Four more swings, four more misses for the Mets, whose quest for a president of baseball operations is taking on an Odyssey-like vibe.
Brewers general manager Matt Arnold, Dodgers assistant GM Brandon Gomes, Cardinals GM Mike Girsch and Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro are all out of the picture after the Mets expressed interest in each, according to multiple industry sources.
Though the outreach to Shapiro, 54, who holds the same job title that Sandy Alderson does for the Mets, exemplifies that the club is not fully focused on “up and comers,” most of the second wave of candidates — after the organization whiffed on its top three of Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and David Stearns — fall into that category. That appears to reflect the Mets’ general thinking as they attempt to fill this vital position.
An industry source said the Blue Jays denied permission for the Mets to speak to Shapiro, though it was extremely unlikely anyway that the longtime executive would bolt Toronto, and teams often issue a formal denial of permission even if it knows the employee won’t leave. Shapiro just signed a five-year extension this year, has built the Jays into a serious contender in the ultracompetitive American League East and also wants to either renovate middle-aged Rogers Centre or build a new ballpark in downtown Toronto.
Gomes, 37, who pitched in the major leagues for five years (2011-15 with the Rays) turned down an opportunity to interview with the Mets, a source familiar with the situation said. He is expected to stay with the Dodgers.
Arnold, 42, received an extension to stay with the Brewers, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who then turned around and officially denied permission to the Mets. The Mets saw Arnold as a particularly appealing prospect because of the work he has done with the Brewers and Stearns, whom Milwaukee blocked from talking to the Mets.
A source said the Cardinals denied permission to the Mets to speak with Girsch after he informed St. Louis owner Bill DeWitt Jr. that he wasn’t interested in the position. Girsch became St. Louis’ GM in 2017 after a long run as assistant GM and has worked as the deputy to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak in building a perennial contender.
Mets owner Steve Cohen continues to run the search with the counsel of Alderson, and among the other people he is keeping in the loop is former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a longtime friend of Cohen’s who joined the Mets’ board of governors this season. The endeavor has taken on greater urgency, with more public scrutiny and fan anxiety, because Cohen’s and Alderson’s first such pursuit a year ago led to the hirings of Jared Porter, who didn’t even make it to spring training before getting dismissed for past inappropriate conduct, and Zack Scott, who is currently on administrative leave after getting arrested Aug. 31 for driving while intoxicated.
When the Mets hired Porter and Scott, they also interviewed A’s assistant GM Billy Owens, who worked with Alderson in Oakland. It’s not clear whether Owens is back on the team’s radar.
More experienced possibilities include longtime Giants executive Brian Sabean, who constructed the group that won World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014, and current MLB Network analyst Dan O’Dowd, who built the Rockies team that captured the 2007 National League pennant and also qualified for the 2009 postseason.
— Ken Davidoff and Joel Sherman in Houston, and Mike Puma in New York