With Mickey Callaway out as Mets manager, the team’s search for his replacement will start almost instantly. Brodie Van Wagenen has already said the team has an “expansive” list of names to consider, and speculation has already run rampant about who the Mets might bring in as the 22nd manager in team history.
But because these are the Mets, we don’t exactly know what they’re even looking for in their next manager, so it’s hard to even feign a guess at all the possibilities they’re looking at. The Wilpons like the big names, but will they be willing to pay for one? They also would probably like a cheaper, lower-level candidate who would be more willing to take marching orders from those above, but after Callaway’s tactical disasters, do they want someone more experienced?
Van Wagenen has not exactly lent us much light on what they’re looking for either, declaring that he will look at managers with experience at the major league level and minor league level, as well as “out of the box ideas.” In other words, they’re considering everything. So based on what we know and what has already been rumored, let’s have a look at some of the possibilities the Mets could be looking at, and speculate on what some of the “out of the box” ideas they might be talking about are.
The Big Names
The biggest early favorite for the job at the moment appears to be Joe Girardi. No stranger to the New York media, Girardi would grab the most headlines, and the two sides have reportedly been interested in each other for a while.
Before landing his Pirates gig, Hurdle was interviewed for the Mets’ managerial opening in 2010, and does have connection in the organization from his playing days. Hurdle had trouble maintaining the clubhouse in his later years in Pittsburgh, and is not known for being a great tactical manager.
Maddon is a free agent, but all signs point to him going to the Angels. There has not been much rumored between him and the Mets.
If you want an experienced manager, it doesn’t get much more experienced than Showalter. He’s managed over 3,000 games for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Orioles in a career that started in 1992. He’s a three-time Manager of the Year, but has never won a World Series. Showalter took 2019 off from managing, but did express interest in managing the Mets.
You’re not going to hire a more well-respected manager than Baker. He has managed nearly 3,500 games and is 227 games over .500 for his career. He currently works as an analyst on TBS, but was most recently the manager for Washington in 2017. Baker had a reputation as a bad in-game manager for his stints with the Cubs and Reds, but did much better work with the Nationals.
Matheny was the manager in St. Louis for six seasons, making it to a World Series in 2013. He oversaw several winning seasons, but was run out of town halfway through the 2018 season due to spats with certain players on the team, and poor tactical decisions that Cardinals fans lamented for years.
The Less Experienced Candidates
Espada is viewed as a hot managerial candidate for several teams. He is currently the bench coach for the Astros under AJ Hinch, the same position Alex Cora was in when he was hired by the Red Sox. Van Wagenen and Hinch have had a well-documented relationship, so this feels like a real possibility.
Rojas has been in the Mets’ organization since 2007. Starting as a coach in the DSL, he has worked his way up the organization, managing the Savannah Sand Gnats, the GCL Mets, the St. Lucie Mets, and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, and was named a quality control coach for the big league team this year. Reports have been that the Mets are very high on Rojas, and he could get legitimate consideration for the job.
DeFrancesco has managed the Mets’ Triple-A affiliates the last two years, and gained attention for his viral clubhouse meeting where he informed Sam Haggerty and others of their September call-ups. The 56-year-old has MLB managing experience as the interim manager for the 2012 Astros. DeFrancesco has been managing throughout the minor leagues since 1994, and won Baseball America’s Minor League Manager of the Year for his work with the Fresno Grizzlies in 2015.
The Familiar Faces
McEwing has managed in the minors, and is currently the White Sox bench coach. He was interviewed the last time the Mets were looking for a manager, and given his relationship with the team, it wouldn’t be hard to see him get another look.
Acta was also interviewed for this job in 2017, and was strongly considered for the spot. He has been a favorite of ownership ever since he served as their third base coach in 2005 and 2006. Acta has managed Washington and Cleveland with limited success, and currently serves as the Mariners bench coach.
Ventura has not managed since 2016, when he resigned from the White Sox position after overseeing that famously disastrous clubhouse. Ventura was yet another candidate to replace Terry Collins a few years ago, but he dropped out of the running when he decided not to manage that season. It’s possible he’s changed his mind.
The “Out of The Box” Possibilities
Cone is currently an analyst for YES, but he has stated his interest in managing the Mets. Cone has been known to be a very astute and analytically-inclined broadcaster, but has no coaching or managerial experience.
For many, it would be a delight to see the best center fielder in franchise history manage the team. Beltran was a strong candidate for the Yankees managerial job two years ago, but was turned down. Ken Rosenthal brought up Beltran’s name a few days ago, and while reports have said that Beltran would not be not willing to manage the Mets, he said he would listen if they called him.
Alfonzo has been a presence around the Mets for years. He managed the Brooklyn Cyclones to their first New York - Penn League Championship since 2001 this year. He doesn’t have much experience, but Alfonzo is one of the most well-recognized, well-liked players in Mets history that fans will certainly appreciate.
An MLB Network personality, DeRosa was a surprising name to pop-up in the Mets’ last managerial search. DeRosa has not gotten any interviews or consideration elsewhere since, but it’s possible he left a lasting impression in his interview two years ago.
Al Leiter, John Franco, David Wright, Cliff Floyd, or any other former player
Van Wagenen has hired Franco, Wright, and Leiter into his front office, and we know that ownership likes these guys. Franco has thrown his hat into the ring himself, though Wright has admitted he has no interest in the spot. There’s no reason to think Leiter or Floyd are real possibilities at the moment, but you never know.
Taking “out of the box” speculation as far as we possibly can, Mendoza would be fascinating, to say the least. She works in the Mets’ front office as a special advisor to Van Wagenen, and by all accounts the organization seems to be pretty high on her. There hasn’t been any momentum for this publicly, but the Mets being the first professional baseball team at any level to hire a woman as a permanent manager would be really cool.
Collins still works for the organization and remains very well-liked by ownership. This team has done crazier things.