For executives under contract, teams are not obligated to grant permission to participate in an interview with another team. It’s common courtesy to do so, especially if the interview is for a promotion, but sometimes teams are leery about brain-dump sessions. They don’t want their guys giving up any useful information if they don’t have to. And sometimes, they just really, really want to keep their guy.
That’s probably the case here, as the Brewers weren’t going to let the Mets poach their top mind:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 17, 2020
Stearns is the Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, so a Mets gig would’ve been a lateral move (and maybe something slightly less than that, since Sandy Alderson is going to be the Mets’ overarching president for the time being). I don’t know that the Brewers were wrong to deny permission, generally speaking.
But the fact that they did underscores how valuable they deem Stearns, whom the Brewers extended before the 2019 season, to be. Like manager Craig Counsell, Stearns is likely very good at what he does, allowing the Brewers to be competitive the last several years despite rosters that don’t appear overwhelmingly impressive on the surface.
To the extent the Mets might’ve blown that up if they’d been able to poach Stearns, I say … dang.