Two weeks ago, on November 10th, the Mets formally introduced Steve Cohen as the new owner of the team and Sandy Alderson as the new president. The two talked to the media of their plans to turn the franchise from lovable loser into perennial champion. Mets fans loved every single word they heard as Cohen and Alderson repeatedly said they were going to bring in the best baseball brains out there to ensure that the product on the field is one that can win the last game of the season. There were a lot of names rumored to be interested or that the Mets had interest in bringing in to be the GM and the President of Baseball Operations. Sandy made it very clear that their plan was to hire two people to run the operations and that they would be running interviews in what should be a rather quick process.
Fast forward one week, and Theo Epstein resigns from his role with the Cubs. Perhaps the greatest mind in baseball, Theo broke the curses of the Red Sox and Cubs, which hadn’t been done before. Epstein has said in the past that everyone should switch jobs after 10 years. This was his 9th year with the Cubs and things started going downhill after the 2016 World Series. It seemed the Cubs had suddenly become complacent because they broke the curse and no longer played with the same fire anymore. The Theo news shocked the baseball world, especially Mets fans as the seemingly perfect candidate to take over the team just became available. Theo released a statement saying he wanted to take a year off to spend time with his family but wanted to come back eventually. Interesting.
All of the sudden, Mets fans lowered their expectations, “Not EVERYTHING can go right for us this year” they thought as they read that Theo wasn’t going to be persuaded to come back for the 2021 season. Should they have thought this though? All of the sudden, the Mets search for a POBO and GM slowed as they were disallowed to interview the Brewers GM David Stearns and the favorite for the job, Mike Chernoff, suddenly dropped out. Today, Sandy is talking to the media and is expected to announce that he will be running the team’s operations for the year. The 73-year-old made it somewhat clear in his introductory presser that he did not want to do this, but it appears as though they could not find any matches to run the team. Hmmm. So, the Mets have a plan to hire two people with a long list of names to interview and none of them are good enough. 73-year-old Sandy believes he will do a better job than any other candidate? I think not.
I think what’s really going on is the Mets are going all in on Epstein. I think the Mets are the perfect team for Theo to come to. He loves control and running the process his way. New Mets owner, Steve Cohen, has said he is going to let the baseball people make the baseball decisions and not interfere. The Mets would allow Theo to do everything he wanted and to run a team with essentially unlimited salary. I think the Mets would have hired Mike Chernoff IF and only IF he agreed to work under Theo after this season. It is extremely strange that all of the sudden he pulled his hat out of the ring. I think he did this because he wanted his own team and did not want to work with Theo. I believe what is going to happen now is that Sandy will run the team year 1, setting it up perfectly for Theo to take over in 2022. Theo may even be contacted before the Mets make some moves for all we know. I think everything that the Mets are doing is calculated and I truly find it hard to believe that if Theo wasn’t available, the Mets wouldn’t be hiring a GM and POBO today.
Perhaps I’m wrong and Sandy really wants to run the team. If this is the case, I am excited to see what he does and how his strategy changes based on his last tenure with the team.