The Mets sweepstakes are underway to find the “right man” for the job of taking the 2020 team over the top. Here’s a snapshot of four more candidates…
The 2020 Mets will be defined by Brodie Van Wagenen’s selection to succeed Mickey Callaway as manager. Yesterday, we looked at four candidates (Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran) Van Wagenen may or may not consider interviewing for reasons stated. Here are four more:
Snapshots – Four More Mets Manager Candidates
Brad Ausmus was fired last week by the Angels after only one season managing the team. The Angels have always been under a cloud as the “other team” in Los Angeles. They finished 18 games under .500, a full 35 games behind the division-leading Houston Astros.
The team did, however, have the fifth-highest attendance in the major leagues, attracting 3,023,000 fans to the Big A. And therein might be the problem with a team not feeling any financial pressure to win.
Ausmus was let go with two years remaining on his contract. Youngish at 50, Ausmus managed the Detroit Tigers for four years that included an AL Central Division title.
The Angels’ eyes opened widely when Joe Maddon and the Cubs parted ways, and it appears that Ausmus was fired because he is not Maddon.
Ausmus has experience in big-league front offices. But that can work as a negative if Van Wagenen sees him as a threat to his job as general manager.
A dark horse, but still someone Van Wagenen should look at.
Bob Geren is the bench coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has ties to the Mets dating back to 2012, and he was Terry Collins‘ bench coach for the Mets 2015 run to the World Series.
Knowledgable and experienced in all facets of baseball, Geren checks all the boxes. If Van Wagenen places a high value on a manager with analytics skills, Geren is his man, coming from the Dodger’s crazed reliance on that tool.
A “young” 58, Geren managed the Oakland A’s for five seasons ending in 2011. The team’s best finish was second, but that was before Billy Beane worked his charm on the team in Oakland we see today.
Geren would be a safe choice for Van Wagenen because (to repeat) he does check all the boxes.
He would be greeted by fans of the Mets with a ho-hum attitude that suggests – “Okay, we have a manager. Now Brodie, build us a pennant-winning team”.
Geren is not among the names most mentioned, which is another reason it’d be a good idea to keep an eye out for him to emerge from the dust.
Buck Showalter is known throughout baseball for the intensity he brings to the ballpark every day.
That’s strike one, two, and three – reducing the chances of Showalter as the Mets next manager almost to zero. Mets players have proven they don’t need mommy looking over their shoulders. In that light, though, it would be fun to see the “connection” between Showalter and Robinson Cano.
That’s not to say Showalter isn’t qualified for the job. Arguably, of all the candidates, Showalter is the absolute best at in-game managing. Stuck with the sorry excuse for a ballclub Baltimore Orioles, no matter what he could muster up in terms of strategy proved fruitless.
Given a good team like the Mets are expected to be in 2020, Showalter will deliver. Proof lies in the Arizona Diamondbacks 100-62 first-place finish in 1999 with Showalter at the helm and the 2014 Orioles team he took to the postseason.
Showalter’s only chance at managing the Mets is if Van Wagenen wants to decidedly replace Callaway’s much-heralded issues with in-game decisions with a pro.
Interestingly though, Showalter is not being bashful about his desire to be interviewed by Van Wagenen, with various news sources reporting that while he’s “not going to campaign for the job,” he’d like to be in the mix.
Nevertheless, Showalter is the Field General type in the military sense of the word. Is he a fit that way for this Met’s team? Opinions will vary, but Brodie’s is the only one that counts.
For Tony Pena to be listed here, I went back to some of the candidates who were considered by Sandy Alderson before he settled on Mickey Callaway.
Pena’s strength is the respect he commands, wherever he lands in baseball. A man’s man, Pena is a former bench coach of the New York Yankees.
From 2002-2005, Pena managed the Kansas City Royals, finishing first as AL Manager of the Year in 2003, despite a third-place finish by his team. Pena is, however, credited as the manager of the team from the Dominican Republic that won the 2013 edition of the Baseball World Classic.
At 62, Pena is probably at the high-end of someone Van Wagenen might want to lead the young Mets, but it’s not a knockout punch.
In all likelihood, Pena is not a name on the tip of Van Wagenen’s lips. So, someone would have to whisper something is Brodie’s ear before Pena is considered.
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