The Mets will be interviewing Joe Girardi this week for the open manager’s position. Or, is it that Joe Girardi will be interviewing the Mets…
The Mets have interviews scheduled this week with former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, former Met Carlos Beltran and Diamondbacks Director of Player Development Mike Bell for their open manager job, according to multiple reports.
Seeing Girardi’s name as the first candidate on the interview list is not a surprise to any Mets fan who has following the team since the dismissal of Mickey Callaway.
As we’ve chronicled here, candidates are still coming out from nowhere, but Girardi seems to attract the most attention.
And why not? Replacing the iconic Joe Torre, Girardi spent (some say survived) a full decade as the manager of the Yankees. He worked his way up the ladder to command $16 million over four years in his final contract with the team.
In 2017, Girardi led the Yankees to within one swing of a bat of reaching their first World Series appearance since 2009. Ironically, Girardi was unceremoniously dumped at the end of that season in favor of a “new look” manager, Aaron Boone.
Girardi’s record as a manager speaks for itself. And if you wish to, you can uncover little nuggets of information that demonstrate his abilities with in-game decisions.
For instance, after MLB granted managers the right to challenge calls on the field in 2014, Joe Girardi was successful 75% of the time he challenged an umpire’s ruling.
Girardi Is An Open Book – How About The Mets
With nothing to really discuss there, where does the interview with Brodie Van Wagenen go?
They can talk about Girardi’s like or dislike of analytics, and the degree to which he will permit statisticians to enter his domain as the field general of his team. Van Wagenen can also pick Girardi’s brain to find out what he sees as the strengths and weaknesses of the team going into 2020.
But overall, Joe Girardi is a well-known commodity in baseball. He is what he is, and you take him or leave him at that.
This leads me to believe it will be Girardi turning the tables on Van Wagenen with a ton of questions about the Mets. And especially, questions about the Met’s hierarchy and that “Evil Empire” commonly known as The Wilpons.
Remember, Girardi is used to working with the well-oiled Yankee’s tandem of Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman. It wasn’t all good, but the triangle was never broken.
Mets On The Offense Or Defense
So, Girardi wants to know the specifics on things like whether or not he will be consulted before roster moves and trades are consummated. Will he retain the right to appoint all of his coaches?
Will he be instructed to play individual players, like Robinson Cano and Yoenis Cespedes? Can he use an Opener at will? And so on.
Joe Girardi has innate power, and he can be expected to wield it in several directions.
Take another candidate like Carlos Beltran, who has no experience as a manager, and the conversation takes a different turn. The Mets want to know how Betran feels about using his bullpen.
Does he like to hit-and-run? Does he favor a set lineup, and what are his thoughts on disciplining players who cross the line?
The onus, therefore, is on Beltran and other candidates like him to sell himself to the Mets. Whereas Joe Girardi doesn’t need to. The Mets (presumably) want him. The only question that remains is, does Girardi want the Mets?
On that front, Girardi is reportedly set to interview with the Chicago Cubs, and the job left vacant by Joe Maddon. Girardi has sought the opportunity to interview. He has family ties in the area, and he was born and raised in Peoria.
Girardi also goes into the interview with a built-in trust of the Cub’s organization to do the right thing, as he explains below. Does he have the same trust in the Mets organization?
On the other hand, Girardi, his wife, and three children have a home they bought in Purchase, New York, for $1.25 million in 2005. The commute to Citi Field will take 30-45 minutes one-way, depending on traffic over the Whitestone Bridge.
Girardi In The Driver’s Seat
Joe Girardi will manage somewhere in 2020. He’s bored with the TV analyst job, and he wants back in.
The pitfalls within the Mets job are many and well known. Girardi, if he is offered and takes the responsibility, will become the Mets third manager in as many years.
But, unlike the Cubs who are close to overhauling their roster, the Mets offer stability on the field with young and productive players all over the place.
To put it another way, he could be Joe Torre walking into the powerhouse that Gene Michaels had pre-assembled for him.
This is an interesting one, with both sides waving a caution flag. Joe Girardi, Manager of the New York Mets, does have a nice ring to it, though…