Some rumors have been trickling out, like the one that said Cleveland's Mike Chernoff was the frontrunner in the search for a PBO. This prompted a "Not that I'm aware of, wrong again" tweet from Steve Cohen, and the word is that Chernoff really isn't a candidate at all, which probably indicates he has no desire to leave Cleveland. I can't help but wonder if the reason that there haven't been any interviews beyond Hill yet is that none of their top choices are interested and/or available.
An article in The Athletic by Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark that I discussed in Tuesday's post made the point of how much more difficult it is to hire well-regarded PBOs and GMs away from other teams these days. Teams are much less willing to let these guys go these days, and many of them aren't interested in leaving where they are comfortable and successful. It does seem, at least from what I've been able to read, that the Mets have had no success in even getting meetings with the top names on their list.
Then there's the departure of Theo Epstein from Chicago. He doesn't seem interested in any new job currently, and it's always struck me as quite unlikely that he would take on the Mets position. He's already broken "curses" for both the Red Sox and Cubs. While the Mets are considered an attractive organization now since the Wilpons have been replaced by Steve Cohen, this looks to me as almost a no-win situation for Epstein:
- He'd have to work under Sandy Alderson. While I don't think that would be as onerous as working under someone who wasn't a baseball legend and a noted good collaborator, Epstein will have options available in the relatively near future of only answering to an owner, perhaps even with an ownership stake in a team.
- He's already won twice with two teams that had waited 86 years and 108 years for a title. If he did it again with the Mets it certainly wouldn't compare as an accomplishment. If he didn't win, however, that would be a stain on his legacy.
- Even if Steve Cohen opens the bank vaults for Epstein, how much money would it take to change his mind? He's made a lot of money from Boston and Chicago, and I don't think even quite a lot of money would be the deciding factor.
- My strong suspicion is that Epstein has a been there/done that feeling about taking another job leading another ballclub. Putting myself in his place, I'm pretty sure that I'd be looking for a new challenge, at least in the near future. He might eventually come back to running a baseball operation, but I'd be pretty surprised if it happened anytime soon.
Of course, there's no guarantee that there will be anyone in place on December 2, either, but at some point soon I would expect to see some movement in this direction. It doesn't seem very logical to me that this search would drag on very long into December, even if Sandy Alderson is inclined to take his time deciding on the next tier of candidates down on their wish list. If this coming week's Thanksgiving holiday precludes much movement this week, the following week turns the calendar over to December and brings on that non-tender deadline.
At some point soon, probably not too far into December, some of these free agent dominos are going to begin to fall. The longer the Mets go without doing any other interviews, the more likely it is that Alderson and the team already in place won't be waiting for a PBO or GM to step in and take the reigns. We've already heard that they're already engaged in discussions with representatives of some of the free agents. I'd be really surprised if bigger signings than McWilliams weren't happening for the Mets in the first half of December, whether an executive has been hired or not. Hey, I've waited more than a decade for an interesting winter, I guess I can hang on a little longer.
I know this is beginning to be a recurring message lately, but please be a bit patient if the posting gets a bit sporadic again here. Lisa had to go back to the hospital for the third time yesterday. It's been discouraging to watch her go through some struggles over the last few weeks, but we're still keeping good thoughts that we'll get to the other side of this thing. Writing about the Mets has been a helpful distraction for me through all of this, but some days I just don't have any energy left over to write anything worthwhile.
Please stay safe, be well and take care.
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