Jon Heyman: Mets expected to go outside for next GM

The Mets are currently using a three-headed GM set-up, and they aren’t revealing their GM plans for the future, but they are planning to conduct a search, and the belief now is that they will go outside to fill the key baseball operations role.

As for who might become get the full-time job, one person, who is close to the club-owning Wilpons, said that while “the Mets aren’t sure themselves,” where they will go for a successor to Sandy Alderson, he believes that the next general manager will more likely than not come from outside the organization. That obviously isn’t set in stone, but it seems to be a prevailing opinion of others as well.

Mets ownership (especially COO Jeff Wilpon) loves the respected assistant GM John Ricco, who has been a loyal employee and great team player, and Ricco is only one of three currently running the baseball aspects of the franchise. All three have significant qualifications to fill the GM role. The other two parts of the current GM triumvirate are J.P. Ricciardi, who had success as the Blue Jays’ GM, and Omar Minaya, who is beloved in the organization and whose tenure as Mets GM looks even better after he left, thanks to the development of Jacob deGrom and others.

It will not be Alderson again, who made it fairly clear that his departure was permanent at his final press conference, when he said he wasn’t sure his recent body of work “warranted” a return once he regains full health. Alderson, who did guide the Mets into the 2015 World Series, said his health prognosis was “good,” even after receiving the diagnosis of a cancer recurrence, but he seemed to signal an intention not to return with his words. And in case there was any doubt, one person familiar with situation said the assumption is that Alderson is “done” as Mets GM, which only fits what Alderson himself said.



While Mets ownership may never have let go of Alderson without his blessing, and his removal is said to have been his own his idea, one person with close ties to the team said his call was also related to his own assessment of his recent “performance,” as well as the rigors of fighting the disease, which are significant. That this is as much about a self-review rather than strong worries about his health will cheer those who know Alderson, who is revered around the league from all his many high-powered duties in Oakland, San Diego and the main MLB office in New York.

Jeff Wilpon would only say Alderson’s health is the most important thing, and that is inarguable. Alderson said he received the diagnosis of a recurrence back in late April, but while his prognosis hasn't changed and is believed to be good, the chemotherapy treatments surely are anything but easy.

While some believe Mets ownership could never have removed Alderson without his approval, those at the top of the Mets’ hierarchy are said to be beside themselves over the shocking and calamitous fall of the team, which moved from first place to a battle for last with the Miami Marlins, who are beginning a severe rebuild.

Alderson was originally strongly recommended for the Mets top baseball job by the MLB office at a time the Mets needed someone with gravitas with Mets ownership reeling from the Madoff situation. With nearly a decade gone by, sources say the Mets' finances, thanks to SNY and other related endeavors, are now in excellent financial health.

It’s the team on the field that’s at issue, and the question of who will be given the task to dig them out of their abyss.

Eyebrows were raised when Ricco, the de facto favorite, wasn’t given the interim title, and depending on how things go, he is probably the strong favorite in the seemingly unlikely event they stay in-house. It isn’t clear that Minaya, who did the job before and is very close with Ricco, or Ricciardi (who lives in Massachusetts) would even want the job, though Ricciardi may like a second chance.

If they do go outside, some names already are surfacing on the rumor mill, but it's early and undoubtedly many more will surface. Two that could be a reach are Brewers GM David Stearns and Indians GM Mike Chernoff, who are having great success. Both are New Yorkers (Chernoff is actually from New Jersey, but that’s close enough). However, to pry away a current GM – the Cubs' Jed Hoyer is another big name floating around – Mets ownership might have to use the president title, and even if they are willing to do that, there’s no guarantee those targets' current bosses would let them go.

Many other names could become candidates. Dodgers executive Josh Byrnes, who was runner-up when Alderson was hired, is a logical choice. Some others whose names have been heard, seen or speculated include Diamondbacks executive Jared Porter, Brewers execs Ray Montgomery and Matt Arnold, MLB and former Dodgers/Yankees executive Kim Ng, and Blue Jays executive Ben Cherington, who happens to live in Connecticut. More names will surely float out there assuming they do go outside.

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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