Steve Cohen went back to the future by announcing his intentions to hire Sandy Alderson as team president if he is approved as Mets owner. That could help Cohen’s ownership candidacy and bode poorly for Brodie Van Wagenen’s job security.
“If I am fortunate enough to be approved by Major League Baseball as the next owner of this iconic franchise, Sandy Alderson will become president of the New York Mets and will oversee all Mets baseball and business operations,” Cohen said in a statement.
“Sandy is an accomplished and respected baseball executive who shares my philosophy of building an organization and a team the right way. I am excited to have Sandy in a key leadership role with the Mets if my purchase of the team is approved. Lets’ Go Mets!”
There is comfort here because Alderson was the Mets general manager when Cohen bought in as a Mets limited partner eight years ago. Alderson formed a relationship with not just Cohen, but one of his top lieutenants, Andrew Cohen, who was Steve Cohen’s representative on the Mets board of directors.
But there is more than comfort here. There is strategy. There are owners who have concerns about Steve Cohen, especially because his previous hedge fund paid a $1.8 billion penalty for insider trading and his current fund has faced gender discrimination lawsuits. Alderson is well regarded at the highest level of the sport, having been involved in the majors since 1983.
Will Alderson’s strong reputation help Cohen? An ownership subcommittee is vetting Cohen’s candidacy and will make a recommendation. The full ownership body is expected to vote in late October or early November and Cohen would need 23 of 30 to be approved. His plan at that time would be to become chairman and CEO of the team.
If that happens, Van Wagenen’s chances of retaining his general manager job would not be considered strong. Van Wagenen succeeded Alderson in the role and while the two had a working relationship as baseball executive (Alderson) and agent (Van Wagenen), the ties are not strong.
Alderson would have to decide what the hierarchy is and if he even would hire someone under the title of general manager. The direction of baseball operations, though, would be under his jurisdiction.
He tried to pull the Mets into a more analytical mode in his tenure, but did not have complete buy in — philosophically or financially — from the Wilpons. That is unlikely to be a problem under Steve Cohen, who uses analytics at the highest levels to help run his hedge fund.
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