The Mets entered this week with "no preconceived notions" in their search for the next general manager, but yesterday's interview with Sandy Alderson, an early favorite for the job, surely was unlike the four that preceded it.
The big question, however, is how the older and more established Alderson would fit in the organization's current decision-making hierarchy. The Mets did not provide any details of the sit-down, but two baseball officials familiar with the situation wonder if that would work for all of the parties involved.
Alderson, 62, was a general manager for the Athletics and a chief executive officer for the Padres before taking on a consulting role for commissioner Bud Selig. As someone accustomed to running his own show to a certain degree, Alderson would have to adjust to being only one voice in a front office headed by principal owner Fred Wilpon, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and president Saul Katz.
"Sandy is going to have to know what the parameters are in that arrangement," one baseball official said. "That's something to ask going into that job."
Alderson wants to be a general manager again, and Selig no doubt would like to help out his friend, Fred Wilpon, in stabilizing the Mets. But the Wilpons do not seem flexible in how they run their franchise.
Fred Wilpon said as much during the Oct. 4 news conference to announce the dismissals of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel. In talking about the role of Jeff Wilpon, who has taken criticism for being overly involved in baseball operations, Fred Wilpon said all of the team's decisions are made as a consensus between himself, Jeff and Katz.
In that structure, Jeff wields no more power than the other two parts of the ownership group, and the general manager, as an employee, certainly sits somewhere below.
But Jeff Wilpon, along with interim general manager John Ricco, has served as the point man in the general manager hunt and is expected to narrow the list of candidates before Katz and Fred Wilpon get directly involved interviewing the finalists, the last step before making the decision.
The Mets will interview Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White on Friday and still are waiting for permission to speak with a few others. It is unclear if Rangers GM Jon Daniels is part of that group. Daniels, a native of Bayside, Queens, told Newsday's Ken Davidoff on Thursdaythat he was happy in Texas and the Mets had not asked permission to interview him.
The Mets also must "consider" a minority candidate for the general manager position, according to a person familiar with the situation, despite the team's solid track record in that area.
Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng said in a text message that the Mets had not contacted her about the opening. Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila is another potential candidate, but the Mets have not announced any additions to their list.