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The Mets' needs then and now and in between was Buck Showalter...
The Mets closed their disappointing season with a whimper after the club announced they had fired manager Buck Showalter
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets finished their 2023 season with a 9-1 blowout loss to the Phillies (box)
RHP José Butto had a solid end to his season giving up just two runs in six innings. Over his last five starts he had a 3.29 ERA and allowed two or fewer runs in four of those starts
LF Tim Locastro accounted for all of the Mets runs when he hit his second home run of the year. In each of his last four seasons he has hit two home runs
RHP Denyi Reyes was ineffective in relief, giving up five runs in 2.1 innings pitched
Anthony Kay struggled once again and gave up two runs in 0.2 innings
Before the game manager Buck Showalter announced that he and the organization will be parting ways (story)
The Mets will hold a press conference on Monday to introduce David Stearns as their new president of baseball operations
Buck Showalter was the manager the Mets needed, but not the one to lead them in the future… ✍️
The Buck stopped on Sunday morning.
With the close of the 2023 season, the Buck Showalter era came to an end after two tumultuous seasons. As high were the highs of the 2022 season, the lows were incredibly low in 2023 and Showalter has paid the ultimate price with his job.
Even after a successful campaign in 2022, it ended on a sour note with a collapse down the stretch, an early exit in the playoffs, and one of their biggest stars leaving for greener pastures elsewhere in Jacob deGrom. Even with the disappointing finish, Showalter deservedly was named Manager of the Year and deGrom praised his former skipper for changing the culture around the team.
That more than anything else should be Showalter’s legacy, not what ultimately transpired in 2023 which was less his doing and more the owner’s and the front office’s.
Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Brandon Nimmo had nothing but praise for their manager following the club’s announcement on Sunday. All three owned the problems which led to Showalter’s dismissal, and all three have very close relationships with the now former Mets manager. Lindor and his daughter Kalina were especially close with him, and he was on the record saying he did not want Showalter fired. This core group got a taste of what a winning season feels like and what they are capable of when they are playing at their best. When things went wrong in 2023, there was never any proven internal finger pointing or rumors of discontent in the clubhouse.
Showalter always served as a strong shield for his club, and while he sometimes made some curious and defensive comments to the media, he handled his job with professionalism and proved to be a great ambassador for the club.
It just didn’t go well in the end but unfortunately, the one guarantee for any professional sports manager or head coach is that eventually, he or she will be replaced.
Sunday was Buck’s day.
But while Showalter was the manager to provide some stability with a veteran-laden clubhouse before the 2022 season, it was clearly the right time to wipe the slate totally clean with David Stearns coming in as the new President of Baseball Operations. As Mets Owner and CEO Steve Cohen said on Sunday, he has the right in his job to bring in his own people and surround himself with a trustworthy core in both his front office and field staff, and whether he deserved to be let go or not, Buck became a victim of that circumstance.
But with the Mets transitioning into a younger club, a new voice, a different energy and perhaps a more modern thinker who has more experience dealing with today’s younger players might be the right figure to install at the head of the dugout.
None of this should diminish what Showalter brought to and gave the club over the last two years. His celebrated arrival brought such great short-term promise and hope that he could turn 2021’s flop into immediate success with Mr. Cohen’s spending power, and he nearly did before the club flamed out. He has had a great career and his legacy should not be tainted by one disappointing season in Queens.
Now, it remains to be seen if Eppler will survive this staff purge and who else gets the boot.
The Mets will soon be hiring their fifth manager since the departure of Terry Collins after the 2017 season. Mickey Callaway (2018-2019), Carlos Beltrán (2020-2020), Luis Rojas (2021-2022) and Showalter (2022-2023) have demonstrated a less than stable infrastructure in the Mets dugout over the last five years, so in a new manager the Mets should also be looking to create such stability in an effort to establish a consistent cultural and philosophical plan for whoever is on the near-term roster.
Who might that be? That’s a question for another day.
Around the League 🚩
Former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield passed away at the age of 57 after battling brain cancer
Future hall of famers Miguel Cabrera and Terry Francona ended their careers facing off against each other in Detroit - the Tigers beat the Guardians 5-2
With a win in their final game of the season, the Astros won the American League West thanks to their tiebreaker over the Rangers - Texas instead settled for a wild card
Miami’s Luis Arraez captured the batting title in back-to-back seasons and joined DJ LeMahieu as the only players in the modern era to do it in both leagues
The Braves tied the major league record for home runs in a single season by hitting 307 dingers in 2023 following their 10-9 loss to the Nationals
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was acritical of the Yankee organization after the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016. New York finished with an 82-80 record in 2023