Mets fans are awaiting Van Wagenen’s first round of interviews for the manager’s job. Here are profiles of a few under the radar candidates…
The Mets job opening for a new manager is attracting a substantial list of qualified candidates. Brodie Van Wagenen may or may not elect to interview all of the names that have surfaced.
In previous articles, we covered all the big names as well as those appearing in the second tier. Today, we’ll take a look at a few of the “Dark Horse” candidates who are not receiving prime time attention. Mickey Callaway once occupied a seat in this group.
David Cone became a New York Met in 1987 via a trade with the Kansas City Royals. He logged 200 or more innings for five straight seasons, and in 1988 pitched to a 22-3 record, finishing third in the Cy Young award balloting.
Without getting any more profound, everyone agrees Cone was a dominant and stellar pitcher in his time.
Anyone who watches Yankee games on the YES Network where Cone serves as an analyst understands the depth of his insight for baseball. Regularly, Cone conducts a pitching clinic during games.
Unfortunately, that’s where it ends. Cone, if hired, would follow in the mold of Callaway, who came on board with a wealth of pitching knowledge and experience, but zero time as a manager in the big leagues or anywhere else.
Cone has never indicated a desire to return to baseball in uniform, and he appears quite comfortable in his current role as a TV analyst.
It appears that Cone’s legion of fans, of which I am included, is the only one pushing his candidacy. His chances are relegated to how deep Van Wagenen is going into the barrel of names he selects for an interview.
If Cone gets a sit-down with Van Wagenen – you never can tell, and the two just might hit it off.
Joe Espada is currently the bench coach for A.J. Hinch and the Houston Astros. As such, the Astros need to permit teams to talk to Espada.
They did so last year when, somewhat surprisingly, Espada did not get any of the six managerial openings. He interviewed with the Twins, Angels, Rangers and Blue Jays.
Espada has no previous ties to the Mets. He is, however, a familiar name in New York, having served on Brian Cashman’s staff as a Special Assistant to the Yankees GM in 2014. Espada left that post in 2017 to join the Astros.
Bench coaches are generally well-respected throughout baseball, and the success of the Astros in recent years has to rub off on Espada.
Espada is of Puerto Rican descent and is in his early fifties.
Almost assuredly, Van Wagenen will call him in for an interview. In the meantime, though, Van Wagenen should be checking on his sources within the four teams who interviewed but did not hire Espada last year. There have to be reasons…
It may be that Robin Ventura missed the boat in 2017 when he rejected several offers from teams who would welcome him with open arms as their manager. Ventura had just completed six seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, not once appearing in the postseason.
In comments Ventura made when he stepped down as manager of the White Sox, Ventura sounded winded and just as much in need of a change as the team he managed:
Ventura spent time with both the Mets and Yankees as a player. He had a knack for hitting grand-slam home runs, finishing tied with Willie McCovey at fifth-place on the all-time list with 15.
There’s nothing remarkable about Robin Ventura; On the flip side, he has no recognizable detractors either. Ventura would be a pedestrian choice by Van Wagenen.
No harm, no foul.
A Couple Of Quickies
John Gibbons has seemingly gone out of his way to maintain ties to the New York Mets. At one point this past season, he sneaked into one of the ceremonies honoring the 1986 Mets team. Or, so the story goes.
As a player from 1984-86 for the Mets, does that mean Gibbons never received an invitation?
Gibbons has all the managing experience one can ask, having spent eleven seasons as the skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays. He finished his tenure there at four games over .500 with one first-place finish in the AL East in 2015.
He’s another pedestrian, off the baseball street candidate.
Here’s one out of left field – but you never know…A.J. Hinch
“The Astros manager is Brodie Van Wagenen’s close friend, and industry speculation has swirled for months that the Mets might try to trade for him. This one is likely to remain an interesting rumor, though. Folks familiar with the situation say that while Hinch might be ready for a new challenge, a manager trade would simply be too complicated, and too much of a longshot. ” (SNY-TV))
Mets 2020 – Summing Up
Together with previous articles posted on Reflections On Baseball, that just about closes the book on candidates so far. Stay tuned for updates as the process moves along.
Please – don’t anyone mention the name Wally Backman…