New York Mets president of baseball operations Sandy Alderson said Tuesday he will look for ways to ensure the team does a better job vetting potential hires in the wake of the firing of general manager Jared Porter for explicit, unsolicited texts and images he sent to a reporter in 2016.
The text history between Porter, then with the Chicago Cubs, and the female foreign correspondent, was reported by ESPN’s Mina Kimes and Jeff Passan on Monday night. The Mets fired Porter on Tuesday morning after just a month on the job.
“This is a wake-up call,” Alderson said later Tuesday. “It clearly suggests something like this can be out there in connection with almost anyone. We have do to our best to make sure we know about that information, but there are limits to what we can actually get.
“I don’t think this reflects a fundamental flaw in the process. I think this is a very unfortunate circumstance that we wish we knew about, but didn’t.”
ESPN’s report documented Porter’s 60-plus unanswered text messages and images sent to the foreign correspondent, who asked not to be identified. Alderson said there were no red flags in the vetting process for Porter, who was previously employed by three major league teams — the Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox — none of which voiced concerns about Porter, he said.
“There really wasn’t a dissenting voice, so from my standpoint, I was shocked. Eventually that gives away to disappointment and a little bit of anger,” Alderson said. “There’s always a risk associated with hiring. There was no disclosure of this conduct. I don’t think we would have hired Jared if we had known about the conduct beforehand. Should we have known? We did a background check. We asked if there was anything else we need to know.”
Porter, 41, didn’t disclose the conduct during the hiring process.
“To my knowledge, none of the other organizations that Jared was employed with knew about this, either,” said Alderson, who didn’t say how many people he spoke with regarding Porter.
Alderson acknowledged the team did not talk to any women during the vetting process, an avenue that he said wasn’t readily available due to the lack of female executives in the game.
“There was not one single recommendation from a woman and that’s a reflection of the demographics of the game today in the front offices,” he said. “That says something very loudly.”
Alderson pushed back on the notion the league needs to be involved in the process.
“This is a club responsibility,” he said. “We have to do whatever we think is necessary to ensure that we’re hiring well-vetted employees. What this situation suggests is we need to rethink what constitutes well-vetted.”
The Mets won’t replace Porter in the near term — assistant GM Zack Scott, along with Alderson and others, will pick up his duties.
On Tuesday morning, Alderson held a Zoom call with 400 Mets employees to discuss the situation and vowed to “change the culture” of the club.
“When I came here my goal was to put a good team on the field and change the culture,” he said. “It wasn’t just about what’s right. I said to myself, ‘What do Mets employees expect?'”