NEW YORK -- Jared Porter once referred to his time with Theo Epstein as a "master class in baseball operations." During more than a decade serving under Epstein and others, Porter not only learned, but won, becoming a four-time World Series champion.
He is now taking the lessons from those experiences with him to New York. The Mets on Sunday officially announced their hiring of Porter as the 14th general manager in club history, giving him the responsibility to lead the club into what it hopes will be perennial contention.
“Jared has proven himself at every level and in every position he has held, earning respect from his peers throughout baseball,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “He is deeply knowledgeable in all aspects of the game and has worked with several accomplished baseball executives. Jared is prepared for this next challenge.”
The most prominent of those executives was Epstein, who was the GM in Boston when Porter came aboard as an intern in 2004. From those beginnings, Porter worked his way up the baseball operations ladder, becoming a top scouting executive for the Red Sox and Cubs and, eventually, the assistant GM of the D-backs.
Now, he is tasked with overseeing baseball operations for a Mets team that has undergone a generational overhaul since Steve Cohen purchased the club on Nov. 8. The Mets plan to introduce Porter on Monday in a Zoom press conference.
“I’d like to thank Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson for this incredible opportunity,” Porter said in a statement. “I’m extremely grateful for the trust they've shown in me. I’m excited to join the community, get to work, and help build a collaborative and sustainable baseball operation and culture for the New York Mets.”
Porter spent the past four seasons as Arizona’s assistant GM, following stints as a director of professional scouting with the Red Sox and Cubs. In Boston and Chicago, Porter helped to end World Series droughts, winning titles in 2004, ’07, ’13 and ’16. Three of the four came alongside Epstein.
Along the way, Porter developed a reputation as a shrewd talent evaluator and well-liked executive. As news of the Mets’ decision to hire Porter broke on Saturday evening, praise came raining in from throughout baseball. One executive who has worked with Porter defined him as a “great, great human.” Another former Porter colleague called him an outside-the-box thinker.
“Mets got it right,” former D-backs pitcher Dan Haren tweeted. “He’s the man.”
Porter beat out a group of finalists that included A’s assistant GM Billy Owens, Red Sox assistant GM Zack Scott and former Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill. The Mets entered the offseason intending to hire both a president of baseball operations and a GM, but they pivoted due to a lack of acceptable candidates for the former role. Instead, Alderson elected to search only for a GM, seeking a young candidate who could feasibly grow into a president of baseball operations job.
At age 40, Porter appears to be just that type of person. A Minnesota native who went to high school in Massachusetts, Porter attended Bowdoin College in Maine en route to internships with the Cape Cod League and the Red Sox. Once in Boston, Porter worked his way up the baseball operations ladder, topping out as director of professional scouting before taking that same job under Epstein with the Cubs. Porter quickly jumped from there to the D-backs, where he became an assistant GM for the first time under Arizona general manager Mike Hazen.
“It’s really important who you learn from when you’re a young executive,” Porter said last year on MLB.com’s “Executive Access” podcast. “It’s like going to graduate school for baseball operations.”
When Epstein left Chicago this winter, Porter became a prime candidate to return to the North Side as GM. But the Mets were able to offer growth possibilities in a way that the Cubs, with young president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer running the show, could not. For now, Alderson will retain veto power on all baseball operations decisions within the Mets' organization. He is 73 years old, however, and has spoken of his desire to be a “mentor” for the Mets’ next GM.
“I would expect that I will be a little more involved in decision-making and mentoring,” Alderson said last month. “But I don’t expect to get down in the weeds, either.”
The charge of both men is to improve a Mets team that, despite a strong core of position players, has not reached the postseason since 2016. Cohen's deep pockets should help. Cohen, who spent time Saturday chatting with fans at Citi Field during a season ticketholder promotion, was involved in the final portion of the GM interview process, according to sources, speaking personally to Porter and Scott.
Since Cohen has taken over as owner, the Mets have been significantly more active than in past offseasons. Shortly after the transfer of power, Cohen hired Alderson to be team president. The two then mapped out a plan to fill out the Mets’ baseball operations structure, which they accomplished with the decision to hire Porter.
In doing so, the Mets fulfilled a dream. Speaking on the “Executive Access” podcast last year, Porter called a GM job “the pinnacle of our profession,” saying he “would love that opportunity someday” while acknowledging the difficulty of landing such a gig.
“You have to dominate the job that you’re in,” Porter said. “If you do that, if you focus on that and dominate that, you’re going to get other opportunities. So that’s kind of what I live by, is just dominate the job that I’m in.”