According to a high ranking National League executive, Gary LaRocque was offered the Mets GM job and pulled himself away due to differences with COO Jeff Wilpon. Fred Wilpon, a longtime friend of the St. Louis Cardinals Director of Player Development had expressed interest in putting LaRocque on board and was intent on having him as the new GM and director of baseball operations.
According to the executive with knowledge of the situation, as told to NYsportsday.com, analytics and differences in philosophy got in the way. The GM search continues and former Brewers GM Doug Melvin along with Kim Ng, a MLB executive with previous front office experience, are among the remaining candidates being considered as the interview process continues.
Ng, previously in front office positions with the White Sox, Dodgers and Yankees, has the knowledge and is more into the analytical approach that Jeff Wilpon is seeking for his new GM. Ng also grew up in the proximity of Citi Field and has extensive knowledge of the Mets organization.
The NL executive said, “This is more about a more analytics guy they are gearing at.” He also said that LaRocque has a good situation with the Cardinals and “could be the next GM there at some point.”
Opportunity with the Cardinals may have been the ultimate decision. But according to reports it had nothing to do with LaRocque and a lack of experience dealing with player agents. Part of the job is dealing extensively with agents and LaRocque has that experience.
But a major and deciding factor, as to why the 65-year old LaRocque took himself out of the picture to guide the Mets future, was the analytic approach. Jeff Wilpon is more inclined to have that person in the GM spot and Fred Wilpon has a different approach. Reportedly Fred Wilpon will be more involved as the candidate search narrows to a few in the next week.
The Mets want the new GM in place by the end of this month, and before the start of owners meetings that take place days after conclusion of the World Series. Sandy Alderson vacated his position as GM during the season because of continued health issues.
“It was a compromise with Jeff and Fred,” said the executive. “Gary was Fred’s main guy. Gary did not want to get into a power situation and believed he had a better situation in St. Louis and decided that was best for him.”