The New York Mets are well into their search to find a new general manager. Billy Beane, hands down, has the right stuff to complement the Mets franchise.
When will Billy Beane be announced as a candidate for the GM job by the Mets? Probably never, but more than any player the Mets will keep, discard, or sign, the hiring of a new general manager to replace the long-tenured Sandy Alderson with more than the lame “team” of GM’s they have now is the most significant move the franchise will make this off-season.
The usual suspects will each get their chance to impress the Mets during the interview process, and no doubt one of them will be hired. Reports confirm that
But among those and other candidates for the job, none is likely to stir much energy among the Mets fan base, coaching staff, and players. Nor is it likely one candidate will be named Billy Beane. And for that, the Mets are missing an opportunity to dramatically and positively impact the future of their team.
Before we get to the what the Mets are missing out on though, let’s take a listen to the inimitable Chris “Mad Dog” Russo during his October 4 XM Radio show as he tackles and tramples the reputation of Billy Beane as only Russo can. Fast forward to about 1:05 to get to the good stuff. And then, we’ll get back to the Mets.
Ever the entertainer, Russo blames the A’s inability to claim a must-win game on Billy Beane, as if Beane was still active and in uniform. Where’s the ace of the A’s staff Russo wants to know? And the fact the A’s won 97 games with the lowest payroll in baseball gets dismissed by Russo with a “Don’t gimme that, I’m tired of hearing it”. “Tell me when they are going to win something?” (paraphrasing)
The validity of Russo’s comments about Beane and the A’s have little to do with the Mets though. The Mets already have a ready to go exceptionally good starting staff for 2019, and they have a significant payroll any GM can play with.
The vital point Mad Dog makes as it relates to the Mets is not that he’s sick of hearing about Beane in God-like terms, but whether or not Beane himself is tired of hearing it too. And maybe Billy Beane is ready to step into the spotlight in a way he wasn’t decades ago. From the movie Moneyball, the classic scene when Beane is wooed by the Red Sox, only to turn the GM job down after accepting the offer:
Billy Beane is only 53, fitting the mold of the GM business getting younger and more in tune with today’s game and its players. If courted in the same manner by the Mets, what would Billy Beane say today about an opportunity to run a team that plays its games in New York City?
We’ll never know if the Mets do not approach Beane soon, before Fred Wilpon, the final decider we’re told picks one of those pedestrian or “safe” (he won’t challenge me) guys.
Here’s the kicker on that, though. Billy Beane is likely to cause the Wilpons, less and not more financial stress on their ever withering budget. Beane, you see, doesn’t sign expensive free agents anymore. He builds his teams on the backs of his scouts who scour every level of baseball looking for the golden nugget hiding in the sand. In time, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman make their way to the A’s, one piece at a time, each addition congruent to the other.
For his part, Billy Beane takes the player presented to him by his scouting staff, and delivers a quick and firm, “I like that guy, he can help us, develop him.” Or, Beane uses the player in a trade to secure someone he likes better. And the beat goes on.
This is what the Mets lack and need, especially when it comes to position players. We know what the Mets think of Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeill, et al. But what does Billy Beane feel about them? Are they keepers – or not?
Bless his heart, but Doug Melvin is not going to light a fire under the Mets team as the new GM. Nor is anyone on the current list. Beane, on the other hand, has the pedigree to match wits with the Wilpons, something Sandy Alderson reached for but never quite attained.
To the delight of the stingy Wilpons, Billy Beane will stuff the Mets roster with hand-picked and up and coming professional ballplayers, each with as many as six years before they reach Nirvana and the big bucks of free agency. By then, Beane will have sent them on their way as he did with Josh Donaldson, Sonny Gray, Addison Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Gonzalez, and fan favorite, Nick Swisher, restocking the shelves as he goes along.
Billy Beane at least deserves an opportunity from the Mets to interview for the GM job. Find out where he sees his career now and five years from now. What can it hurt?