Jared Porter right choice at right time for Mets
Jared Porter, introduced Monday as the Mets’ general manager, already owns four World Series rings — two more than the club he’s been hired to operate.
He was part of the front-office team that slew The Curse of the Bambino with the Red Sox’s first World Series championship in 86 years. Did the same for another famously jinxed franchise by helping to give the Cubs their first championship in 108 years.
Bump into Porter at the ballpark, or maybe somewhere around town, and you’d never know it.
"I keep them locked up," he said of the rings during Monday’s video conference with the media. "I don’t wear them out."
Just another reason why Porter feels like the perfect guy for this job, along with Sandy Alderson being appointed the team’s president and Steve Cohen — the lifelong fan from Great Neck worth $14 billion — the dream choice to be the owner.
For this ultra-accomplished Type A group, the greatest victory, the most cherished title, is always the next one.
And that supreme confidence, with a resume to match, is crucial here because the Mets don’t have all that much to look at in the rearview mirror. It took Alderson five years, building on four sub-. 500 seasons, to return the Mets to the World Series in his last go-round as GM. His successor, former agent Brodie Van Wagenen, failed spectacularly in his slick try at a quick fix.
This time, however, the stars seem to be aligning above Citi Field, as the Mets have both the financial might and growing baseball IQ to establish a more permanent, consistent success.
Keep that in mind during this glacially slow free-agent market. The Mets already have signed two in reliever Trevor May and catcher James McCann, so for those keeping score, they’re already ahead — with more certainly to come.
But as Alderson plainly stated Monday, don’t sweat the calendar right now. The Mets chose to grab McCann because they didn’t feel like being strung along by J.T. Realmuto while there are other big-ticket upgrades to pursue. Alderson basically assured us he’ll be spending more of Cohen’s money, but it’s going to be done as part of the plan, a blueprint drawn up by Alderson and Porter.
"We’d like to build on the momentum," Alderson said. "But as Steve has said, we’re not going to be drunken sailors, either. Everybody knows how we’re positioned right now — there’s no secret there. But the fact that we’re involved in those [free-agent] conversations I don’t think puts any more pressure on us.
"I think what the fans want is not that we win the offseason but we win the season, and there are several different ways to achieve that.
"If we have X money to spend, we’ll probably spend it. But we have to make decisions about how we do that. And I think we’re trying to be judicious. But we’re definitely talking and we definitely have the capacity. So what we really have to do then is to make good judgments about what we do and not be compelled to win the offseason, but rather have our eye on the regular season."
Just because it’s inevitable at this time of year, Alderson got lured into more of Scott Boras’ grocery-store analogies. The difference now is that the Mets no longer are the butt of the agent’s jokes, and Alderson made sure to mention Monday that he’s been perusing the gourmet section, where the elite free agents such as Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, George Springer and DJ LeMahieu are shelved.
That’s been out-of-bounds for the Mets for more than a decade, but Alderson’s freedom under Cohen to shop there doesn’t mean he gets to set the terms necessarily. And with this pandemic-influenced market slowed to a crawl, it’s going to be a while before the Mets have assembled what they believe to be a championship-caliber roster.
"We’ve been running up and down that aisle over the last couple of weeks," Alderson said. "Right now I don’t think that part of the market is moving all that quickly. And when you have different parts of the market that are moving at different paces, you have to make some decisions. Not only based on the player alternatives, but also the timing.
"Right now, things are a little slower in the gourmet section than they are in the meat department, but that’ll change."
This must be a shock to the system for Alderson, a recalibrating of sorts to a Cohen-based Mets reality. The hiring of Porter, however, is a nod to smart team-building going forward and fortifying the Mets’ infrastructure. This is about way more than free agency, but it sure helps to have it all.
"I couldn’t be any more excited to be here," Porter said. "I’m pumped to be a Met."
With that, Porter flashed a thumbs-up for the Zoom audience. Showing where the next ring goes, undoubtedly.