porter.
"We've been hiring, I don't know, a dozen or so individuals over the last month or so," Alderson said. "And that risk exists with every employee that's hired."
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