The Mets’ search for a new baseball boss will not be theocentric.
They already have ruled out Theo Epstein, the architect of drought-ending World Series-winning teams in Boston and Chicago, sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday.
Mets owner Steve Cohen and Epstein recently chatted about the Mets’ opening for a president of baseball operations but agreed, sources said, that it was not a good fit for Epstein. The conversation was cordial and the sides both recognized they should not pursue it further, sources added.
That development validated what had been widespread skepticism within the industry that Epstein would want the Mets job. Winner of three World Series and considered a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, Epstein has been an MLB consultant working on on-field matters/potential rule changes for the past year and can wait for any job he wants — or no job at all.
Knowing at this early juncture that Epstein is not an option allows Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson to focus on other candidates. The two remaining names most commonly linked to the job are Billy Beane, the Athletics’ executive vice president of baseball operations; and David Stearns, the Brewers’ president of baseball operations.
Beane and Stearns are under contract with their respective teams, so the Mets need to be granted permission to speak to them about their opening. That appears to be an issue particularly in the case of Stearns, whose boss, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, last month reminded reporters that Stearns is contractually committed to the team when asked about the Stearns/Mets possibility.
Since Oakland’s season is over, the Mets can ask about Beane any time they want, if they haven’t already. With Milwaukee beginning its NLDS against Atlanta on Friday, the standard is for the Mets to wait until the Brewers' playoff run is over before inquiring about Stearns.
Beane is an interesting possibility because of his long history with Alderson. After Beane, the Mets’ first-round draft pick in 1980 who made major-league cameos for the team in 1984-85, retired as a player, he joined the Athletics’ front office, at the time run by Alderson. When Alderson left Oakland following the 1997 season, Beane succeeded him as general manager. He has had that job, under different titles, ever since.
Alderson wound up working for Beane as a senior adviser of baseball operations in 2019-20, between stints with the Mets.
Stearns, too, has a Mets connection: He was an analytics intern for them more than a decade ago. He grew up in Manhattan.
Epstein was an appealing name because he has done what Beane and Stearns have not: Win championships. In his second season running the Red Sox, they won the 2004 World Series, ending an 86-year title drought, then won again in 2007. Five years after joining the Cubs, they won it all in 2016, their first in 108 years.
The Mets need a president of baseball operations now because they tried and failed to hire one last offseason. When they lowered their goal to finding a GM and assistant GM, they landed on two branches from what has become an extensive Epstein tree of executives: Jared Porter for the top job, Zack Scott as his No. 2.
Porter was fired a month later after the Mets learned he sent lewd, unsolicited texts to a female reporter in 2016, while working for Epstein’s Cubs. That meant Scott became the acting GM, which lasted about seven months until his arrest on drunk-driving charges. He remains on paid administrative leave, his future with the organization unclear.
Top prospect to AFL
Third-base prospect Brett Baty headlines a group of eight Mets minor-leaguers who will participate in the Arizona Fall League. Baty, who turns 22 next month, reached Double-A in his first full professional season and has a shot at the majors next year if he continues to impress.
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