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Report: Mets hire Carlos Mendoza, not Craig Counsell, to be next manager
After weeks of smoke pointing to Craig Counsell, the Mets have hired Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza to be their next manager according to reports.
There’s a new skipper in town, and it’s not the one you think.
After weeks of building smoke and dots being connected to Craig Counsell, the Mets have hired Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza as their new manager, according to multiple reports.
The moment that the Mets hired David Stearns away from the Brewers to become the club’s first President of Baseball Operations, all signs seemed to point to the team inevitably hiring Craig Counsell away, as well, to pair with him. It made a ton of sense, with the two having been working together since the start of 2015 and overseeing one of the most successful runs in Milwaukee franchise history, sharing a similar philosophy and vision for the game of baseball. But somewhat shockingly, that will not, in fact, be coming to fruition.
And it won’t even be because Counsell decided to stay home, because the veteran manager is headed to the Cubs, who already had a manager, according to Jeff Passan.
As far as Carlos Mendoza is concerned, he is definitely a lesser known quantity for the average baseball fan. Mendoza, 43, has been the Yankees bench coach since the start of the 2019 season and had been with the organization as a coach since 2009.
Mendoza reportedly impressed during the hiring process, interviewing with both the Mets and the Giants (who ultimately hired Bob Melvin). Mendoza has also been a candidate for the Tigers, Red Sox and White Sox managerial openings over the last few seasons.
For the Mets, they are pivoting from their approach to hire a veteran manager in Buck Showalter as they did two seasons ago and instead went with a first-timer. This is the fourth time since 2018 that the Mets have hired a manager with no prior experience, with Mickey Callaway and Carlos Beltrán/Luis Rojas (this should really just count as one) coming before him.
While Mendoza is more of an unknown to most Mets fans, the fact of the matter is that for the first time under the Steve Cohen era, the Mets finally have the infrastructure in place that they have been seeking since the day he purchased the club. Prior to this point the front office structure had never been what Cohen had in mind for the blueprint of this franchise, often times having to going with options like Sandy Alderson, who he likely needed to hire to get ownership approval to buy the team, or guys like Zack Scott and Billy Eppler, all secondary selections as Cohen continued to play the long game and wait for Stearns.
You could make the argument that Cohen has “wasted” some time in his waiting, though there is something to the fact that he came into this ownership regime knowing that there would not be a short-term fix to the wasteland that the Wilpons left in their wake, and that waiting for the perfect leader at the helm of the organization was much more likely to be a better long-term plan than hiring the next-best available President of Baseball Operations that likely wouldn’t have been as good of a fit. Despite this, Cohen still put a massive amount of capitol for the club to compete and win in the meantime as they waited to get things into a perfect place.
This hire also marks the first time in this Cohen era that the front office and manager will ever truly be in lockstep with each other, as there has been a revolving door of GMs and managers that were never meant to pair together. From Luis Rojas and Zack Scott to Billy Eppler and Buck Showalter, these were never the optimal pairings for this Mets team. They were either never supposed to have been in those positions in the first place (this applies to both Rojas and Scott), or they just never truly saw eye-to-eye with clashing philosophies as the post-Showalter firing stories proved.
Now, with Stearns entering the fold and hand-selecting his own manager with full autonomy in the decision, the New York Mets should finally be operating at full capacity. And while it certainly isn’t the candidate that most people expected – even here at Just Mets had to delete a fully written “Mets hire Craig Counsell” article this morning – that doesn’t always mean it’s going to be a negative.
With the regime in place from the front office to the dugout, a newly bolstered farm system and an owner with pockets deeper than this sport has ever seen, this is truly the start of the future that Steve Cohen has been planning for over the last several years. And that alone has a lot of exciting possibilities…
This post is being updated as news comes in…