New York Mets Manager Search
On October 3rd the New York Mets fired manager, Mickey Callaway. Callaway who never managed at any level before lasted just two years in New York. After leading the Mets to an 86-76 record this past year Callaway’s record stood at two games over .500 in his brief Mets career.
According to General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets are a win-now mode so hiring a new manager with experience would be the right thing to do. Callaway was a first-time manager when he was hired two years ago and he struggled in his first season.
Losing out on Girardi
Reportedly the Mets interviewed eight candidates and only one has previous managerial experience. Joe Girardi was the overwhelming choice of the fans. Girardi has experience and more importantly managed the crosstown New York Yankees. Girardi also has experience dealing with high expectations and also the local media.
Joe Girardi has just been announced as the next manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Not only did the Mets not hire Girardi but he goes to a division rival. So the Mets are in a division where their rivals are flourishing. Despite getting knocked out of the playoffs the Atlanta Braves have won two straight division titles. The Phillies just immediately improved their team by hiring the experienced Girardi as their new manager. Oh, and the Washington Nationals are two wins away from winning the World Series.
Can it get any worse for the New York Mets and their fans?
Besides Girardi, the Mets interviewed seven other candidates. The list includes former Mets players Carlos Beltran and Tim Bogar, former MLB players Eduardo Perez and Skip Schumaker, Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, Mike Bell who is the director of player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Luis Rojas who is a very respected person in the Mets organization.
In typical Mets madness, they have brought back almost everyone on their original list for a second interview. If Van Wagenen needs help understanding this process after the first interview you are supposed to eliminate half your list. The second interviews are supposed to be for the standout candidates. Just maybe Van Wagenen has not been impressed enough to eliminate any candidate.
Nats 1B coach Tim Bogar interviews with the Mets today as they enter the 2nd round. Also in play for Mets: Carlos Beltran, Eduardo Perez, Derek Shelton, Luis Rojas, unknown bombshell candidate
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 24, 2019
Agent Turned GM
Brodie Van Wagenen was one of the most powerful agents in baseball. From 2012 into 2018 he was Co-Head of CAA Sports’ Baseball division. On October 29th, 2018 Van Wagenen gave all that up to become the General Manager of the New York Mets. The Mets hired him despite Van Wagenen never having any kind of front-office position for any Major League Baseball organization.
With no track record, the feeling among Mets fans is that Van Wagenen is not qualified to make this decision. Van Wagenen did not renew the contract of Single-A manager Edgardo Alfonzo. This is after leading his team to a Single-A championship. Alfonzo was told that Van Wagenen wanted to bring in his own people and was offered another position within the Mets organization.
The Mets have told Edgardo Alfonzo his contract won’t be renewed. Alfonzo was manager at Class A Brooklyn, which won the New York-Penn League championship this season.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) October 17, 2019
It wouldn’t be the Mets if there was not something crazy in the works. Andy Martino reported that there is a mystery bombshell candidate to become the next Mets manager. For the last couple of days, the New York media has had a lot of fun at the Met’s expense by playing up to Martino’s report.
The potential names of candidates have ranged from the acceptable to the longshots to the crazy and of course the ludicrous. One of the craziest of names to be mentioned is Van Wagenen himself. After all most Met fans think he manages the team anyway.
One person connected to team has said a “bombshell candidate” is in the mix if a clear favorite does not emerge from the current group. Have fun with that one. No way David Wright would ever do this so don’t go down that road btw
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) October 22, 2019
In the Lead
No one knows who is actually the first name on top of Van Wagenen’s list. Depending on who you talk with there would be a different name spoken. There is also the rumor that current Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch is that top name. Hinch who is currently managing in the World Series is a close friend of Van Wagenen’s.
Shelton and Bell have interviewed with other teams. Beltran has already said he only wants to manage the Mets. It is not known if Bogar, Perez, and Schumaker have interviewed for any other teams. The Mets are content to be patient and work at their own pace. They did have their second interview with Girardi last night and today Girardi is off the market.
Or perhaps Van Wagenen does have this mystery bombshell candidate or a secondary list of candidates. Maybe not one of the eight candidates has impressed Van Wagenen enough to get the job.
Hear Mets will not be rushed no matter where other searches stand. Philly seems further along, and Girardi has decent chance there — but word is an offer to anyone from another team won’t speed up the Mets’ process. Reportedly Beltran, Perez Bogar also still in Mets mix
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 21, 2019
While it is certainly understandable Van Wagenen wants to hire his own people. But the idea should be to get the best manager possible. Any manager with experience would be hard-pressed to let a General Manager have input into game decisions. So candidates such as Girardi, Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker would not be Van Wagenen’s choice.
Van Wagenen would be able to convince first-time managers to let him dictate in-game decisions. This is certainly the trend around Major League Baseball. The analytics of the game is dictating everything from lineup construction to game decisions to free-agent signings. Van Wagenen wants a collaborator more than a guy who will make decisions on his own.
With Girardi no longer an option it appears the Mets are going to go with another first time manager. Alex Cora was a first-time manager in 2018 when he led the Boston Red Sox to a World Series victory. So it is possible to strike gold. Van Wagenen needs to strike gold. If not this will be the last manager he ever hires for the Mets.