Sandy Alderson Returning To Mets Should Give Cohen Stability
If Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets is approved by MLB as expected, former club GM Sandy Alderson "will return as team president, overseeing all baseball and business operations," in effect replacing Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, who has served in that role since '02 and is "heavily involved in day-to-day activity," according to Tim Healey of NEWSDAY. The 72-year-old Alderson "will report directly to Cohen," whose title will be Chair & CEO. Although Cohen has "not signaled his intentions" regarding Exec VP & GM Brodie Van Wagenen, Alderson's appointment means "either he will leave the job -- on his own accord or someone else's -- or his predecessor will be his new boss." Van Wagenen's contract runs through the '22 season. Healey writes this "major hire helps smoothen the Mets’ transition to Cohen ownership, given Alderson’s immense institutional knowledge and familiarity, and further bolsters Cohen’s case with MLB" (NEWSDAY, 9/25).
PROVEN PEDIGREE: In N.Y., David Waldstein writes Alderson’s "fingerprints are all over the current Mets roster," as he was GM from '10-18. Cohen, who has "owned a small piece of the Mets" since '12, "got to know Alderson in that capacity." Waldstein: "Many of the most promising core players on the team’s roster serve as validation of [Alderson's] baseball judgment" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/25). Also in N.Y., Mike Puma writes whether Van Wagenen returns "might depend on whether Alderson views his role in nature as bumper lanes for the front office or as the primary decision maker." Van Wagenen "could conceivably return, but in a diminished role in which all big decisions have to run through Alderson." That said, it "might just be easier for Alderson to hire somebody with whom he is already comfortable or believes he can mold" (N.Y. POST, 9/25).
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: On Long Island, David Lennon writes once Cohen is approved by MLB owners, "we should get to see what Alderson can do with a potential wealth of resources he never had during the Wilpons’ stewardship -- or his previous stops in Oakland and San Diego." Alderson already "built one pennant-winner for the Mets, virtually from the ground up." But his 7 1/2-year tenure in Flushing "didn’t follow a smooth, linear trajectory to that 2015 World Series loss to the Royals, and a major reason for that was operating amid the intrusive day-to-day involvement of the Wilpons." Now, with Cohen’s "cash and Alderson’s lifetime of baseball knowledge, the ceiling just got a lot higher for the Mets, nearly overnight" (NEWSDAY, 9/25).
PERFECT MARRIAGE: In N.Y, Joel Sherman writes in hiring Alderson, Steve Cohen's "angle is transparent." Cohen is a "flawed candidate." There are owners "against him at a time when he will need 23 votes to be approved." For Cohen, Alderson is "part cleansing agent, part political whip bringing votes into line" (N.Y. POST, 9/25).
MANFRED OPTIMISTIC: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said “it’s a credit to the strength of our business and the popularity of the game" that Cohen is paying upwards of $2.4B for the Mets. Cohen has been a minority owner of the Mets, but Manfred noted becoming a majority owner takes a “different process,” as the “control person process is a much more rigorous process” (“Mad Dog Unleashed,” SiriusXM, 9/24).