Whether it’s returning the long-suffering Red Sox to relevance or exorcising the Cubs’ century-long demons, former wunderkind GM Theo Epstein has never backed down from a challenge. And what's a bigger challenge than bringing a World Series to Queens, where the scandal-prone Mets continue to self-destruct, weathering daily controversies in a demanding media market where no mistake goes unpunished?
The Mets’ front office has been a revolving door of late with the arrival of owner Steve Cohen doing little to change the team’s fortune. Since the departure of Brodie Van Wagenen (a casualty of Cohen’s front-office housecleaning last offseason), the Mets have cycled through several top executives including short-lived GM Jared Porter (fired for sexually harassing a female journalist) and his replacement Zack Scott, who was placed on administrative leave following his DUI arrest earlier this week. Retread Omar Minaya will do his best to keep the Mets above water in the interim, but realistically, he’s just a placeholder keeping the seat warm for whoever the team ends up hiring in his stead.
Porter and Scott both rose to prominence as Epstein underlings, parlaying their success in Boston into bigger and better gigs elsewhere. With Epstein spoken for, the Mets got—at least in their minds—the next-best thing. Now that it’s all come crashing down, crumbling like Pompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, will Cohen (never one to play things safe) reach for the top shelf, pitching Epstein on the chance to run a long-underachieving franchise in desperate need of leadership?
Comfortable in his new role as a consultant to commissioner Rob Manfred (and perhaps the eventual heir to Manfred’s throne atop Major League Baseball), Epstein isn’t exactly itching for a return to the front-office sector, but those close to him think the 47-year-old could potentially be wined and dined. According to Audacy insider Jon Heyman, “friends” of Epstein are of the opinion he’d be willing to hear New York out, though no one from the Mets’ camp has reached out yet.
Epstein’s Midas touch could be just what New York needs. It’s a long shot, but with the Mets—fractured by Scott’s arrest and Javier Baez openly antagonizing fans—quickly becoming a tabloid laughingstock, Cohen and company shouldn’t leave any stone unturned.