Mets drop search for new president of baseball operations

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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. In the meantime, Alderson told Luis Rojas on Monday that he would return for a second season as a coach.

“A person who is able to relate to his players both in terms of professional work and personal life,” said Alderson. “I think he’s exceptional in this regard. I think on the professional side of running a game I think it will be better. We need to make sure he has all the resources to be better and 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 completed his $ 2.42 billion purchase from the Wilpon and Katz families and fired general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Alderson 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 lateral moves and that a another potential candidate had a family problem that had prevented a move.

He did not contact Theo Epstein, who stepped down 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 has indicated his desire 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.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to hire someone who will be able to handle most of the traditional CEO roles,” Alderson said. “I would expect to be a little more involved in decision making and mentoring. But I also don’t expect to fall into the weeds. ”

Alderson said he has interviewed six GM candidates and will decide whether a second and third interview is necessary before presenting one or two candidates to Cohen. He hopes the new general manager could 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” as Alderson’s interface 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’re a player on the sidelines,” 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. ”

On other subjects:

– Robinson Cano. The second baseman’s one-season suspension for performance-enhancing drugs relieves the Mets of $ 24 million in salary. Cohen tweeted that he would like to ‘spend it on the players’ but Alderson said’ there is an extra amount to spend in 2021 which is already set aside for 22 and 23 so it’s not as easy as ‘a simple add-on. On the other hand, it gives us some extra flexibility ‘financially and in list space. As to deciding whether to release Cano after the suspension, Alderson said “it’s something that will entertain further down the road.”

– Michael Conforto. The outfielder turns 28 in March and is eligible for free agency after next season. “At some point, I’m sure we’ll bring this up, take their temperature and see where it is, but as of yet, those conversations haven’t happened. ”

– Tim Tebow. Alderson said the 33-year-old league outfielder, a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, is wanted for 2021. “It’s not a never-ending quest. At some point it will peak, but I think it will be at some point. when Tim and the organization come to an agreement on where he is, what his potential is, but I didn’t want him out due to a COVID-related disruption. ”

– Designated hitter. Alderson is hoping he will be extended to the National League for 2021 after his first use in the MLB. “Now is the time for both leagues to play with the same resources, the same options,” he said. “The pitchers can’t even play anymore. So I’m in favor of putting a hitter in that extra slot. He said the Mets have internal options and will not seek to add a DH.

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