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Who the Mets passed over for Sandy Alderson

Revisiting the Sandy Alderson hire, five years later.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It’s been five years since Sandy Alderson took the helm as Mets general manager. During those five years, Alderson took the franchise through a painful rebuild, replenished the team’s farm system, and turned a perpetual loser into a National League pennant winner.

Hiring Alderson seems to have been a wise choice in retrospect. However, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion at the time, as the Mets interviewed several qualified candidates for the job. To celebrate Alderson’s five-year anniversary with the team, let’s revisit the decision the Mets confronted at the time he was hired, and what each of the candidates for the job has done in the years since. We'll do the same for Terry Collins in a subsequent piece.

The Finalists

Sandy Alderson

At the time he was hired, Alderson was working for Commissioner Bud Selig. Alderson’s role was to lead MLB’s effort to clean up Latin American baseball operations, especially as they related to identity fraud and PED use. He was previously a successful general manager with the Athletics from 1983 to 1998, an executive in the commissioner’s office from 1998 to 2005, and the CEO of the Padres from 2005 to 2009.

The Mets hired Alderson to be their general manager after the 2010 season. During the next four seasons, Alderson traded several veteran players for minor league talent, drafted a number of highly touted prospects, and slashed payroll as the Mets finished under .500 in each of those four years. The franchise finally turned the corner in 2015, when the successful rebuild produced a 90-win team that won the NL East and made it to the World Series.

Josh Byrnes

Byrnes was the only candidate besides Alderson to whom the Mets offered a second interview. At the time, Byrnes was coming off of a four-and-a-half-year stint as the Diamondbacks’ GM, which resulted in just two winning seasons and Byrnes’s dismissal during the 2010 season. He previously held jobs in the Red Sox’, Rockies’, and Indians’ front offices.

After the Mets hired Alderson, Byrnes landed a job as an executive in the Padres’ front office. A year later, he was promoted to general manager. Byrnes served as GM from 2012 to 2014, when he was fired in the middle of his third consecutive losing season. To his credit, Byrnes developed a strong farm system—ranked ninth best by SB Nation’s Minor League Ball and 11th best by Baseball Prospectus during his final year with the team—before new GM A.J. Preller dismantled it with a series of trades in last year’s offseason. Byrnes now serves as the senior vice president of baseball operations in the Dodgers’ front office.

The Runners-Up

Allard Baird

When the Mets interviewed him, Baird was assistant to the general manager in Boston, where he had worked since 2006. Before that, he was the Royals’ GM from 2000 to 2006. The Royals struggled badly during that time, finishing over .500 just once, and winning 65 or fewer games five times.

In 2011, the Red Sox appointed Baird their vice president for player personnel and professional scouting, and he was promoted to senior vice president for player personnel in 2015. He remains in that position, despite a front office shakeup that occurred in Boston late last year.

Dana Brown

Brown is in the same role—special assistant to the general manager in Toronto—today as he was when the Mets interviewed him. He’s held that title since 2009. Before that, he spent eight years as the scouting director in Montreal and Washington.

Although he hasn’t yet gotten the opportunity to be a GM, Brown interviewed for the vacancy in Seattle last September after Jack Zduriencik was fired. The job ultimately went to Jerry Dipoto.

Rick Hahn

During the 2010-2011 offseason, Hahn was serving as assistant general manager in the White Sox’ organization. Although the Mets passed on him, Hahn was considered a top GM prospect at the time.

Hahn finally got his opportunity two years later, after serving for 12 years as assistant GM. In October 2012, the White Sox promoted GM Ken Williams to executive vice president and Hahn to the position of GM. Although the Sox have improved in each of Hahn’s three years at the helm, they have yet to post a .500 record, and 2016 could be a make-or-break year for him and manager Robin Ventura.

Logan White

White was a longtime executive in the Dodgers’ front office and an assistant GM when the Mets interviewed him in late 2010. White’s many positions during his 13-year stint in L.A. included scouting director, assistant GM of scouting, assistant GM of international scouting, and vice president of amateur scouting.

After the 2014 season, White accepted the position as special advisor to the general manager and director of pro scouting in San Diego. He had previously interviewed for the job of Padres GM, which ultimately went to A.J. Preller, White’s new boss.

Each of the six candidates brought their own strengths to the table, and each seemed qualified to be a major league GM. It’s nice to see that a couple of them—namely, Byrnes and Hahn—got that opportunity after being passed over by the Mets.

That said, Alderson seems to have been the right choice. By résumé alone, he was clearly the most qualified of the six. Byrnes and Baird were the only other candidates with previous experience as a GM, and neither one had nearly as successful a track record as did Alderson. Alderson, after all, built three consecutive AL pennant winners—including a World Champion—in Oakland, as well as another 96-win division champion in 1992. More recently, under his leadership as Padres CEO, his team won back-to-back division titles in 2005 and 2006.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and the Mets’ recent success seems to validate the hiring of Alderson. Even at the time he was hired, however, Alderson clearly stood out among his competition. The Mets chose the candidate with the most impressive résumé and a strong blueprint for the team’s future, and that seems to have been the right choice.