It has been roughly two weeks since Steve Cohen closed his sale and officially became the new owner of the New York Mets. Cohen's first act as owner was to clean house in the front office, and he and team president Sandy Alderson have spent the last 10 days or so interviewing candidates to lead the baseball operations department going forward. A frontrunner for the job may have emerged.
According to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, Cleveland general manager Mike Chernoff has "emerged as a leading candidate" to take over as Mets president of baseball operations. The Mets are expected to hire both a president of baseball operations and a general manager, so Chernoff would be the top executive with a general manager below him handling day-to-day duties.
The Mets hiring Chernoff is not a done deal. Morosi reports Cleveland has not yet even given him permission to interview for the job, though there are "strong indications" the team will allow it. Teams typically block interview requests for lateral moves but not promotions. The Brewers reportedly rejected the Mets' request to interview president of baseball operations David Stearns, for example.
Chernoff, 39, grew up not far from New York City in Livingston, New Jersey, and his father is an executive at WFAN, the Mets flagship station and sports radio institution in New York. Chernoff joined Cleveland as an intern in the mid-2000s and gradually climbed the front office ranks. He was promoted to general manager following the 2015 season.
It should be noted Chernoff has declined to pursue numerous jobs with other teams over the years, including with the Mets when their general manager position was open two years ago. That said, a lot has changed since then. The Mets have a new owner who is ready to spend and give his new front office the opportunity to build the team as they see fit. That's awfully appealing.
The Mets interviewed former Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill in recent weeks. Morosi reports Rays special assistant Bobby Heck is also under consideration for the job. Theo Epstein, who resigned as Cubs president of baseball operations earlier this week, is not expected to pursue a role with the Mets or any other team in the near future.