I knew the Mets would quickly make a decision about Jared Porter. Late Monday night, the ESPN report surfaced about Porter and the unsolicited text messages to a female reporter in 2016 when he was an executive with the Chicago Cubs.
Owner Steve Cohen and President Sandy Alderson consulted overnight. I watched late night sports programming overnight into early Tuesday morning. I listened to sports talk radio. The speculation was Jared Porter would be fired.
Early Tuesday morning, Porter was gone. The Mets’ integrity, as Cohen said, was important. The Mets have provided much of the headline news this off season. First, a billionaire owner brought a breath of fresh air by replacing an ownership that never satisfied the fans. Second, bringing Alderson back into the fold as team president and then signing free agent catcher James McCann and pitcher Trevor May to free agent contracts.
The Mets caught us all off guard with the trade for Francisco Lindor, the best shortstop in baseball while also acquiring Carlos Carrasco, a good starting pitcher. The Mets fulfilled most of their needs and reportedly were still in pursuit of free agent reliever Brad Hand.
So the Mets are heading in the right direction and considered postseason contenders. These are the Steve Cohen Mets and not the Wilpon Mets. There has been a difference.
But for the second consecutive January, though under different circumstances, another Met hire never got to spring training. Last year, it took 76 days before Carlos Beltran was dismissed as manager because of a sign stealing scandal that rocked baseball while he was a member of the Houston Astros. Porter had a tenure of 37 days as the Mets GM and that was a punch to the gut.
Yes, it seems the Mets can’t get anything right, though all was good with McCann and tending contracts to the key principles that should put the Mets back in the postseason this year for the first time since 2016.
Blame this time, the hiring and firing of Porter, should not be attributed to the Mets hierarchy. Blame should be bestowed upon an interview process that is limited to experience and knowledge, that most if not all MLB teams conduct during the process. You see, the background checks of baseball personnel and the vital position of general manager, has never been necessary.
Perhaps, now, more extensive background checks for upper management are necessary but the truth can’t be told by simply asking, “Have you been hiding something we don’t know? Are you telling the truth and nothing but the truth?”
Of course, a resume can be good enough. A background check was not necessary when the Marlins and Derek Jeter hired Kim Ng away from the Yankees as the first female and Asian GM in baseball. But there needs to be an improvisation of the process. Jeter knew Ng, Alderson did not previously know Porter before hiring him. Late Tuesday, Alderson alluded to looking for better ways to ensure that this does not happen again for the Mets.
“This is a wake-up call,” he said during a ZOOM press conference. “It clearly suggests something like this can be out there in connection with almost everyone. We have to do our best to make sure we know about that information but there are limits to what we can actually get.”
And that does not mean a required lie detector test, though that would be the best route to reveal something is not right. Then again, the hiring of a general manager and upper office personnel should never be put in that category of a trial and jury.
But in this situation, Cohen and Alderson were the unofficial trial and jury. The process, though, is choosing the best candidate based on credentials and experience. Porter had the reputation and the experience with three different teams.
He was a baseball wiz.
“Jared could tell you anything and everything about every player on an active roster, every baseball player on the planet,” said a longtime NL insider who has known Porter the past three years.
He said, “This caught us all off guard. You would never know. I hope for his well being he resurfaces somewhere. He knows how to scout a player. He knows analytics and how to use both to build winning teams,”
Porter used that knowledge well with the Cubs, Red Sox. He got a well deserved job as the assistant GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He reached the pinnacle as the new GM for the Mets and with a new regime of ownership.
And in a span of nine hours, Porter lost his job. His reputation of knowledge and capability was tarnished. He hid something that surfaced four years later, and it cost him that lifetime opportunity as the GM for a MLB team in the New York market.
Alderson said “We did a background check. We ask if there is anything else we need to know. I don’t think we would have hired Jared if we had known about the conduct beforehand.”
Well, now we know. And next time the Mets will be cautious and get this right. So before saying the Mets don’t do anything right, I can say this could have happened to 29 of the other teams in MLB.
Except the Mets are the unfortunate team here. It will not happen again as they plan to go without a general manager in 2021. Alderson, Zack Scott who assisted under Porter, and former interim GM John Ricco will take it from here and conduct the baseball operations.
In due time, this latest off the field mishap of the Mets will go in the history books. It will not be a moment to remember. It will be bypassed as the Mets progress to try and reach their first postseason since 2016.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso YouTube “Sports With Rich” Like. Comment, Subscribe