The Mets announced Thursday afternoon that they have begun the process of appointing a new team boss. Sandy Alderson will remain in the position until a new appointment is completed, at which point he will become a “special advisor” to the property. Andy Martino from SNY Report the development shortly before the team’s announcement.
Mets owner Steve Cohen settled Alderson as team boss in the fall of 2020, two months before he purchased the franchise from the Wilpon family. Once this sale closed, the club separated from then-general manager Brody van Wagenen and many of his high-ranking staff and announced the appointment of Alderson.
“When I asked Sandy to return to the team, it was for a specific period of time and with a specific mandate – reviving our culture and this special privilege for our fans, partners and employeesCohen said today in a press release announcing the news. “Sandy did those things and more and we started looking for his successor. When we found that person, I asked Sandy to continue in a new position as special counsel for me and the senior leadership team.“
Alderson originally signed a two-year contract, which Martino reports is set to expire at the end of December. According to Martino, Alderson and Cohen mutually agreed that it was time to bring in a new team boss. None of the specific candidates are yet known, although Martineau adds that the people currently under consideration mainly come from business backgrounds rather than baseball operations jobs. No hiring appears imminent, and Alderson is expected to remain head of the team until a new appointment is found, even if that process extends beyond the formal expiration of his contract.
The role of the team leader is a top position, where this person is responsible for influencing both baseball and the business operations of the organization. Alderson is Not The team’s day-to-day baseball operations decision maker, and the next employee isn’t expected to take on this role either. Day-to-day baseball operations tasks fall to General Manager Billy Ebler, who signed a four-year contract last November. There is no indication that Alderson’s change will have any effect on Eppler’s job status; Martino writes that the Mets ownership has been “delighted” with Eppler’s work so far, which isn’t a surprise considering the team is a lock to make it to the playoffs and the World Series champion Braves are fighting to defend the NL East title.
Alderson has been the decision-maker for the Mets’ day-to-day baseball operations in the past, serving as the 2010-18 general manager. He moved away in the summer of 2018 after being diagnosed with cancer. He returned to the organization a year and a half later but seemed to have no interest in retaking his old responsibilities. The 74-year-old was pressured to temporarily run the baseball operations division late last season, but John Heyman mentioned At the time, Alderson was not interested in taking the role permanently.
The Mets hired Eppler last off-season, with Alderson returning as his team boss for the second year of his deal. Martino adds that he and Cohen always planned to reduce his time in this capacity to two years; Fortunately, his prospective transition to a less demanding consulting role is not linked to any new health concerns.
Alderson’s time as team leader has not been without notable errors. Soon after his return to the organization, Alderson helped organize a search for General Motors that culminated in the appointment of Jared Porter, former CEO of Diamondbacks. Porter was appointed in December 2020, and held the position for about a month, before ESPN reported that he sexually harassed a reporter four years earlier. The Mets immediately fired Porter, who was eventually banned by Major League Baseball until at least the end of the 2022 season.
A few months later, The Athletic reported allegations of sexual misconduct against former Mets manager Mickey Calaway, who was hired by Alderson during his tenure as the club’s general manager. Callaway, who was working with the Angels at the time the allegations were made public, was eventually dismissed and declared ineligible by the MLB until at least 2022.
In the wake of the Porter disaster, the Mets promoted Assistant GM Zack Scott to acting general manager. Scott seemed a strong candidate to take on the role permanently, but was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in September 2021. The Mets put him on administrative leave and pushed Alderson to take control of baseball operations for a few months.
New York separated from Scott after the season while his criminal case was still pending. Scott was acquitted in January, with a court judge writing that “conducted (field sobriety) tests in such a way that no neutral observer would conclude that he was intoxicated, especially to the point of intoxication. Scott hasn’t returned to baseball operations with the MLB team, though Tim Healy from Newsday He reported in April that he turned down front office jobs to work with a private consulting firm.
In the wake of Scott’s departure, the Mets conducted a highly publicized search for their baseball operations captain in their last off-season. The Mets reportedly toured Theo Epstein, Billy Beane, and David Stearns (among others) prior to the Eppler tab. While the Mets have consistently confirmed that they are pleased with Eppler’s performance, some fans and outside observers have speculated about the possibility of the club going on another tour with one of these high-profile executives this winter. Alderson’s stepping down may add some fuel to that fire, but it’s worth reiterating that the team leader vacancy is a more comprehensive position than Epstein, Beanne and Stearns have filled in recent years.
Ben and Stearns remain with the A’s and Brewers, respectively, both serving as head of baseball operations for their respective clubs. Milwaukee owner Mark Atanasio blocked the Mets’ efforts to interview the Stearns last winter. He’s still under contract with the Brewers until 2023, though a deep post-season run taking place this year (either to the NLCS or the World Series) will allow him to opt out of that deal at the end of this season. Milwaukee is currently playing a game-and-a-half from last place on the Wild Card in the National League. Epstein and Penn were allowed to speak with the Mets family last fall, but both eventually pulled themselves out of interest in the job.
At this point, the most likely course of action is that the Mets eventually bring in a business-oriented team leader while continuing to delegate baseball operations to the Eppler. Even if the next president isn’t brought on board to handle daily baseball decisions, it’s a notable hiring for Cohen and his staff. For the third consecutive winter, there will be some major changes in the Mets’ executive hierarchy.
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