It was reported on Wednesday, that former Pittsburgh Pirates GM Dave Littlefield is the latest candidate that has interviewed with the New York Mets to fill their general manager vacancy.
Littlefield, 58, was the senior vice president and general manager of the Pirates during parts of seven seasons from 2001 to 2007. He also worked as a special assistant for the Cubs from 2008 to 2014 and was the Montreal Expos director player of development for three years in the mid-90s.
The Maine native is currently the vice president of player development for the Detroit Tigers, a position he’s held since August of 2015. Before that, he worked as a scout for the Tigers.
The former minor leaguer catcher’s tenure as the Pirates GM is highly criticized, and the team had a losing record in each of those seven seasons. One of his biggest criticisms came in 2003 when five of the first six picks in the Rule 5 draft where taken from the Pirates including Jose Bautista, Chris Shelton and Jeff Bennett.
During his time in Pittsburgh, he was also criticized for targeting signable players in the draft, not being aggressive in foreign markets and trading players like Jason Schmidt and Jason Kendall for minimal returns.
Littlefield was part a an overhaul in the Tigers minor league system and talked about that transition with the Lynn Henning of The Detroit News.
Alex Avila, Tigers’ VP and GM, had this to say about Littlefield earlier this year to Anthony French of the Detroit Free Press, “He’s a guy that should not just be scouting because he is a leader of men. He can lead, he can manage and so I always visualized him as a guy that, if I ever had a position, he would be one guy that I would want in charge of a department.”
Littlefield went to the University of Massachusetts on a football scholarship, where he would end up blowing his knee out and transition his focus to baseball. He would graduate with a degree in marketing and earned a master’s degree in sport management from UMass before becoming an assistant baseball coach at Clemson.
According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, the Mets have spoken to 6-8 GM candidates (we know of Littlefield, Kim Ng, Doug Melvin, Gary LaRocque, De Jon Watson, Chaim Bloom) and expect to begin second round of interviews next week.