Because the New York Mets' leadership has made decisions rival executives would never consider, because the team is such an outlier in how business is conducted in this analytics-driven era, the team is an endless source of fascination to other front offices.
Many officials with other clubs could not understand the logic behind the Robinson Cano deal, nor the choice to cling to valuable assets such as Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard at this summer's trade deadline when the Mets were so far behind in the standings.
But now that the Mets are where they are -- a team with a good rotation, a budding superstar in first baseman Pete Alonso, a thin farm system, and a need for a new manager after firing Mickey Callaway -- some rival officials use similar phrases in describing their current context.
"They are pot committed," said one executive, using a betting term.
"Pot committed," said another.
A third: "They are all-in to win next year."
This should inform their decision in hiring their next manager. Callaway was viewed by the Mets, Phillies and other teams as a promising managerial candidate, but his lack of experience showed in his first year. Callaway got better at his job as time went by, but because the Mets' 2018 season was a disappointment and new GM Brodie Van Wagenen did not hire him, Callaway was effectively on double-secret probation through 2019, needing to prove himself to the recast front office. And unless the Mets made the playoffs this year, as forecast by Van Wagenen when he suggested in the spring that his club was the team to beat, that was almost certainly never going to happen.
The win-now moves for the Mets raised expectations significantly for 2019, but the pressure will be even greater in 2020, with trade-deadline acquisition Marcus Stroman a year away from free agency, Syndergaard and Steven Matz two years away, and Jacob deGrom -- who will likely win his second Cy Young Award this fall -- in his prime. The Mets probably should not gamble all that they have at stake on someone with little or no experience as a manager, and there are some really good veteran options available. The safe play -- the right play -- is to pay the cost for one of the big names.
But remember: The Mets usually don't see the world the way other teams do.
There are essentially three categories of candidates from which to choose: