The 2020 Mets will broadly be defined by their new manager. Choices are wide and varied. Here’s a rundown of obvious candidates and some not so obvious…
The Mets offseason has started with a bang. Like many fans, yesterday was the time for me for an emotional reaction to the firing of Mickey Callaway. I stand by that story – but the deed is done, and it’s time to move on.
To his credit, Brodie Van Wagenen has taken on considerable responsibility in selecting the third manager in as many years for the New York Mets. This Mets team is not the Kansas City Royals, the San Diego Padres, or the San Francisco Giants – all of whom are years away from winning it all – and in the marketplace for new managers.
The 2020 Mets are on the cusp of greatness. There are personnel decisions yet to be made, a fortification of the bullpen, and the acquisition of another starting pitcher if Zack Wheeler goes elsewhere. But overall, the team is set with enough talent to finish what was begun in 2019.
Van Wagenen’s selection will define his tenure and legacy with the Mets up or down. There is no in-between.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the apparent choices he can and probably will consider.
Girardi is the person most often mentioned in comments received from previous articles. Two years removed from his tenure with the Yankees, Girardi has had a soft landing, serving as a commentator on major networks.
He’s the only manager ever fired after taking his team to within one out of a World Series appearance in his final season with the Yankees. It stands to reason he might have a desire to get back in there with an “I told you so” mentality.
But does Girardi want the pressure of New York again? More specifically, does he want to place himself squarely between Van Wagenen and the Wilpons?
And finally, will Van Wagenen be comfortable with a high-caliber and independent force like Girardi working under and (in theory) for him?
Joe Maddon is one of the best baseball minds on the planet. He’s funny, concise, and honest.
His players know their role, and they know what Maddon expects from them. His success with the Cubs made baseball history, but he became worn in Chicago, just as with many of his players also have.
Maddon checks all the boxes for what the Mets need. But he is ticketed for the job in Los Angeles with the Angels, who unceremoniously fired Brad Ausmus after one season.
Van Wagenen will do well to ask Maddon to come in for an interview. You never can tell, and the two may hit it off. But again, Maddon is a high-powered baseball man – and the same question prevails. Is Maddon “too much” for Van Wagenen?
David Wright is someone whose name hasn’t yet surfaced as a candidate. Which is precisely why he could be a darkhorse hire by Van Wagenen.
Wright’s pedigree with the Mets is well-established, and fans of the Mets would universally accept his appointment.
Two essential questions arise, though. One, would Van Wagenen take the chance of hiring a manager with zero experience, repeating the same criticism made of Callaway when he was appointed? And second, does Wright even want the job?
David Wright has a job with the Mets already – even if no one can say what it is. He appears to be happy in the background and being able to stay close to his family.
And yet, given the torturous strain of injuries that forced him out of baseball, is there still a burning desire to wear a Met’s uniform once again?
Carlos Beltran is another under-the-radar candidate. Little mentioned in the parade of potential candidates, Beltran is widely respected throughout baseball, and his connection to the Mets is well known and (despite that called third-strike) adored by fans.
Beltran is a student of the game, and he knows baseball inside-out. He is fluent in both English and Spanish – a definite plus for any manager to have.
But then we come across these reports circulating on nj.com.
According to SNY Insider Andy Martino, a person who knows Carlos Beltran well says there’s “no chance” that the former outfielder manages the Mets or likely anyone else right now. Beltran had previously turned down a chance to interview with the Padres for their open managerial jobs, according to an MLB.com report.
On Thursday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal said Beltran would be a “fascinating” candidate for the manager.
We’ll have to wait and see on this one.
More To Follow
There are, of course, more names circulating in the rumor box. But we’ll save them for the next time.
Your thoughts and comments are encouraged.