Mets owner Steve Cohen has wanted to hire a president of baseball operations since he took over the team in November 2020. After multiple swings and misses over the years, now is the time to try and reel in his white whale: former Brewers general manager and New York City native, David Stearns.
When will that pursuit officially begin, though? According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it’s already underway. Stearns is still under contract with Milwaukee in an advisory role through the 2023 season. However, his contract stipulates that he could begin talking to other clubs about available positions after the August 1st trade deadline.
As you can imagine, Cohen and the Mets have begun those conversations. Here’s a bit from Rosenthal:
Multiple major-league sources believe Stearns is “down the road” in his discussions with the Mets, whose owner, Steve Cohen, reiterated in June his desire to hire a president of baseball operations. But Stearns, one source said, also has spoken with other teams, notably the Houston Astros, who employed him as assistant GM from Nov. 2012 to Sept. 2015.
Stearns, 38, still works for the Milwaukee Brewers in an advisory role. The Brewers previously denied the Mets permission to interview him, but no longer do they hold that power. If the Mets hired Stearns as their top baseball executive, their plan would be for Billy Eppler to serve under him, continuing as general manager.
As Cohen said during his June press conference amid the Mets’ horrific struggles, he still wants to hire someone for that position. He’s also been very patient because he knows the importance of this person. Making the wrong decision can steer his beloved organization down a path that would take years to recover from.
Milwaukee had denied New York permission to speak with Stearns in the past, but now that obstacle is gone. So what’s the problem? There have been other teams linked to Stearns (most notably the Red Sox), but this is the first time I’ve seen the Astros pop up.
They just brought Dana Brown on to be Houston’s general manager. Rosenthal notes he specifically took the job because there was no president of baseball operations in place. Would Astros owner Jim Crane really toss Brown to the side to bring in Stearns?
Well, he fired general manager James Click after they won a World Series last November, so yeah — I’d think that’s within the range of possibilities.
That is indeed a potential roadblock for the Mets. But it gets a little more complicated. While a lot has been made of Stearns coming home to be in charge of the team he used to root for, he has other people to think about. You know, like his wife — who, as Rosenthal notes, happens to be a Houston native.
Stearns to the Mets is still a legitimate possibility, but it certainly doesn’t seem like a formality at this point. However, we know Cohen typically gets what he wants. He’s been waiting for years to pursue David Stearns, and he’ll make the most of this opportunity.