NEW YORK — Mets general manager Jared Porter sent graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office, ESPN reported Monday night.
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.
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.
“I have spoken directly with Jared Porter regarding events that took place in 2016 of which we were made aware tonight for the first time. Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement.
“The Mets take these matters seriously, expect professional and ethical behavior from all of our employees, and certainly do not condone the conduct described in (the ESPN) story. We will follow up as we review the facts regarding this serious issue.”
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,” ESPN reported.
After asking whether the outlet intended to run a story, Porter requested more time before later declining further comment, ESPN reported.
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. ESPN says he was Cubs’ director of professional scouting when he sent the messages to the woman.
“Jared has proven himself at every level and in every position he has held, earning respect from his peers throughout baseball,” Alderson said in a statement when Porter was hired.
It’s another embarrassing development for the Mets, who energized their fans by acquiring star shortstop Francisco Lindor and several other notable players since new owner Steve Cohen purchased the club from the Wilpon and Katz families for $2.42 billion in early November.
Last offseason, under previous GM Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets hired former slugger Carlos Beltran as manager only to cut ties with him 2 1/2 months later when he was implicated in MLB’s investigation of illegal sign stealing by Houston when Beltran was an Astros player in 2017.
Beltran was let go – without managing a single game – just more than a year ago on Jan. 16, 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” but one that certainly appears in jeopardy now.
New York quickly turned last winter from Beltran to quality control coach Luis Rojas, who managed the Mets to a 26-34 record during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. They finished tied with Washington for last in the NL East and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Rojas is set to return this season.
Cohen brought back Alderson, who was the Mets’ general manager from 2010-18, as team president, and Alderson immediately fired Van Wagenen and several of his top front-office aides.
The team initially sought to hire a new president of baseball operations but changed course when it was unable to attain permission to interview several candidates around the majors and another one did not want to move to New York.
Instead, the 72-year-old Alderson has taken over baseball operations, and the idea was for Porter to grow into that role while reporting to Alderson.
“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.”