Central to Jared Porter’s excitement about becoming the Mets’ general manager, as expressed during his introductory news conference Monday, are two words he never actually said: mandate and money.
Both come from owner Steve Cohen and are welcomed by Porter, who was chosen by Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson to run the Mets’ baseball operations.
That three-to-five-year time frame to win a World Series, as Cohen said last month? Porter wasn’t ready to give himself a deadline on his first full day on the job, but he isn’t afraid of great expectations, either.
"Hearing comments like that really motivates me, it really excites me," Porter said in a Zoom call. "It shows a strong commitment from ownership, who wants to win."
And all that cash Cohen has? Porter has lots of ideas about how the Mets can spend it. In their new era, they intend to act like a big-market team, a dynamic that appealed to Porter, who said he became "singularly focused" on the Mets’ opening when they approached him.
"The ability to invest in people, invest in new technologies, invest in infrastructure is incredibly appealing," he said. "And I feel very fortunate to be in a position where those resources are going to be provided to us."
Porter said he felt fortunate, too, to be chosen for this gig. He had been a Diamondbacks assistant GM for the past four years, working for the Cubs (2015-16) and the Red Sox (2004-15) before that and winning four World Series along the way. Now he gets to run his own team under the tutelage of Alderson, who interviewed eight candidates for the job.
Alderson’s deep familiarity with the Mets — he was the GM from 2010-18 — makes Porter the biggest fresh baseball voice in the organization. Although he still is learning about the club, including recent conversations with manager Luis Rojas and holdover executives, he already knows parts he wants to improve.
In the front office, Porter plans to beef up the player-development and analytics departments. Regarding the major-league roster, he mentioned the rotation and centerfield as positions of need. And in all areas of the organization, from the majors to the minors to the front office to the coaching staffs, he values depth and flexibility.
Depth has been an issue for the Mets in recent seasons. Their high-ceilinged rosters have fallen short of expectations because of injury or ineffectiveness among individuals or position groups.
"There’s a difference between depth and quality depth; that’s a really important distinction," Porter said. "If two pitchers get injured, it can’t be an excuse. You have to have more pitchers behind them. If two hitters aren’t performing, not an excuse. Have two hitters behind them."
Alderson added: "Jared expressed how important it was to bring talent into the organization — not only player talent but front-office talent, talent across the board. Utilizing that talent in a culture that gets the best out of everyone, not only the players but the coaches and across the board.
"He emphasized flexibility in terms of our player personnel in terms of how we approach free agency and trades, the idea of being flexible across the board."
Porter said he wants to turn the Mets into an "idea meritocracy." He came up as a rank-and-file front-office member in Boston under Theo Epstein — then was a higher-ranking exec in Chicago under Epstein — and wants to instill part of that culture in Queens.
"The more you involve people, the more you let people make an impact, not only might you hear some good ideas, but it’s also a great way for them to develop," Porter said.
The GM usually is the No. 1 baseball person in the organization. Given Alderson’s long career in the sport, the Mets’ new power structure isn’t as clear. Alderson called it a "flexible arrangement" that includes "things that can be decided by Jared that don’t have to involve me or only involve me briefly."
"Jared is very well-respected across baseball — not just respected but well-liked as well," Alderson said. "From a personality standpoint as well as a competency standpoint, Jared has tremendous room to grow. I’m very confident that he has the potential to lead this organization over a period of years."