Mets/Matt Arnold saga was so weird and dumb; now sign Javier Baez!

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Mets' Steve Cohen treated image with Mets hat, looking to side
Mets' Steve Cohen treated image with Mets hat, looking to side

It was a heartbreaking morning in New York for all of the baseball fans who first heard of Matt Arnold the day before.

He wasn’t coming to the Mets? Whatever would the franchise do? Sadly, it was probably time to fold up the tent on New York’s National League team, which was conceived in the late 1950s, born in 1962 and lost all hope when it was unable to secure Arnold as an executive.

Look. This is not intended as a shot at Arnold, whose Milwaukee Brewers have become a model franchise.

But there is a sense of crisis around the Mets that has become so overblown that the loss of an executive who never even interviewed -- and who might or might not have been a fit -- played as a crisis among some in the public.

For the record, here are the facts about Arnold and the Mets. He was on a list of executives in whom the Mets were interested in speaking. They did homework on him and requested permission to interview him for the president of baseball operations position.

Because Arnold is under contract as general manager of the Brewers, the team is under no obligation to grant that permission, even for a promotion. At any rate, Milwaukee initially denied the Mets permission to speak to Arnold, but the Mets asked again, hoping owner Mark Attanasio would reconsider.

As the Brewers slow-played that process, industry chatter connecting Arnold to the Mets grew rampant, peaking on Tuesday. In the midst of that, the Mets hadn’t even talked to Arnold, and had no way of determining if they wanted to hire him. All they knew was that they wanted to meet him.

When reports emerged from Milwaukee on Wednesday morning that Arnold had removed himself from consideration, the Mets had not heard it directly. But that was irrelevant; Arnold never became a serious candidate and now won’t become one.

The unfortunate aspect of all this for the Mets was that it played into the perception that they can’t attract an attractive candidate.

Billy Beane and David Stearns
Billy Beane and David Stearns

It is true that some in the league have questions about Sandy Alderson and the presence of his son, assistant GM Bryn Alderson. The reality is that Sandy Alderson was more than happy to delegate last season to acting GM Zack Scott, and Bryn Alderson is not a GM candidate.

It’s also true that questions linger about working for Steve Cohen. But you’re telling me that not one among the risk-averse generation of young executives will take Cohen’s money and work to build a winner in New York? That’s hard to imagine.

The Mets are in no hurry to make a hire, and rightly so. The analytics head they hired away from the Dodgers last year, Ben Zauzmer, is seen as a highly impressive up-and-comer. The amateur scouting department under Tommy Tanous and Marc Tramuta is strong, and not going anywhere.

Scott is in limbo while he awaits resolution on a legal situation related to his arrest on suspicion of DUI, but he impressed the Mets last season with his baseball acumen and connectedness. If he returns, he will be impactful.

The Mets will eventually hire a top executive. But everyone can calm down for now. According to sources, there are still multiple GM candidates and one president of baseball operations candidate. The process is proceeding deliberately.

Perhaps a new hire is in place by the GM meetings next month. But imagine another path: Alderson and Cohen make qualifying offer decisions, re-sign Javier Baez, and then retrench when the rest of the industry hunkers down for a likely lockout in December.

Take a breath. Would that really be so bad?

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