NEW YORK -- One of the Mets’ dream-list candidates for their top baseball operations job is no longer a consideration.
Owner Steve Cohen spoke this week to Theo Epstein, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions, and the sides agreed that it was not the right opportunity for Epstein to pursue. The conversation was “cordial,” according to the same source.
Epstein was the chief architect of both the 2004 Red Sox and 2016 Cubs, two teams that snapped significant championship droughts under his watch. Some hope existed in New York that Epstein, who is currently serving as a consultant in Major League Baseball’s front office, could potentially do the same for a Mets team that has not won it all since 1986.
However, Epstein is now out of the picture.
Another prominent candidate, A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, said earlier this week that he “wouldn’t even know” about any Mets plans to reach out to him. Should team president Sandy Alderson choose to pursue him, Beane indicated, he would need to go through A’s owner John Fisher.
The Mets cannot approach a third candidate, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns, until Milwaukee's season is over. It remains to be seen if Brewers owner Mark Attanasio would even grant permission for the Mets to interview Stearns; he refused permission under similar circumstances last winter.
Alderson’s struggle to gain traction with several candidates at that time, including Stearns and Cleveland general manager Mike Chernoff, led to his abandonment of a plan to hire a president of baseball operations. Instead, the Mets hired a GM, Jared Porter, whom they subsequently dismissed amidst allegations of past sexual misconduct. The team then named Zack Scott acting GM. Scott remained in that role until September, when the Mets placed him on administrative leave following a DUI arrest.
This time around, Alderson has offered confidence that he will be able to attract more top-level executives from throughout the industry. But Epstein, a likely future Hall of Fame executive, will not be among that group.
“I’m optimistic that this will end up in the right place,” Alderson said late last month. “How exactly we get there, and with whom, is up for grabs.”