The Brewers’ elimination from the postseason could soon provide the Mets with clarity about one potential candidate for their president of baseball operations vacancy.
David Stearns, an architect of Milwaukee teams that have reached the playoffs in four straight seasons, is considered among the biggest fish in a small pond of executives with proven track records who could appeal to the Mets. The industry expectation is Mets officials will reach out soon — the Brewers’ season concluded Tuesday with a loss to the Braves in Game 4 of the NLDS — to ask permission to speak with Stearns about their opening.
It’s hardly a given the Brewers will grant such permission. The 36-year-old Stearns is under contract with the Brewers through next season, and the Mets were denied access to speak with him last winter when they looked to fill the position.
The wild card is whether the Brewers might be open to a trade with the Mets if Stearns, entering his walk year, is resolved to testing free agency as an executive following the 2022 season. Stearns grew up a Mets fan in Manhattan and interned for the team after graduating from Harvard. He became the Brewers general manager near the end of the 2015 season, after a stint working in Houston’s front office.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has already spoken with Theo Epstein about the position, but the two sides last week agreed it wasn’t the right fit. Epstein, who is working as a consultant for MLB, has built World Series winners with the Red Sox and Cubs, and according to sources isn’t in a hurry to re-enter the daily grind of baseball operations.
Still unclear is where the Mets might stand with Billy Beane, who is under contract with Oakland and would also need permission to speak with the Mets. The 59-year-old Beane has various investment interests outside of baseball, leaving many within the industry to believe he’s a long shot to depart the Athletics, for whom he’s built a trusted organizational structure that includes general manager David Forst and assistant GM Billy Owens.
But it’s also possible Beane seeks a new challenge after two-plus decades in Oakland and could embrace the opportunity to lead a baseball operations department with significant financial resources available. Beane has a tight relationship with Mets president Sandy Alderson from their time together in Oakland in the 1990s. Beane hired Alderson as a consultant with the Athletics following the 2018 season.
One name that can be eliminated is Paul DePodesta — Beane’s former protege in Oakland — who served as vice president of player development and scouting during part of Alderson’s GM tenure with the Mets. DePodesta, the chief strategy officer for the Cleveland Browns, told The Post’s Joel Sherman he is happy working in the NFL.
DePodesta was an assistant GM to Beane and a key architect of the Moneyball philosophy. He later, at 31, became GM of the Dodgers. After being fired, he was hired by Alderson, who was then the Padres’ CEO, to be a special assistant before being promoted to executive vice president.
DePodesta was one of the first hires by Alderson after he became the Mets GM following the 2010 season. He was the vice president of player development and scouting, which he left after the Mets’ 2015 World Series run to join the Browns.
The Mets could also pursue Josh Byrnes, but have not yet sought permission to speak with the Dodgers’ senior vice president of operations, according to an industry source. It’s likely the Mets would wait until the Dodgers’ season concludes to seek that permission. Byrnes was a finalist to replace Omar Minaya as Mets general manager following the 2010 season. The job went to Alderson.