NEW YORK – The New York Mets have abandoned their search for a president of baseball operations and will instead focus on hiring a general manager who will report to team president Sandy Alderson.
Meanwhile, Alderson told Luis Rojas on Monday that he would return for a second season as manager.
“A person who is able to relate to his players both in terms of professional work and personal life,” said Alderson, a St. Petersburg resident. “I think he’s exceptional in this regard. I think on the professional side of managing a game, I think it will be better. We need to make sure he has all the resources to be better and to make good decisions based not only on his own judgment, but also on the information available. He is very open to that.
Alderson returned to the team on November 6 when Steven Cohen finalized his $ 2.42 billion purchase from the Wilpon and Katz families and fired general manager Brodie Van Wagenen that day.
Alderson then said he wanted to hire a president of baseball operations, but said Monday he had been thwarted in his attempts to get permission to speak with officials from other teams for sideways travel, and that Another possible candidate had a family problem that prevented a move.
He did not contact Theo Epstein, who resigned as president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs on Friday after leading the Cubs to the 2016 World Series, their first in 108 years.
“Theo indicated that he wanted to take a year off,” Alderson said.
Alderson, who turned 72 on Sunday, said on Monday he would play a bigger role in baseball operations than originally planned. Alderson initially said he planned to sit at the table but not at the head.
“Maybe it’ll be a round table and I’ll be the only one with a chair with arms,” he joked.
“Hopefully we can hire someone who will be able to take on most of the traditional role of CEO,” Alderson said. “I would expect to be a little more involved in decision making and mentoring. But I don’t expect to fall into the weeds either.
Alderson said he has interviewed six GM candidates and will decide whether second and third interviews are necessary before presenting one or two candidates to Cohen. He hopes the new general manager can become a president of baseball operations.
John Ricco, who rose from assistant general manager to senior vice president when Van Wagenen was hired, will be Alderson’s “right hand man” interface for Alderson with the baseball and business departments. He is not a GM candidate.
Alderson was General Manager of the Mets from October 2010 until his departure in July 2018 following a recurrence of cancer that is no longer a problem.
He said the team had a lot of work to do after a fourth place finish at 26-34.
“I don’t think we are an away player,” he said. “I think we need more than that. Do we have a good base? Yes, I think we have a great base. But I think our needs are multiple at this stage.
By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer