Jared Porter knows his new boss with the Mets is counting on a championship.
Pretty soon, too.
That doesn’t bother him one bit.
“Hearing comments like that motivates me,” Porter said Monday after being introduced as New York’s general manager. “It shows a strong commitment from ownership who wants to win, who wants to put a winner on the field for the fan base in New York, and I completely align with that. It excites me. I want those expectations.”
In a news conference on Zoom that lasted nearly 50 minutes, Porter outlined his vision of emphasizing talent, flexibility, innovation and depth throughout a Mets organization in transformation under new owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson.
Cohen, a hugely successful hedge fund manager with an appetite for winning, bought the club last month from the Wilpon and Katz families for $2.42 billion. The lifelong Mets fan, finally calling shots for his favorite team, said it would be a disappointment if they don’t win the World Series within three to five years.
Tall talk for a franchise with two titles in 59 seasons of existence — and none since 1986. Those type of lofty demands are more commonly associated with Yankees brass across town, while the stumbling Mets have slogged through nine losing seasons in the last 12.
Porter’s job is to help change all that.
“I think what we’ve talked about the most is just a cultural shift, for one. Adding good people to the organization. Improving on the organizational culture. Adding depth to the roster,” Porter said. “It’s really important to create a situation where you’re a really hard team to play against. You’re hard to game-plan against in all areas.”
It won’t be easy. New York went 26-34 during the pandemic-truncated season, tied for fourth in the NL East, and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and All-Star hitters Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil highlight a promising core. But the Mets still have several holes to fill in the rotation and lineup.
The good news is Cohen has deep pockets and a willingness to spend, and Alderson acknowledged the Mets are actively shopping at the slowly developing top of the free-agent market.
“There’s obviously a chance to really expand on the resources,” Porter said. “It is incredibly appealing and I feel very fortunate to be in a position where those resources are going to be provided to us.”
Porter, 41, agreed to a four-year contract after spending the past four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks as senior vice president and assistant general manager under GM Mike Hazen. Before that, Porter worked under Theo Epstein with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, winning three World Series rings in Boston’s front office and another with the Cubs.
“I keep them locked up,” Porter said. “I don’t wear them out.”
In Queens, Porter will report to the 72-year-old Alderson, a former Mets GM who was brought back by Cohen and has taken over baseball operations.
“I think it’s a flexible arrangement. For example, I’ve already turned over a couple of things to Jared,” Alderson said. “I think that we’ll be able to work really well together.
“I think ultimately this will be a great fit.”