The Mets search for a President Of Baseball Operations may cause a delay in hiring a new manager. But If they want Showalter, don’t wait…
The Mets are stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place needing to fill openings for the top dog in their organization, a President of Baseball Operations, and a manager.
Ideally, the top spot is filled soon, and that person brings a manager in of his choosing.
But the baseball world does not wait, and sometimes Plan A has to become Plan B, which means if the Mets want the best, they need to move before then.
Competition For Showalter
The trouble is, though, the Mets are not the only team looking for a manager, and Showalter is already on the radar of the Padres, according to a report from ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Currently, the 65-year-old Showalter is an analyst for the MLB Network, but in an interview with The Athletic on Monday, he made it clear that, if approached, he would be interested in talking to both the Mets and Padres.
“They got a lot of good, qualified people to pick from. I don’t know (if I will be asked to interview). That’s not my decision, but I’d listen if they (the Padres or Mets) called. As I said, it’s an honor just to be mentioned.”
Buck Showalter: The Old School Mets Fit
Typically, when conversations about the managerial style of Showalter are being discussed; they always begin with the adjective “old school.”
They’re darn right, too. Showalter is old school but only within the framework of today’s new school of managing, but most importantly, a shot of old school is precisely what the Mets need.
Listen closely to the YouTube interview with Showalter (below) as he talks about his managerial philosophy, and you’ll see why. The video is from 2014, just before Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles entered that season’s playoffs.
Notice how Showalter emphasizes the need to go with the flow and the need to rely on his instincts, especially when a game is in progress.
How refreshing is that compared to the religious adherence to analytics we see in baseball today? Old school? No, Showalter. If hired by the Mets, it would be the New “new school” among managers today.
In listening and watching Showalter’s demeanor, I am also struck by the calm manner in which he pauses before jumping into an answer to each question.
It’s not that he’s looking for the correct sound bite or the safe way to answer; instead, he’s (imagine this) thinking.
Showalter may be “tough” by today’s standards, where players are coddled, rarely held accountable, and often seen to be mailing it in, but again, this is precisely what Luis Rojas either couldn’t or wouldn’t be for the Mets.
We also see Showalter talking extensively about what it takes to make it through the long grind of a baseball season, to the point where he recalls spending four days at the season’s end comfortable and grateful to just “stare at the walls or mowing his lawn.”
The Mets Need To Break The Rules
But here’s the thing that matters. Showalter will give his all – and he will not only expect, but he will also demand the same from his Mets players.
Across 20 seasons as a manager, Showalter has a record of 1,551-1,517. Since the departure of Terry Collins in 2017, the Mets have lacked stability, with numerous false starts in managers.
Showalter, if given the opportunity and a four-year contract, will provide the continuity that is required.
After all, the Mets are in a rebuilding mode (yes, folks, that’s what this is) and Showalter has been there before while also having the experience in leading teams forward to consecutive years of success in the postseason.
Showalter will only insist on having authority that pertains to the players he is given to lead and manage, considering that is enough to deal with, leaving no time to be involved in decisions made at the front office level.
Showalter will hire a new hitting coach, and he will rely on that person to tell him who’s listening and trying to improve – and who isn’t – and those players will quickly find a warm seat on his bench.
In sum, Buck Showalter is all business, and he takes his job and attached responsibilities seriously. There would be no need for time to learn on the job, as was the case with Rojas and Carlos Beltran if his hire had held.
Mets: There May Be Others But…
NorthJersey.com did, and others have followed with a list of qualified candidates for the Mets job as a manager, and Showalter is on all lists.
But for myself and hopefully the Mets, there is no better person for the job, and the Mets should move with alacrity to make that call to Showalter before the Padres and others do.
It’s going against the grain for the Mets to hire a manager, handing him to their next President of Baseball Operations without any input.
But while any new president might have someone else in mind for the job, they will have a tough time arguing that Showalter is not a good hire for the 2022 Mets.