NEW YORK -- Given a lengthy runway to consider their options as they waited for the sale of the Mets to close, new owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson acted swiftly on Friday in parting ways with five members of the old front office -- most prominently, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
It remains to be seen if they will act as quickly in naming Van Wagenen’s successor. It’s also unclear whether the club will hire a president of baseball operations or a traditional general manager, but one way or another, that person will seemingly have control of the baseball operations department.
Here are 15 names to consider as the Mets delve into their second GM search in three years:
The longest-tenured member of the Mets’ front office, Ricco served as an assistant GM under both Omar Minaya and Alderson. When Van Wagenen came aboard, Ricco moved to the business side of the organization, serving as a senior vice president and special advisor to chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.
Now that Alderson is back, Ricco could shift back to baseball operations. He is qualified for any role, given his experiences both as assistant GM and as interim GM when Alderson took a leave of absence to focus on his health. Ricco has strong ties to Alderson and was influential throughout periods of success for the Mets in 2006 and ’15. For now, it is unclear if Ricco would welcome a return to the baseball side of things; neither he nor Alderson responded to messages seeking comment. But he is as qualified as anyone should mutual interest exist.
A decorated scout who played a significant role in the Astros’ rebuild last decade -- he oversaw the drafting of Carlos Correa and George Springer -- Heck has worked as a special assistant for the Rays since 2015. The New York Post recently reported that Cohen recommended Heck to Wilpon for the Mets’ GM job back in 2018, but Wilpon hired Van Wagenen instead. As in recent years with the hirings of Chaim Bloom in Boston and James Click in Houston, Rays executives tend to be hot commodities in any GM search; Heck figures to be no exception.
J.P. Ricciardi, Paul DePodesta
When Alderson took the Mets’ GM job in 2010, his first two moves were to hire Ricciardi and DePodesta as top lieutenants. The three had been close for decades, dating to their shared work with the “Moneyball”-era A’s. During his introductory conference call at that time, DePodesta referred to his Mets’ opportunity as “‘Moneyball’ with money.”
DePodesta left the Mets in 2016 to become a head executive with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and it is unclear if he would have interest in returning to baseball. Ricciardi departed when Van Wagenen was hired and has since worked as an adviser in the Giants’ front office. He has been linked to the Angels’ GM job this offseason.
Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff
The top baseball-operations officials with the Indians, both Antonetti and Chernoff are among the most widely respected executives in the industry. As the president of baseball operations in Cleveland, Antonetti has the final call on all things with the Indians, and given that he’s been with the Tribe since 1999, there’s no indication that he’s looking to leave town. Still, the opportunity to take over a club with an owner willing to spend money rather than sticking with a team that appears to be preparing to trade franchise player Francisco Lindor could be attractive for Antonetti.
Chernoff has also been a lifer in Cleveland, spending more than a decade with the club. He has shied away from other opportunities in the past (including interviewing with the Mets in 2018), but the chance to run his own team just 40 miles from his New Jersey hometown might be an appealing situation.
It would be surprising if Cohen didn’t swing for the fences with this hire, and there’s no bigger swing to take than Epstein. Having already achieved baseball immortality by building champions in Boston and Chicago, coming to New York to make the Mets the city’s marquee team would be the cherry on top. And if there’s an owner with enough money to make Epstein think about it, it’s Cohen.
A New York City native, Stearns was mentioned when the Mets were searching for a GM in 2018, but he remained in Milwaukee, where he was promoted to president of baseball operations. Prying him away from the Brewers would be a long shot, but Stearns grew up a Mets fan and interned for the club more than a decade ago. This one would require a swing similar to the one it would take to land Epstein.
Owens has been part of the A’s organization for more than two decades, a super-scout who has worked his way up to become Oakland’s assistant GM and director of player personnel. He has a strong relationship with Alderson from their time together with the A’s, and his encyclopedic knowledge and legendary scouting reports have enhanced his reputation as a strong talent evaluator.
Arnold has been on nearly every list of future GMs for the past few years, interviewing with the Pirates last year and then Angels this offseason. He began to build a reputation working for the Rays before making the move to Milwaukee to be Stearns’ assistant GM. It’s only a matter of time before Arnold is running his own team.
An assistant GM with the D-backs, Sawdaye is considered one of the rising stars in the front-office world. He spent 15 seasons with the Red Sox, starting out with Epstein before heading to Arizona with GM Mike Hazen. Sawdaye ran Boston’s Draft when the club selected Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., among many others.
Another of Hazen’s assistant GMs in Arizona and an Epstein disciple, Porter is widely respected around the game and is considered to be a surefire future GM. He’s already been attached to the Angels job this offseason and seems headed for a top job in the near future.
One of Dayton Moore’s most trusted lieutenants in Kansas City, Sharp is a well-respected executive with a background in scouting and player development. His name has been thrown around for other GM openings -- he’s a candidate for the Angels job -- thanks to his role in helping build the Royals’ 2015 championship club
Part of the quartet of executives who ran the Red Sox prior to the hiring of Bloom, Scott has been with Boston since 2004 and was essential in the building of the club’s analytics department. An assistant GM with the Red Sox for the past three years, Scott oversaw the pro scouting department in 2020 and has experience dealing with all aspects of the front office.
A staple in Colorado’s front office since joining the club in 2006, Rosenthal has worked his way up to assistant GM, a role he’s held since Jeff Bridich took over as GM. The Rockies made the postseason in 2017-18, thrusting Rosenthal’s name into conversations as a future GM thanks to his experience in all facets of the front office.