The New York Mets will interview former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes, former Kansas City Royals GM Allard Baird and Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn next week for the organization's vacant general manager position, a team spokesman announced Thursday.
The Mets have indicated they plan to interview five to seven candidates, with finalists coming back for a second round.
A Haverford College graduate, Byrnes was fired by the Diamondbacks on July 1 despite having more than five years remaining on an eight-year contract. The Diamondbacks went 349-378 in his four-plus seasons in charge.
Arizona reached the National League Championship Series in 2007 under Byrnes, but stumbled from that point. He took a risk by trading for ace Dan Haren and making a run the following season, but the move didn't work out. Byrnes subsequently reportedly had conflicts with Arizona CEO Derrick Hall.
Byrnes joined the Indians out of college and was at the forefront of signing players with Cleveland to multi-year deals even before they were eligible for arbitration. He subsequently went to Colorado as an assistant GM under Dan O'Dowd and then to Boston in a similar capacity under Theo Epstein before joining the Diamondbacks.
Baird, who has an apartment in Manhattan, served as the Royals GM for nearly six seasons. He worked with that organization for 18 years before being fired on May 31, 2006. The small-market Royals largely tied his hands with spending restrictions both on major league payroll and on amateur signings. He coincidentally was GM when the Royals traded Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros in 2004 in a three-team deal that returned Mark Teahen, Mike Wood and John Buck.
Baird joined the Red Sox later in '06 and has been a top deputy to Epstein. He has served as head of the Red Sox's pro scouting department. Baird has actively scouted as well, including the independent leagues, where the Red Sox unearthed Daniel Nava and Robert Coello. Baird also does advance work on trades and was credited with spearheading the scouting preparation for the 2007 World Series.
Hahn, the assistant GM of the White Sox, is considered an up-and-comer in baseball circles, and was tabbed as the best GM prospect in the game by Baseball America. He had interviewed for the St. Louis Cardinals GM job, but withdrew his name after a pair of interviews. He also passed on an interview with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Seattle Mariners were denied permission to interview Hahn when they hired Jack Zduriencik.
Hahn graduated from the University of Michigan, the same alma mater as Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon. He has a law degree from Harvard and graduated from Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
He worked as an agent with Steinberg, Moorad and Dunn in Newport Beach, Calif., before joining the White Sox in 2002.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.