Hall of Fame manager and current Red Sox executive Tony La Russa recently called the Mets to give a strong endorsement for Gary LaRocque, who the team is considering to fill their GM or president of baseball operations role.
"I don't want to disrespect anyone who is being considered, but there isn't going to be anyone who is better than [LaRocque]," La Russa told Mike Puma of the New York Post. "Whoever the best candidates are, he is right there at least tied with them."
Along with LaRocque, MLB executive Kim Ng, Nationals special assistant De Jon Watson, and Doug Melvin are being interviewed during Round 1 of the process. According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets are still open to agents Brodie Van Wagenen and Casey Close for one of the roles, along with at least one other unidentified candidate whose name has not been reported.
The 65-year-old LaRocque, currently working for the Cardinals as their director of player development, has a strong scouting background.
Prior to joining the Cardinals in 2008, LaRocque worked for the Mets from 1998 to 2004 -- first as their scouting director and then as their director of player development/assistant GM.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and assistant GM John Ricco are conducting the first round of interviews, with the team likely announcing a second round of candidates after the first round concludes.
Free agency begins the day afte the World Series ends (some point between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1), so the Mets have under three weeks to get a GM/president of baseball operations in place if they want to do so before the market opens.