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MLB’s executive talent pool depth could save Mets

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ATLANTA — You know what could bail out the Mets in their painful search for a baseball operations head?

The industry.

You know who the Mets must blame if they can’t find a suitable person from this industry?

Themselves.

The best thing the Mets have going for themselves right now is that the immense growth of front offices around the game — featuring groups that are greater in size, in diversity of skill-set and in diversity of background — has created a talent pool from which someone surely a) would be willing to lead the Mets, even at this juncture, and b) would succeed at the job.

All the Mets have to do now is find that person.

“It’s way, way different,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Saturday, before World Series Game 4 at Truist Park, of how front offices have evolved during his 41 years as a non-playing employee of the organization. “Not even on the same planet as it used to be.

“All good, though, too. It’s good information. There’s a lot of guys that are working very hard up there.”

So many people of all persuasions, with myriad areas of expertise, can put themselves on a leadership track at a young age. Three of the most successful executives of the past two decades — Jon Daniels, Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman — received their first shots at running baseball operations in their 20s and succeeded relatively quickly.

Mets owner Steve Cohen, who is still searching for a team president, has a wide talent pool to choose from, The Post's Ken Davidoff writes.
Mets owner Steve Cohen, who is still searching for a team president, has a wide talent pool to choose from, The Post’s Ken Davidoff writes.
AP

One critical difference, vis-à-vis the Mets? All three men spent time in their respective organizations (Daniels with the Rangers, Epstein with the Red Sox and Friedman with the then-Devil Rays) before getting promoted. They knew the existing culture, and folks in the workplace knew them. An external Mets hire wouldn’t carry that advantage, and an internal promotion of either Ian Levin or Tommy Tanous would carry a stench of resignation given the lengthy efforts the Mets have taken to not promote from within.

The Post’s Mike Puma reported on Friday that lower-ranking officials — such as Cardinals assistant general manager Randy Flores, Rays vice president of player development Carlos Rodriguez, Twins assistant GM Daniel Adler and Braves assistant GM Ben Sestanovich — are on the Mets’ radar, and the team’s regional sports network SNY has mentioned Red Sox assistant GM Raquel Ferreira and Brewers VP of baseball operations Matt Kleine as other possibilities.

They could keep going (and surely are), and I could keep naming names, to fill enough space to cover a few pages of The Post’s Sports section. Look at some of the folks who have interviewed for recent openings. Oakland’s Billy Owens, a Mets candidate a year ago, has played as vital a role as anyone in keeping the Athletics relevant on shoestring budgets for decades. Royals officials J.J. Picollo and Scott Sharp, who have worked under Dayton Moore to establish an elite organizational culture (and win a World Series over the Mets in 2015), all vied for the Angels’ opportunity last year that went to Perry Minasian. And on and on and on.

Can Steve Cohen determine the person who can be the best fit, with no past skeletons looming, then develop that person to reach full potential for both the hire and the club?

A year into his ownership, Cohen hasn’t given his team’s loyal, rabid fan base much reason for hope. The hope instead emanates from Major League Baseball’s growth and expansion into all sorts of dynamic areas of thought, significantly elevating the median IQ (even if some of those IQs unintentionally make the game less watchable).

The game’s richest owner shouldn’t need a bailout, yet here he is, in need of not finances but a savior. At least he picked the right industry to unearth one.

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