A mystery candidate for manager, one candidate withdraws, and the second round is coming up
Buck Showalter remains the favorite to become the next manager of the Mets. Plus, a mystery candidate has emerged.
The latest on the Mets managerial search… 💭
Buck Showalter and Bob Geren completed their first interviews over Zoom on Wednesday
The Mets will interview an unknown candidate on Thursday morning (NY Post)
Don Kelly withdrew from consideration for personal reasons (NY Post)
The Mets will have 2-3 finalists from the first round interview in New York next week face-to-face with the Mets front office (NY Post)
The minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft was held on Wednesday. The Mets selected RHP Alex Valverde from the Rays organization and RHP Carlos Ocampo from the Cubs organization but lost RHP Allan Winans and RHP Tommy Wilson.
Valverde, 25, had 92 strikeouts in 72 innings while going 2–5 with three saves and a 4.88 ERA in 30 games, 10 starts for Montgomery (AA) in 2021.
Ocampo, 23, went 4–0 and had 67 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings with Myrtle Beach (Low-A) last year.
Roundtable discussion on the manager hire…
There are plenty of names surrounding the Mets and their managerial search, but a name I think should get some consideration is Edgardo Alfonzo.
Beloved by the Mets faithful, Alfonzo took over as the Brooklyn Cyclones manager in 2017 and his tenure got off to a rough start to say the least. Brooklyn finished dead last in its division with a paltry record of 24-52. However, in the ensuing years the team showed marked improvement before finally culminating in Brooklyn’s first ever championship in 2019. In a bit of a shocking move, the Mets did not renew Alfonzo’s contract after winning it all, and then GM Brodie Van Wagenen stated they wanted to focus more on player development moving forward.
Alfonzo finished his managerial stint in Brooklyn with a record below .500 at 107-119 but that was largely due to his horrific first season at the helm.
Anyone who was lucky enough to watch Alfonzo play on a day-to-day basis knows how he had a head for the game which translated into success on the field. He finished his career batting .284/.357/.425 which was good enough to get him inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame during the 2021 season. Notably, he was also a member of the 1999 team and the, “Greatest infield ever, a team that reached game 6 of the NLCS against the Braves. If the Mets are serious about improving their defense going forward, they could do a lot worse than Alfonzo guiding them.
Unfortunately, the Mets’ previous two managerial hires had no experience at the Major League level so it is doubtful they go in that direction for a third time, as they’re reportedly seeking a veteran leader for their dugout staff. Even so, it is still fun to dream for those of us that grew up with the Mike Piazza era Mets to see Alfonzo in a Mets uniform once again.
With New York now searching for their fifth manager in five years, there’s a particular name that keeps jumping off the page for me:
Mets’ owner Steve Cohen has already made it abundantly clear this off-season he’s going all in. Signing Max Scherzer to pair with Jacob deGrom atop your rotation would have done that on its own, without the team also adding several other high profile additions. Make no mistake, in 2022 expectations for the Mets are going to be higher than they’ve been in a decade and a half - that’s what happens when the payroll soars to around $275 million and the club signs the best pitcher and center fielder available.
This is why the guy steering the ship from the dugout, and running the clubhouse is going to be immensely important.
There are a number of reasons which make Showalter attractive. First off, he has 1,551 wins as a manager. He has been named manager of the year on three separate occasions. He has experience in New York, managing the Yankees for four years in the early to mid 1990’s. During that stint in the Bronx he gained valuable experience working for a demanding owner who expects to win right now, and his work at that time laid the groundwork for the continued success the Yankees are enjoying today.
Showalter is respected throughout the industry, and is known as a manager who quickly goes into a clubhouse and quickly course correct culturally. The Mets are emphatically in win-now mode but as he did with the Yankees nearly 30 years ago, he can help shape the franchise for years to come as well. If he came on-board, it would be great to see them hire a younger bench (Joey Cora or, ahem, Carlos Beltrán anyone?), and have them potentially be groomed to take over the helm in the future.
I don’t know if I have a single, “preference” among the reported candidates. I think all of them bring a unique perspective, a unique history and track record, and would all probably work well and co-exist with the front office in this, “modern” process of managing the dugout and clubhouse. I do believe major league experience is very relevant, but experience to me can be a simple co-existence with a manager and not necessarily someone who has in fact managed at any level.
But for the sake of our roundtable, I’ll choose two: Buck Showalter and Bob Geren.
Showalter of course is a no brainer. As Justin said, he checks the boxes of having managed in New York, he has a track record of quickly improving cultures, and given he’s managed over a span over nearly 30 years, there’s no debate about his capability of adapting as the game and processes evolves. He would bring instant credibility to the dugout and clubhouse, and serve as a strong personality to both steer and protect his players over the course of a long season.
As for Geren, he is one of the smartest, well respected and detail-oriented coaches in the game today. When he was on Terry Collins’ staff, Geren was a vital part on the strategy side and helped Collins through analytically as well. The players loved working with him as well, and while Geren didn’t enjoy success as a manager with the A’s 15 years ago, he has unquestionably grown and enjoyed success as a bench coach, having reached the postseason in every season since 2015, winning three pennants and a championship between the Mets and Dodgers during that span.
With either, the Mets will be in fine hands going forward.