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Mets' Steve Cohen is surprised by front office search: 'I thought it would be a little easier'

By Deesha Thosar, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

Steve Cohen entered his new Mets' gig with high expectations for the staff that would surround him. He brought in Sandy Alderson as team president quickly and smoothly. The Cohen-Alderson group advertised its desire for a modern front-office structure, one the Mets have sorely needed for years now.

The new owner was met with push back on filling his president of baseball operations position — he didn't expect the kind of resistance that eventually led the Mets to pivot and alter their plan.

"I'm a little surprised we haven't been able to find people for the front office," Cohen said during an interview with SNY on Wednesday. "I thought it would be a little easier than it's been. Baseball is kind of funny where you have to ask for permission."

Alderson, leading the organization with nearly four decades of front-office experience on his back, said the Mets had "limited access" to individuals they wanted to fill their open president of baseball ops role. Some executives were tied to their teams, others were not allowed to even sit down for interviews. So Alderson changed his initial vision, for now, and started to focus on landing a GM.

Cohen indicated he believed the process of lining up lieutenants who could come work for him would be much simpler. He is, after all, the richest owner in baseball now. Preparing an attractive salary was not going to be the problem. The limited access impacted Cohen's first foray into owning a Major League Baseball team. He was forced to be flexible on the fly, but it sure hasn't changed his philosophy for the team.

"You've gotta stick to what you believe in," Cohen said. "If you're going to be reactive and all over the place and change the organization year to year, that's not going to work. You gotta lay down plans."

 

Cohen's doctrine involves giving his staff and players the best resources, winning a championship in three to five years, and building a sustainable future. Mets fans swoon when they listen to Cohen talk about transforming the Mets into a successful franchise, but the hedge-fund titan is no fool; he knows fans want a big splash through free agency this offseason.

Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto and George Springer are the big fish he'd like to catch. All three players satisfy the Amazin's immediate needs. But Cohen, a self-described fast learner, is aware now thanks to the push back surrounding his front-office search that the same may happen with the players he wants to acquire.

"We're talking to everybody," Cohen said of free-agent targets. "There's a lot of unknowns but we're having conversations with everyone that matters, anybody that the fans are excited by. And hopefully something happens, but I'm not going to predict it.

"As I realize with the front office, you can have all these great plans and want to do something, then you gotta be able to pivot to, what if you don't get it? Or what if they don't want to play for you? You have to be flexible."

Nothing is guaranteed when you're the owner of a club that comes with a ton of baggage, no matter the billions in your bank account.

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