After postponing the search for his own replacement until the conclusion of the 2021 season, Jed Hoyer quickly and quietly landed on former Cleveland exec Carter Hawkins. Hoyer then lured Ehsan Bokhari from Houston as assistant general manager, which is a real coup when you consider the current status of those respective organizations.
That Hoyer was able to add two highly regarded, progressive thinkers to a rebuilding team right after a disappointing season in which they’d just traded away several star players says a lot about the Cubs’ culture and outlook. Things are looking quite different in Queens, where the Mets have been rebuffed at every turn as they search for someone to head up their baseball operations.
From high-profile megastars like Theo Epstein and Billy Beane to non-household names Red Sox assistant GM Raquel Ferreira and Orioles assistant GM Sig Mejdal, no one even wants to interview for the Mets. The list of potential candidates to turn the job opportunity down also includes former Pirates first baseman Dorian Boyland, who preferred to remain in his role as CEO of a national car dealership.
Then there’s former Nationals AGM Adam Cromie, who Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports is “in the mix” to be considered for the role. Cromie has been out of baseball since leaving the Nats in 2017 to pursue his legal career, so maybe the Mets are hoping he hasn’t been paying attention and doesn’t realize what a shitshow they’ve become.
Cromie is based in Pittsburgh and specializes in mergers and acquisitions for the law firm Jones Day, which counts Donald Trump and Fox News among its clients. The firm also represented former New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s office before the Supreme Court during the whole Bridgegate scandal. Some might find that mildly interesting given Christie’s role on the Mets board of directors and as an advisor owner Steve Cohen during this hiring search, though it’s almost certainly a matter of pure coincidence.
Even so, it provides a perfect chef’s kiss of irony to the whole affair with a little touch of pop culture umami that everyone from conspiracy theorists to Twitter snark-peddlers can enjoy.
The former Nats exec has risen to the top of the candidate list since president Sandy Alderson explained recently that the Mets had shifted gears slightly are now looking to hire a GM rather than a president of baseball operations. That may seem like splitting hairs, especially since Alderson wants to get back out of running the baseball side of things, but it’s really more about not targeting established GMs and presidents.
Not that setting their sights on less-heralded candidates has yielded anything approaching success, nor should the organization’s previous personnel choices lead anyone to believe good decisions will be made in the future. You may recall that the Mets are without a GM because former Cubs and Diamondbacks front office member Jared Porter was fired in January shortly after being hired when it was revealed that he had sent several explicit, unsolicited messages to a female reporter when he was with the Cubs.
Zack Scott had been serving as the acting GM until he was placed on administrative leave in August following an arrest on suspicion of a DWI. He has since been dismissed, a decision Buster Olney and Jon Heyman felt the need to lament. Boston Globe Red Sox beat writer Pete Abraham suggested that the Sox should bring Scott back, saying “One mistake shouldn’t end his career.”
At the precise time that the Mets need front office help, they fire Zack Scott. https://t.co/Dk6VE8B2fk They could've simply shifted him into a role with a lower profile — the job for which he was hired — and drawn on his knowledge as they began to reshape the team for 2022.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 2, 2021
Long story short, it’s become increasingly obvious that the Mets organization is viewed as too toxic to even risk taking a huge promotion to join. Just don’t try explaining that to Alderson, who seems to believe it’s simply a matter of people being scared of the big, bad Big Apple.
“In some cases, we haven’t gotten permission,” Alderson said of the difficulty in securing interviews. “In some cases, I think people are comfortable where they are — whether it be a family situation or something professional. And in other cases, I think, admittedly, there’s a reluctance to come to New York — but I think it’s mostly about New York and not about [owner Steve Cohen], or the organization. It’s a big stage, and some people would just prefer to be elsewhere.”
While there may be a measure of truth to that, particularly if someone sees a role with a less volatile or notorious team as being more secure, it’s disingenuous at best to pin it on the city. It’s definitely more the Mets people are scared of than it is New York. There’s probably also a healthy fear that Cohen is too much of a loose cannon to allow any real control of baseball ops.
“There’s a certain amount of risk associated with it,” Alderson admitted to reporters. “And you can talk about the risk in terms of the organization. You can talk about the risk, I guess, in terms of me. You can talk about the risk in terms of Steve. You can talk about the risk of New York.
“If you’re looking to be comfortable, the Mets are probably not the place to be [emphasis mine]. If you’re looking to be challenged and rewarded, because I don’t think there’s any doubt that this team is going to be successful over the next X number of years, then go for it.”
Good Lord, imagine saying that out loud. Maybe Alderson was just recalling the advice he shared with Jacob deGrom just before the best pitcher on the planet underwent an MRI that may have exacerbated his elbow issues. Or perhaps it’s about having a fanbase so fickle they spurred Javier Báez and Francisco Lindor to give them two thumbs down. If there’s one thing Mets fans know all about, it’s being uncomfortable.
Even as bad as things have gotten for the Cubs lately, it’s nice to be able to look at the Mets and know that it could always be worse.