David Stearns announced on Thursday that he is stepping away from the Milwaukee Brewers as president of baseball operations.
Stearns will continue to serve the franchise in an advisory role to owner Mark Attanasio and said he is not looking at jobs with other franchises.
However, that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill.
In the hours since making his announcement, multiple reports have linked the 37-year-old to jobs with the New York Mets and Houston Astros, two teams he has an existing connection with.
Stearns, a native New Yorker, started his career with the league offices before working his way up the ladder with the Houston Astros. He was eventually promoted to assistant general manager and was seemingly poised to lead a franchise one day.
That day came sooner than many expected when the Brewers tapped the then 30-year-old to take over as general manager in 2015. This was part of a larger league-wide trend in the MLB of promoting young talent in the front office.
While the youngest general manager at the time, Stearns’ ascension came on the heels of Theo Epstein, Jon Daniels and Andrew Friedman, who were all handed the keys to an MLB team at age 28.
Milwaukee promoted Stearns to president of baseball operations in 2019, a position he’s held for the past four seasons.
The Brewers have gone 481-390 in six seasons under Stearns’ guidance. His tenure was marked by unprecedented, stable success, including five of six seasons above .500.
During this stretch, the Brewers appeared in the playoffs for four straight years, including a seven-game NLCS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. They narrowly missed out on the playoffs this season – by one game – to none other than the darlings of the MLB postseason, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Stearns said he is looking forward to spending time with friends and family as well as “pursuing some other interests.”
The baseball talking heads can’t help but wonder what some “other interests” might be, with some speculating he could be gearing up for a homecoming trip back to the East Coast.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Stearns was at Shea stadium on Sept. 21, 2001 when Mike Piazza hit a two-run homer to list the Mets over the Braves in the first major sporting event since 9/11, an experience he described as “healing” for the entire city.
“I think that’s one of the moments, key moments in my life that informed me that I want to stay in the game in any capacity that I could,” Stearns told The Athletic in 2018.
Speculation that Stearns could join the Mets is driven by the recent announcement that current Mets president Sandy Alderson is stepping down after this season.
Whoever takes over for Alderson is inheriting a 101-win team and backed by owner Steve Cohen, who has proven he’s willing to dole out large contracts since purchasing the team in 2020.
While it’s fun to imagine what Stearns would be capable of with an arsenal of resources like the Mets would be able to offer, as of now he’s staying in Wisconsin.
“I’m also not going anywhere,” he said Thursday. “I’m going to be here in Milwaukee.”