Buck Showlater shouldn't be guaranteed to remain Mets manager
David Stearns appears to be increasingly likely to become the Mets President of Baseball Operations. Plus, why Buck Showalter shouldn't be a lock to come back in 2024.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets were off on Thursday and return to action tonight in Minnesota
People around baseball believe that David Stearns will take the job to become the new President of Baseball Operations with the Mets (NY Post)
2B Jeff McNeil is ready and willing to remain versatile in order to accommodate for Ronny Mauricio in the big leagues (Newsday)
Why Kodai Senga should be in the Cy Young conversation (MLB.com)
Prospect Watch 🔎
OF Drew Gilbert (No. 2 prospect, Double-A): 3-for-4, 2 HR (17, 18), 3 RBI
SS Luisangel Acuña (No. 1 prospect, Double-A): 2-for-6, 2B, RBI, BB, run scored
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (64-75) vs. Twins (73-67)
Where: Target Field — Minneapolis, MN
Starting pitchers: RHP Kodai Senga (10-7, 3.08 ERA) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 5.06 ERA)
When: 8:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Buck Showalter shouldn’t be a lock to return in 2024 ✍️
Ever since Opening Day it’s generally been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season for the New York Mets.
By now you probably don’t need a full recap, but here’s the cliff notes anyway. They lost Edwin Díaz for the season at the WBC, lost José Quintana for 4 months in Spring Training, had to place Justin Verlander on the injured list on Opening Day, had awful starting pitching, an increasingly tired bullpen, a Jekyll and Hyde offense, a prospect in Brett Baty that was really struggling, an over-reliance on Daniel Vogelbach as the DH, dips in production from players like Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso took a long time to recover after getting drilled in the hand by a pitch, Max Scherzer was mostly ineffective and looked his age, and rightly so they finally decided to blow up the season by the trade deadline.
That’s a lot. And in all of that, we haven’t even gotten to the manager yet.
Look, it’s hard to blame Buck Showalter for everything bad that has happened this year – as you just read, there was a lot that went wrong that wasn’t in his control. But even with that said, you can still evaluate an individual’s performance on their own merit, and I’m not sure that anyone in this game would argue that New York’s skipper has had a quality season.
From bullpen management to strange decisions and quotes, it’s generally just been a weird year for Showalter. Where his biggest issue lies, in my opinion, is his handling of young players.
Even early on when the Mets were in contention, or at least thought that they were, you could make the argument that Francisco Álvarez and Brett Baty weren’t playing enough. In the case of Álvarez, when he finally did force his manager’s hand and was performing in a major way early in the year, he was still batting 8th or 9th on a near-daily basis despite being one of the club’s most prolific home run hitters at that time.
What is even more egregious, though, is how he has handled things in this post-deadline world. The Mets gave up on contending this season – trading six veteran players away in the final week of July signaled as much. It doesn’t mean that the team gives up and stops trying or goes for an all-out tank, but it does mean that you need to shift your priorities and try to do some evaluations of players for 2024 with some live, in-game opportunities. That rings especially true for the young players in this organization that are projected to play a major role in this team’s future.
Showalter’s comments to SNY broadcaster Gary Cohen saying that he is constructing his lineups differently based on if they’re playing contending teams vs non-contending teams was truly the icing on the cake for this issue. According to Cohen, an example of this would be allowing Brett Baty to play vs a left-handed pitcher against the Nationals, who are out of it, but likely sitting Baty in favor of someone else if they were playing a team going for it because the Mets supposedly “owe it” to the rest of baseball to do so.
That is the type of antiquated thinking that really makes fans frustrated. First off, the Mets have honestly been better and a more exciting product to watch when the group of Álvarez, Baty, Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio have been on the field together. And even if that wasn’t the case, the Mets only owe it to themselves to do what is right for their organization. Respectfully, screw the Dbacks or the Marlins or the Phillies or whoever else the Mets have left on their schedule.
All in all, I’m not saying that Buck should definitely be fired at the end of this season, but I do believe that there have been enough red flags this year for it to at least be under consideration. It has been implied in the past from owner Steve Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler that Showalter would be safe regardless of what happens down the stretch. Maybe that’s posturing, maybe that’s being respectful of Buck in public; it’s tough to say.
But what I do know is one thing: There is not a single member of this organization in the front office or on the coaching staff that should be guaranteed to keep their job based on what has happened this season. And again, it doesn’t mean everyone definitely has to go, but it all has to be on the table and evaluated fairly.
Around the League 🚩
The Dbacks reclaimed the final Wild Card spot in the National League after an exciting 6-2 win over the Cubs
Braves OF Ronald Acuña moved closer to a 40-40 season with two home runs in Atlanta’s 8-5 win over the Cardinals
Mariners RHP Luis Castillo dazzled over six innings to shut down the Rays and claim a 1-0 victory
Dodgers RHP Ryan Pepiot went 6.2 innings with a perfect game bid in tact as LA blew out the Marlins, 10-0
Dodgers OF Mookie Betts left the game in crutches as a precaution after fouling a ball off his foot