Mets great John Franco puzzled by team's current front office situation

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Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen treated art with faded background
Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen treated art with faded background

It bugs John Franco, too. Why has it been so difficult for the Mets to find someone to add to their front office this winter, whether it be a general manager or a president of baseball operations?

“I don’t know,” said Franco, the Mets’ all-time leader in saves (276) and appearances (695). “I’m scratching my head every day, when I read about people turning it down.”

To Franco, the Mets would be an ideal situation for any prospective executive, though he acknowledges that some candidates have passed on potential jobs in Queens because they are comfortable in their current gigs or have family reasons for staying put.

“There’s no place like New York,” said Franco, who Thursday night attended the fundraising gala for Joe Torre’s Safe At Home Foundation in midtown Manhattan. “I was born and raised here, played here 15 years, was team captain. I’ve worked with the organization a little bit. There’s a new owner looking to spend.

“I speak to a lot of former players and teammates and we’re speechless on what’s going on and why it’s taking so long to get a president of baseball operations or a GM or even a manager. It shouldn’t be like that for a big-market team.”

Franco hopes that the executive search does not impact the crucial winter business of beefing up the roster. Players, he noted, want to know the braintrust in place, particularly the manager.

“It’s tough to say what they need to do,” the former reliever said. “First they’ve got to fill in all those boxes before they can go out there and sign players. I know Sandy (Alderson) and his staff are in California right now (at the GM Meetings), trying to do what they need to do.

“But you still have to have a face, a GM, and a manager. If you had a manager, maybe he could help out and recruit some players. That’s the difficult part right now.”

Asked specifically about potential Mets’ needs this winter, Franco ran down a list:

“Obviously, third base,” he said. “Second is a question mark. Do they sign Javy Báez? (Michael) Conforto turned down the qualifying offer, so maybe a right fielder, too. More starting pitching. Center field. We haven’t had a center fielder for a couple of years.

“There’s some holes to fill and they’re going to be hard to fill when you don’t have that upper management to go out there and do the recruiting.”