The Mets officially announced yesterday that the final two candidates for the GM position will be Sandy Alderson and Josh Byrnes. “We are bringing back Josh Byrnes and Sandy Alderson for a second round of interviews with Fred, Saul and me. Josh is scheduled for Monday and Sandy for Tuesday as we continue our search for the next General Manager of the Mets,” Jeff Wilpon said in a press release.
Jeff Wilpon and Assistant GM John Ricco, informed Allan Baird, Rick Hahn, Logan White, and Dana Brown yesterday, that they were no longer being considered for the position.
Alderson, 62, has been the favorite for the postion for some time now. Alderson currently works for MLB in leading efforts to reform baseball operations in the Dominican Republic. Alderson, a former Marine, is regarded as a no-nonsense individual. According to Adam Rubin on ESPNNY.com, Alderson believes strongly in a top-down approach, where managers execute the philosophies of the GM. Cardinals manager Tony Larussa, fully endorses Alderson. “Sandy has been around long enough and been in enough situations that he’s able to adapt to any environment. Even though he’s the guy in charge, he’s always been answerable to someone, and it would be no different in New York,” said Larussa according to Dan Martin of the NYPost. Larussa served as the A’s manager for 10 years under Alderson’s GM tenure in Oakland. Alderson is highly respected and is known for his intelligence amongst other qualities.
Mets CEO Fred Wilpon, who is in his 70s, has a great relationship with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, and Alderson seems the likely choice for the elder Wilpon.
Byrnes, 40, who served as Diamondbacks GM from 2005-10, has flown under the radar in the Mets GM search. Byrnes is highly respected in the industry and is known for his integrity and intelligence. “According to eyewitnesses at the Peoria Sports Complex, Byrnes took advantage of living in Phoenix to attend an Arizona Fall League game yesterday that included Mets prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox playing against the Peoria Saguaros,” says Joel Sherman of the NYPost. Byrnes, who was fired on July 1 of this season despite having more than five years remaining on an eight-year contract, is said to be itching to get back into baseball. While attending a random Arizona Fall League game will not win him the job, this does show his desire to return to the game.
Is Josh Byrnes Jeff Wilpon’s guy? The younger Wilpon was reportedly very close to Omar Minaya and relationship made it extremely difficult to separate the business side from the friendship side. Byrnes and Jeff Wilpon are nearly the same age.
And that brings us to Saul Katz. Katz, the Mets Team President, will join the Wilpon father-son combination in deciding between Alderson and Byrnes. A source told me, “Fred will not make the decision on his own. If Jeff and Katz vote no on Alderson, he won’t get the gig.”
So here is my thinking. If Fred prefers Alderson, and Jeff prefers Byrnes, then Katz will have the deciding vote. Now mind you I do not know Katz or who he prefers, but it seems to me that he holds the future of the New York Mets in the palm of his hand. With all the focus on the Wilpons, its Katz who we should be paying close attention to.