The New York Mets have fired their general manager, Jared Porter, after he confirmed an ESPN story that he sent graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs.
Porter sent dozens of texts to the woman, concluding with a picture of “an erect, naked penis”, according to the report. ESPN said it obtained a copy of the text history.
Mets owner Steve Cohen said in a tweet on Tuesday morning that Porter had been fired. “In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it,” Cohen wrote. “There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Porter was hired by Mets president Sandy Alderson, who confirmed the firing on Tuesday. “The New York Mets have terminated general manager Jared Porter, effective immediately,” Alderson said in a statement. “Jared’s actions, as reflected by events disclosed last night, failed to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct.”
New York hired the 41-year-old Porter last month. He agreed to a four-year contract after spending the past four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks as senior vice president and assistant general manager.
The woman was not identified in the report. ESPN said she was a foreign correspondent who had moved to the United States to cover Major League Baseball. She ignored more than 60 messages from Porter before he sent the last vulgar photo, according to ESPN. The woman told ESPN the texts from Porter contributed to her decision to leave the journalism industry and return to her home country.
ESPN said it contacted Porter on Monday evening and he acknowledged texting with the woman. At first, he said he hadn’t sent any pictures of himself, but when informed the exchanges show he sent selfies and other pictures, he said “the more explicit ones are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images”.
After asking whether the outlet intended to run a story, Porter requested more time before later declining further comment.
Before his Diamondbacks tenure, Porter worked under Theo Epstein with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, winning three World Series championships in Boston’s front office and another with the Cubs. He was the Cubs’ director of professional scouting when he sent the messages to the woman.
It’s another embarrassing development for the Mets, who energized their fans by acquiring star shortstop Francisco Lindor and several other notable players since Cohen purchased the club from the Wilpon and Katz families for $2.4bn in early November.
Last offseason, under previous GM Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets hired former Carlos Beltrán as manager only to cut ties with him two and a half months later when he was implicated in MLB’s investigation of illegal sign stealing by Houston when Beltrán was an Astros player in 2017.
Beltrán was let go – without managing a single game – on 16 January 2020, following a tenure that lasted 77 days. ESPN’s report was posted online 37 days after Porter was introduced as GM of the Mets, a role he called his “dream job”.
“I think what we’ve talked about the most is just a cultural shift, for one,” Porter said when he was introduced as GM last month. “Adding good people to the organization. Improving on the organizational culture.”