Notes on Billy Beane, David Stearns, Josh Byrnes, Brian Cashman, and more in Mets’ executive search

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Billy Beane on field at Yankee Stadium before night game
Billy Beane on field at Yankee Stadium before night game

There is no shortage of gossip and speculation inside the industry about the state of the Mets’ search for a new head of baseball operations. Here, to the best of our ability to gather it, is the latest and most accurate information.

The following notes are the result of many days and many conversations with league sources.

-The Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers are done playing. Time to talk to Billy Beane and David Stearns, right?

Well, yes, but this probably won’t happen in a public or even necessarily linear fashion. Think of quiet back channels followed by a quick strike. Neither Beane nor Stearns wants to be seen as seeking another job -- or perhaps more to the point, seeking one and not getting it.

While I and my competitors will attempt to subvert the Mets’ desire for privacy to satisfy your desire for information, you shouldn’t be surprised if this search goes underground. I’m already told they’re looking to take it that way as soon as possible.

This is a delicate situation. If Beane and Steve Cohen don’t hit it off, for example, both parties will be motivated to avoid publicizing that.

-- On the subject of Beane, there is wildly divergent gossip regarding his willingness to come to New York.

Oakland Athletics vice president of operations Billy Beane talks on the field before the 2019 American League Wild Card playoff baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum.
Oakland Athletics vice president of operations Billy Beane talks on the field before the 2019 American League Wild Card playoff baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum.

We hear from people close to Beane that he is ready to move on from the spendthrift A’s. Others in touch with Beane express doubt that he would move from California.

Cutting through all that contradictory noise, Beane definitely remains of significant interest to the Mets. And while he can’t yet speak (or text) with his mentor Alderson about the job because of tampering rules, he certainly hasn’t shot down the possibility.

-- Why haven’t the Mets obtained permission to speak to Beane yet? After all, the A’s season ended nearly two weeks ago. The answer to that one is simple: Beane can’t be left hanging by interviewing for a job and then waiting to see if Stearns or anyone else will enter the mix.

-- And what about Stearns? The belief around the league is that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio will do what it takes to keep him (neither Attanasio nor a Brewers spokesperson has responded to messages attempting to fact check this assumption).

With one year remaining on his contract, Stearns could ride that out and run the Mets in 12 months, if both parties are so inclined. As of now, a very well-placed source calls a Stearns/Mets marriage “highly unlikely.” But they don’t yet know for sure.

Brewers executive David Stearns
Brewers executive David Stearns

-- Two Dodgers executives are on the Mets’ radar, senior VP Josh Byrnes and assistant GM Brandon Gomes.

Byrnes’ level of interest in the job is not yet clear, but if the Mets asked for permission to speak with him, they will almost certainly receive it, sources say.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has a history of allowing his staff to seek other opportunities, as evidenced by his current NLDS opponent. Giants POBO Farhan Zaidi was once Friedman’s GM.

The situation with the 37-year-old Gomes feels a bit different. Although he would likely be allowed to interview if he wanted to do so, there is expectation in the industry that another offer would inspire Friedman to promote Gomes to general manager of the Dodgers. According to sources, Los Angeles has not made that decision yet.

Los Angeles Dodgers assistant general manager Brandon Gomes reacts before the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles Dodgers assistant general manager Brandon Gomes reacts before the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

-- The Mets are asking around and doing diligence on other candidates, too. But there is clearly the most heat around Beane at the moment.

-- The question of Cohen’s involvement arises frequently among potential candidates. The reality is that Cohen will be more present than some owners. He will probably continue to tweet.

He won’t be calling the entire baseball department on a regular basis but he will be a more frequent presence than, say, Mark Walter of the Dodgers or Hal Steinbrenner of the Yankees. He wants to hire good baseball people, delegate, but experience the team and season with those people.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, Mr. or Ms. Potential POBO, then this job is probably for someone else. That’s not inherently good or bad, it’s simply part of what defines the current Mets.

-- Hey, you know what would be a fun story? If Brian Cashman jumped across town. He has one year left on his Yankees deal. We can tell you one thing, he wouldn’t have to worry about the luxury tax under Cohen.