New York Mets president Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters Monday afternoon to give an update on the club's front office and hot stove happenings. Among them included Alderson explaining that the club has focused on landing a general manager and will not hire a president of baseball operations this winter. He also confirmed the return of Luis Rojas as manager for the 2021 season.
Rojas, who was hired after the firing of Carlos Beltran in the wake of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, managed in the minors throughout the Mets system before he made his managerial debut in 2020.
"I'm thrilled to be the manager under the leadership of Sandy and to try to win a World Series," Rojas said in a statement Monday. "We look forward to putting in the work and making our fans proud."
In the front office, meanwhile, the club's plan was to hire two new executives, a president of baseball operation and a general manager. Alderson will instead assume the responsibilities of both his role as team president and help oversee baseball operations.
The Mets have shifted their interview process to focus exclusively on filling the vacant general manager position, Alderson said. The club has interviewed six candidates for general manager so far, and potential second- and third-round of interviews are in the future.
Last week's news of Mets second baseman Robinson Cano's season long suspension due to a second positive PED test means the club has $20.25 million more to spend for next season. Alderson told reporters that the team is not considering releasing Cano at this time, adding that the freed up payroll means flexibility for roster additions.
Alderson was also asked about the status of extension talks between the Mets and outfielder Michael Conforto: "That would be a conversation I'd have with his agent [Scott Boras] and yes, at some point, I'm sure we will broach that topic and take their temperature and see where things stand. But right now, those conversations have not taken place."
Conforto is the Mets' only urgent extension candidate for this winter. Conforto, who will turn 28 in March, is one year away from free agency. He hit .322/.412/.515 in 2020 and owns a career 128 OPS+.
The Mets, under new ownership of Steve Cohen, are hoping to return to contention next season after a disappointing 2020 season in which they failed to earn a spot in the expanded postseason. Cohen figures to make an aggressive opening statement during his first offseason as owner while opposing owners may decide to save this winter.