3:18 pm: Andy Martino of SNY reports that while the Mets have indeed requested permission to speak with Arnold, they’ve yet to receive an answer from Milwaukee. Given that the New York job would be a step up in terms of title and responsibility, it would seem likely the Brewers would eventually allow him to interview. However, Martino cautions that Arnold’s contract may contain language limiting his ability to field requests from rival clubs.
12:43 pm: After being denied permission to interview Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns, it appears as though the Mets have set their sights on his second-in-command. Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter) that the Mets have been in contact with Brewers general manager Matt Arnold and may have even made an offer for Arnold to become their new president of baseball operations. Arnold, at this time, is seen as the Mets’ “top candidate,” per Puma.
While the Brewers weren’t keen on allowing Stearns to interview for a lateral move to the same title in Queens, it’s not surprising that they’re apparently more open to affording that opportunity to Arnold. Teams will generally let their executives interview with other clubs in the event that the role in question represents a promotion. Arnold ascending from GM to president of baseball ops would certainly fit that billing, as he’d be in line for a title bump and would have autonomy over the Mets’ entire baseball operations outfit.
Arnold, 42, has been with the Brewers since Stearns hired him away from the Rays and named him assistant general manager following the 2015 season. He’d spent the previous nine seasons with Tampa Bay, rising from the scouting staff to director of player personnel. He’s also worked with the Reds, Dodgers and Rangers in a baseball operations career that now spans more than two decades.
Arnold was of interest to the Angels last offseason when they were in the market for a new GM themselves, and he interviewed with the Pirates in the 2019-20 offseason during their GM search as well. But the Brewers, who’d recently promoted Stearns to president of baseball operations, promoted Arnold to general manager within their own hierarchy and kept him off the board for other clubs seeking to fill that role. A move to the Mets’ presidency does not appear one the Brewers would block, hence the reported contract and possible offer being extended.
It’s been a tumultuous front office search for the Mets over the past year. Cohen came in with his sights set high but was unable to hire a president of baseball operations to his lofty standard last winter. Instead, the Mets pivoted to hire a general manager who could possibly be groomed as a future president. That search led them to Jared Porter, who was fired just weeks later after revelations of repeated sexual harassment by Porter in past work environments. Zack Scott, whom the club had hired as an assistant general manager, was elevated to “acting” GM and seen as a possible GM candidate this winter before an August DWI charge brought his own future with the organization into question.
The Mets set out with high expectations again this offseason, pursuing the likes of Stearns, A’s executive vice president Billy Beane and former Cubs/Red Sox president Theo Epstein. The Brewers denied permission to interview Stearns for a second straight offseason. Epstein and Cohen reportedly mutually agreed it was not a good fit after one conversation. Beane removed himself from consideration before even formally discussing the matter. Subsequent interest in Giants general manager Scott Harris and Dodgers assistant GM Brandon Gomes has come up empty as well; Harris is a Bay Area native who reportedly does not wish to leave his current role, while there have been multiple reports that the Dodgers could be positioning Gomes for his own promotion to GM status.