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Elephant Rumblings: Mets interested in A’s GM David Forst?

MLB news roundup

Oakland Athletics 2019 Draft Room
Forst, flanked by the Mets new Team President
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Good morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!

The big news of the day is the deadline for teams to protect prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. That means a whirlwind of players being added to 40-man rosters around the league, and the Oakland A’s selected three of their own minor leaguers to guarantee that no other club steals them away on Dec. 10. Click here for more info on that topic.

For today’s Rumblings, let’s double back to some quiet news from earlier this week. On Tuesday, Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle offered this tidbit:

“It sounds as if David Forst is a target for the Mets, not surprising considering he’s worked with Sandy Alderson the past two years. Forst always has turned down every opportunity elsewhere, but I wonder if this one might intrigue him, especially with A’s dim financial picture.”

It’s not often that we hear general manager David Forst’s name in rumors, as he’s long been loyal to his spot in Oakland alongside Billy Beane. And there’s not yet any reason to think this situation is any different, as Slusser isn’t reporting that there’s mutual interest but rather just wondering if maybe there could be at some point. And it’s a fair question, with Beane possibly leaving the organization, and with the A’s current competitive window at least partway finished.

As for the other party, the New York Mets are in the middle of a complete overhaul. The team was sold to a new owner, Steve Cohen, who is now building his own front office. And the name at the top (Team President) is Sandy Alderson — the former A’s GM, Beane’s former mentor, and briefly a special adviser to the club in 2019 when Forst was the GM. There are enough dots to connect that you can see why Slusser felt this warranted a watch-and-see kind of mention.

Oakland already avoided a couple losses this winter, when AGM Billy Owens was passed over for the Angels GM job, and when quality control coach Mark Kotsay didn’t get the Tigers manager position. If the Mets do come sniffing around Forst, with Alderson leading the courtship, will the A’s be so fortunate again?

Deep thoughts

What would actually be the best thing for the A’s?

Theo Epstein just left the Cubs after nine years, following his own philosophy of not staying anywhere for more than a decade lest ideas get stale and progress stall for both individual and team. Forst became an AGM in 2005 and has been part of the braintrust for a long time, and by all measurable accounts he and those A’s leaders have done a great job with the resources available.

But is it time to shake it up anyway, perhaps with Owens in charge? Or is Forst still the right person for the job? He’s only been the actual GM since 2015, and he’s never operated on his own without Beane’s presence, so perhaps Solo Forst (or VP Forst and GM Owens) could still be a fresh enough perspective to constitute change — just as Epstein’s longtime right-hand man, Jed Hoyer, is still in charge in Chicago.

I don’t know the answer, and I’m certainly not suggesting one way or other what any of these folks should do. I have no complaints about Forst as GM, and I tend to like most of the A’s moves either enthusiastically at the time or grudgingly in retrospect. But it’s something to think about at what could be a moment of transition anyway in A’s history, while we wait for updates on Beane’s situation.

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