The strengthening of the Mets front office
When Mets owner Steve Cohen purchased the Mets, the thought process was that New York would evolve into a “Dodgers East,” a team that just won the World Series weeks prior. While the Dodgers are lauded for the recent decade of dominance, one of their biggest strengths is their ability to leverage their finances and success into numerous talented front office members, who do their time and wistfully leave for bigger opportunities.
The Mets bought back Sandy Alderson in a President of Baseball Operations spot, Jared Porter was hired as the general manager and Zack Scott was the assistant GM. Instead of building the front office, the Mets focused on remodeling their pitching development philosophy, but the Mets kept their front office moves largely small.
Porter was fired amid sexual misconduct (we’ll come back to this later), and Scott was moving into an “acting general manager” role.
The bigger mistake was not strengthening the office even more. In retrospect, the Mets probably should’ve looked for Kim Ng, currently the general manager of the Miami Marlins, over Porter. On top of that, the Mets should’ve been more proactive with hiring more baseball people. Before leaving, Billy Eppler, let go by the Los Angeles Angeles, was a prominent figure in the New York Yankees’ farm system. Michael Hill, now working for Major League Baseball, would’ve assisted in this effort.
And it’s also fair to point out that building a “Dodgers East” just isn’t realistic. With the ability to leverage the draft, the ability to be ahead of the curve in the international draft, the Dodgers are miles ahead and the philosophy and strategy are too broad for the Mets to follow. It would take a few years to get the proper people in place, let alone begin to see the proper benefits on the major league roster.
Instead, the Mets front office is wide open and the philosophy seems murky. Are the Mets a team that wants to continue the focus of starting pitching, specifically, players who have the upside of a top-of-the-rotation arm? Or does New York begin to focus on a more hitter-orientated approach, using assets and allocate resources towards finding premium hitting?
The best front offices are the ones who can do both, but it’s not always possible. The Chicago Cubs, when they won the World Series in 2016, built a strong stable of hitters and traded for their top pitchers. Same for the Astros, who have now begun to develop decent middle-of-the-rotation starters (Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, Framber Vasquez) in recent years.
Teams constantly shuffle their process, but you have a starting point. The Mets don’t really have one at the moment.
With Alderson now 73 years old and Scott still working with the “acting general manager” tag, the Mets look to enter next offseason with the daunting task of doing it all over again, looking for high-level people among baseball to take over and build the next great Mets team, which could mean going through another offseason taking calls and interviews on prominent front office members and changing the philosophy instead of stabilizing the roster and focusing on other matters.