CARLSBAD, Calif. — Pittsburgh-area lawyer Adam Cromie met in person with Mets owner Steve Cohen on Tuesday night, a source said, as the club tries to close in on naming a general manager.
Team president Sandy Alderson said that as of Wednesday evening the Mets had not offered anyone the job and still were talking with multiple candidates.
Cromie, a former assistant general manager for the Nationals who left five seasons ago to practice law, is the only publicly known contender. Alderson would not acknowledge his candidacy or even clarify how to pronounce his name.
"I don’t have any expectations about the timing," Alderson said before departing the GM meetings late Wednesday night. "We’re still going through the process. Nothing has really changed since yesterday. Still a lot of considerations on the table."
Among those considerations: Is Cohen comfortable hiring, as the Mets’ top baseball executive, someone who has been out of the game for more than four years and before that had just two seasons of experience as an assistant GM? His meeting with Cromie, first reported by the New York Post, indicates he is strongly considering it.
Speaking generally, Alderson said he will remain involved in baseball operations as merited based on the eventual GM’s experience level.
"I will be available. I won’t be omnipresent," said Alderson, who entered the offseason hoping to focus exclusively on the business side of the organization. "As this person becomes more familiar with the organization, more comfortable in the role, etc., I would expect that my involvement will diminish."
That is how baseball duties sorted out from January through August, when Zack Scott was the acting GM. As Scott became more ingrained in running the day-to-day items, Alderson gave him more responsibility. Cohen and Alderson fired Scott last week, two months after his DWI arrest and a month before his trial.
More willing than Alderson to discuss Cromie was Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo, who said he and his then-assistant GM had "an extremely amicable breakup" during spring training 2017. Cromie had attended law school at night, with designs on quitting baseball to pursue a legal career, and ended up with a job at Jones Day, for which he has worked since.
"We knew what his goals were, and it worked great for his family," said Rizzo, who provided an assist by noting that the first syllable of Cromie’s name is pronounced like the first syllable in chromosome. "So I was happy that he was happy."
Cromie started with Washington as an intern in 2007 and steadily climbed the front-office ranks, eventually being promoted to AGM in October 2014 — a rather rapid rise. He has a mostly administrative background, Rizzo said, becoming the Nats’ point person on subjects including rules and arbitration.
Recently, Cromie called Rizzo — they had been in touch only occasionally in recent years — and told him about the Mets opportunity. Cromie was curious what sorts of questions a team president like Alderson might ask of a prospective GM like Cromie, so Rizzo obliged.
"I was happy to give him my insights and information and help him any way I can," Rizzo said, declining to get into specifics.
The Mets have several open positions besides GM. That hire will be instrumental in picking the next manager, who in theory will be instrumental in choosing the coaching staff. They also have a few player-development roles, including a director of pitching development, to fill.
Alderson said he wasn’t worried about the late managerial search because Oakland is the only other team looking. He is more anxious, however, about coaches. Pitching coaching Jeremy Hefner is the only member of the manager-to-be-named-later’s staff.
"There's been a run on hitting coaches this offseason; everyone has been looking," Alderson said. "The same conditions don’t apply to the coaches as easily as they do to a manager. On the other hand, major-league jobs are difficult to find. There aren't that many of them, and I'm confident we'll end up with a coaching staff we like."