The New York Mets wanted to make a big splash with their president of baseball operations hire. So far, the search has been yet another belly flop.
All three of the Mets' reported top three targets — former Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein, Oakland Athletics executive vice president Billy Beane and Milwaukee Brewers president David Stearns — are no longer under consideration for the organization's top baseball job, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.
Epstein, currently working for MLB as a league consultant, and Beane both reportedly withdrew from consideration, while the Brewers denied the Mets permission to interview Stearns, who is under contract with Milwaukee.
All three would have been big news if the Mets convinced them to come to Queens. Epstein will go down in history as the man who helped break the curses of the Cubs and Boston Red Sox. Beane might be the most well-known executive in baseball thanks to "Moneyball" and has kept the Athletics competitive on much smaller budgets than the Mets would give him. Stearns has overseen four straight playoff berths for the small-market Brewers.
The executive search is being led by team owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson, who is currently working as the head of baseball operations but would take over the business side of the team after the hire.
Where do the Mets go from here?
Now, the Mets will have to look elsewhere to fill a position made vacant by the exit of general manager Jared Porter, who was fired following allegations of sexual harassment of a female reporter, and the sidelining of interim general manager Zack Scott, on administrative leave after a DUI charge.
It's safe to say Cohen's first year owning the Mets hasn't gone according to plan, with the Mets also making ignominious history as the first team to spend 103 or more games in first place and finish below .500.
There are still plenty of names out there who could run an MLB franchise, but none of them would bring the immediate prestige of Epstein or Beane. DiComo mentioned San Francisco Giants GM Scott Harris or Cleveland Indians GM Mike Chernoff because the team could actually get them in the interview room (teams generally allow executives to interview for promotions, like general manager to president of baseball ops).
The Mets might already be hurting themselves by taking so much time to find a replacement. The offseason starts in as little as 13 days, and the Mets are going to want a president of baseball operations in place and ready to negotiate by then.