Sandy Alderson has been seen as the front-runner for the Mets open GM job for weeks, and now Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman reports that the team has indeed decided to hire him, and that the official announcement could come this Friday. (Josh Byrnes, the other candidate for the job, reportedly impressed the club during his interview, but it wasn’t enough to beat out Alderson.) The word you’ll hear a lot in the coming days is “credibility,” and how suddenly the Mets have it. Alderson had the deepest résumé of any of the candidates — he built the A’s teams of the late eighties and early nineties — and he also had Bud Selig’s stamp of approval, for what that’s worth. And if there’s one thing the Mets need right now, in the wake of the last couple of years under Omar Minaya, it’s credibility.
Of course, Alderson hasn’t run the day-to-day operations of a baseball club as a GM since 1997. Since then, he’s served as Major League Baseball’s executive vice-president of baseball operations, as CEO of the Padres, and as a consultant working to reform the league’s Dominican Republic office. Still, his Oakland protégé Billy Beane has said that Alderson wanted to run a club again, and now he’ll have his chance.
His first order of business: to hire the next Mets manager. And Heyman reports that “it will be a major upset” if Alderson picks Wally Backman, who managed the Cyclones last year and who has the support of some “incumbent Mets people,” to use Heyman’s phrase. Instead, the Post reports that Alderson wants to hire a manager with major-league experience who’s also good with the media — something that’s obviously easier said than done. Still, a GM who not only brings the team credibility but is apparently willing to stick to his guns even if those “incumbent Mets people” would prefer the team to go in a different direction? That’s a good start, at least, for the next era of Mets baseball.