The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the best baseball operations executives in the game with David Stearns. They know it, and the rest of the league knows it, too.
Lately, we’ve been hearing some rumblings from national writers about other teams trying to poach Stearns away from the Brewers this winter. Specifically, the rumblings are about the New York Mets.
It’s no secret that the Mets are going to be looking for a President of Baseball Operations this fall and owner Steve Cohen is going to have his eyes on a big fish. He wants a big name and someone who can actually turn things around in New York.
First, it was Buster Olney of ESPN that reported that David Stearns’ was an option for New York and that Stearns’ contract with the Brewers is up after the 2022 season.
Then, a week later, Jon Heyman also names Stearns as a candidate for the job.
Is there any fire behind this smoke? Or is this just people in the industry trying to create rumors when there’s nothing to it?
Could David Stearns actually leave the Milwaukee Brewers to lead the New York Mets?
While Olney reported that Stearns’ contract with the Brewers only has one year remaining, it’s unclear if that’s actually true. The Brewers do not make publicly known the contract details of their executives, but when Stearns was promoted to President of Baseball Ops, that did include a contract extension. It would be surprising to see that contract end in 2022.
Even if that is the current case, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio would certainly be willing to extend Stearns’ contract again. But would Stearns be willing?
As Olney and others have mentioned plenty of times before, Stearns did grow up a Mets fan in New York and was previously an intern in their front office. There is a connection there, whether Brewers fans like it or not. The temptation of running the organization you grew up rooting for is real.
While Stearns has been very good at operating on a somewhat limited budget, he would have more wiggle room to pay the players he wants to get in New York with Cohen providing the payroll. The Mets have tried before, and were denied by Attanasio.
However, that doesn’t mean Stearns is as good as gone.
Stearns is a principled man, and he follows through on what he says. He promised to get this Brewers team a World Series championship. He has built this franchise up from nearly nothing after a rebuild and has turned Milwaukee into a perennial contender. The 2021 version may be his best work yet.
The Brewers will make their fourth straight postseason appearance under Stearns this year. In the 46 seasons the Brewers had before him, they made just four postseason appearances total.
But there’s one thing neither Stearns nor any other Brewers executive has accomplished: A World Series championship.
Getting that could be the one thing that allows Stearns to leave.
Mark Attanasio will block any team from even interviewing Stearns for a job opening if he can. That’s why he’s promoted him to make him Milwaukee’s first ever President of Baseball Ops, that’s why he’s extended his contract.
But if Stearns accomplishes a World Series title in Milwaukee, what’s left for him to accomplish here? At that point, he’s done everything he could possibly do, and he followed through on his promise to bring a World Series title to Milwaukee. He’ll have taken this franchise where no one has taken it before.
Stearns may be more willing to leave and Attanasio may be more willing to let him leave if they win it all this year. Then Stearns can take on a new challenge in New York and Matt Arnold can take full control in Milwaukee. But until the Brewers raise the Commissioner’s Trophy, that challenge is still ahead of Stearns.
Until that challenge gets completed, it’s difficult to imagine Stearns leaving Milwaukee.