Steven Cohen, the presumptive new owner of the Mets, announced on Thursday that he intended to bring Sandy Alderson back as president of the team’s baseball and business operations.
Alderson’s fingerprints are all over the current Mets roster, as he was the general manager of the club from 2010 until 2018, helping them to the National League pennant in 2015. He stepped down in the summer of 2018 because of a recurrence of cancer, but a year later he announced that he was cancer free after joining the Oakland A’s as a senior adviser.
He would not take over his new post in Queens until after the sale to Cohen is finalized, a process that may take several weeks. Cohen reached an agreement last week to buy 95 percent of the club from the owners Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon for roughly $2.42 billion, pending the approval of 22 of the other 29 owners in Major League Baseball.
Cohen will be the club’s chairman and chief executive, and Alderson will report directly to him. Cohen has owned a small piece of the Mets since 2012 and got to know Alderson in that capacity.
“Sandy is an accomplished and respected baseball executive who shares my philosophy of building an organization and a team the right way,” Cohen said in a statement. “I am excited to have Sandy in a key leadership role with the Mets if my purchase of the team is approved.”
A native and resident of Long Island, Cohen is a longstanding Mets fan who concluded his statement with, “Let’s Go Mets!”
Alderson could dismiss Brodie Van Wagenen, the current general manager, and hire someone else to handle the day-to-day operations of the baseball side of the team. Van Wagenen has not had great success in his two years running the club; his tenure has been shadowed in part by the acquisition of a few of his former clients from his time as a player agent, including Jed Lowrie and Robinson Cano, who had an unproductive first year in Flushing but has rebounded well this year.
Alderson, 72, replaced Omar Minaya as G.M. after the 2010 season and began to reshape the club through a series of draft picks, trades and carefully selected free-agent signings. Many of the most promising core players on the team’s roster serve as validation of his baseball judgment, including draft picks like Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, David Peterson and Jeff McNeil.
He also traded for Noah Syndergaard, and the Mets signed Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez while Alderson was in charge. Alderson also hired Terry Collins to manage the Mets before the 2011 season.
“He’s the perfect choice,” Collins said from his home in Florida. “He knows the team, knows the organization and has a feel for the city. What he has done in baseball speaks for itself, and he is so well respected in the game. He’s the total package.”
With the help of several key players brought in by Minaya, Alderson and Collins helped build a dynamic team that reached the 2015 World Series (they lost to the Kansas City Royals in five games). But they were unable to sustain that success. The Mets lost in the Wild Card game in 2016 and have not made the playoffs since then. They will likely miss out again this season, sitting three and a half games out of a playoff spot entering Thursday.
Alderson still has a heavy stake in the collection of promising young players on the roster, and his reputation as a sensible, intelligent and mature executive with a decades-long résumé in baseball will only enhance Cohen’s bid to secure approval to buy the team.
Alderson also worked for the commissioner’s office before he was hired by the Mets in 2010, and Bud Selig, the commissioner at the time, encouraged the Mets to make him their chief baseball executive. There were indications from people within the organization that toward the end of Alderson’s run he and Jeff Wilpon, the chief executive officer, had butted heads over several decisions.
But soon the Wilpons, who will retain 5 percent of the team, will be gone from the front office, and Alderson will be back, running the operation at Citi Field, presumably as he sees fit.