Meet the Mets
Yesterday, Mets owner Steve Cohen broke the news via tweet that Buck Showalter has been hired to manage the Mets. Each of the three finalists (Showalter, Quatraro, and Espada) reportedly met with Cohen and GM Billy Eppler at Cohen’s Connecticut home for more than an hour and a half.
Steve Cohen’s initial plan was to wait until Monday to announce the hire, but the Mets’ owner was too excited to wait, reports Deesha Thosar of the Daily News.
Showalter’s three-year contract is the richest that has ever been given to a manager in team history.
Showalter, who has nearly two decades of managerial experience and has won Manager of the Year three times, was considered the frontrunner for the job. The Mets valued him because of this experience—after hiring managerial rookies in the recent past—and because he has managed in New York before, per Tim Britton of The Athletic.
As has been noted by many about Showalter: he has never won a ring, although he has made the postseason five times. And in fact, two of the teams he managed (the Yankees and Diamondbacks), won World Series titles immediately upon his departure. Now, he gets another chance to win a championship with a team who is built to win now, writes Justin Toscano of Northjersey.com.
Showalter was fired by George Steinbrenner in 1995 precisely because he lost a playoff series, despite the fact that it was the first time the Yankees had made the playoffs in 14 years. Watching the Yankees dynasty that followed has always stuck with him. “He’ll never admit how much it hurt him,” said a person close to him to SNY. “He’d be mad if he heard me say it. But winning it all with the Mets in New York might be the closest he could ever get to closing that wound.”
Although Showalter is a big name and a well-respected manager in the industry, questions remain about whether he will be willing to accept the level of front office influence that is now common in the game at the helm of a team that is trying to build up a reputation as a more analytically-forward franchise.
But on that topic, Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic received a text from a longtime Showalter staffer that read: “One little thing not many people know, back in 1987, Buck was asking for the stat pack from Howe Sports that had to be faxed to us, 20 pages of stats. He LOVES info. It’s a lazy take to say he doesn’t like analytics. He will wear those guys out.”
Of course, Showalter’s acumen as an in-game tactician is marked—fairly or unfairly—by his decision to not go to top reliever Zack Britton in the 2016 AL Wild Card game, for which he apologized after the fact. But Britton himself “100 percent” would play for Showalter again and many of Britton’s former Orioles teammates feel the same way about their former manager.
Around the National League East
As part of a series on the Nationals’ 2022 rotation, Federal Baseball takes a look at Paolo Espino, who showed promise in 2021 and will likely get another opportunity in 2022.
Around Major League Baseball
The Athletics—another team who was seeking to fill a managerial vacancy this offseason—are close to finishing up their hiring process and the favorite appears to be their current third base coach Mark Kotsay, according to reporting from Jon Heyman.
Baseball Prospectus ranked the Milwaukee Brewers top prospects.
Ichiro threw 147 pitches, topped out at 84mph on the radar gun, and struck out 17 batters against a high school girls baseball team in Japan.
Andrew Simon of MLB.com takes a look at the next five Hall of Fame ballots coming up.
This Date in Mets History
Happy birthday to the player that helped Gary Cohen coin the phrase “Chip Ambres Moment.”