Mets executive candidates for 2021

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NEW YORK – In various circumstances, hiring a manager would be the top priority for the Mets. And while it is true that the Mets are eager to name Luis Rojas’ replacement, their hiring of general manager Billy Eppler came so late in the offseason that they have aggressively turned to player acquisitions. This made the hiring of executives a second level problem.

Still, a hire is likely to happen sooner rather than later. Here are some possible candidates for the position:

Brad Ausmus
CV: Angels manager (2019); director of the Tigers (2014-17); Manager of the Israel team (2012); 18 years of playing career

As soon as the Mets named Eppler their GM, Ausmus became an obvious leadership contender. It was Eppler who hired Ausmus as Angels manager ahead of the 2019 season, and although that arrangement only lasted for a year, it was mainly because Angels owner Arte Moreno reportedly wanted to hire. Joe Maddon once he is available. If Eppler liked Ausmus once, he’s likely to like it again. It’s also worth noting that Ausmus is an alumnus of Dartmouth College, as are Mets president Sandy Alderson and his son, Deputy General Manager Bryn Alderson. And Ausmus spent a year managing new Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, with Detroit in 2014 providing a common thread between those two and Eppler.

The downside is that Ausmus holds a five-season losing record as a Major League manager, including multiple 90-game losing streaks.

Joe espada
CV: Marlins third baseman (2010-13); Yankees third baseman (2015-17); Astros Bench Coach (2018-present)

A ubiquitous leadership contestant in recent years, Espada was interviewed for the Angels job that went to Ausmus, the Rangers job to Chris Woodward, the Giants job to Gabe Kapler and the Cubs job to David Ross. Maybe New York is where the much-loved Espada breaks through and wins his first managerial job. With over a decade of experience in big league canoes, Espada understands the responsibilities of the role well even if it has never been used there. He has a brief managerial experience in the Puerto Rico Winter League, and was a two-time third baseman for the Puerto Rican team at the World Baseball Classic. But would Eppler hire him instead of the more experienced Ausmus?

Eric Chavez
CV: Yankees executive (2015); Executive of Angels (2016-18); director of the Angels minor league (2018); 17 years of playing career

Chávez and Eppler have a relationship dating back over a decade to when Eppler – then a Yankees executive – spotted and brought A’s longtime slugger to the Bronx. Eppler went on to play a role in driving Chávez into the Yankees and Angels offices. He and Eppler are clearly close. However, apart from a stint of around two months as interim manager at Anaheim’s Triple-A branch, Chávez has virtually no professional coaching experience. A newcomer who just needs experience, Chávez (who turns 44 this month) interviewed for the Angels job that went to Ausmus in 2019, and he recently interviewed for a job in the Yankees coaching staff.

Buck Showalter
CV: manager of the Yankees (1992-95); Responsible for D-backs (1998-2000); Director of Rangers (2003-06); Orioles Manager (2010-18)

If the Mets are looking for experience, Showalter has more of it than any other realistic candidate (as well as more than many active managers combined). When the Angels were looking to replace Ausmus ahead of the 2019 season, Eppler reportedly recommended Showalter to Moreno. He’s a media buff and understands New York as well as anyone, having worked there for four seasons. But there are concerns. During his last stop in Baltimore, Showalter produced just four winning years in eight full seasons on the job. His last winning record was in 2016, when he absorbed a lot of criticism for not using closest-star Zack Britton in a Wild Card Game the Orioles lost. There is also a perception in the industry that Showalter could bristle with the front office influence that permeates almost all dugout canoes these days.

It would be a risk for many reasons. But if the Mets are looking for added value, Showalter is clearly the guy.

Carlos beltrán
CV: Manager of the Mets (2019-20, but did not manage a match); Yankees Executive (2018-19); 20 years of playing career

This is certainly unlikely, but some within the Mets organization regret Beltrán’s sacking in early 2020 as they believe he would have made a strong manager. As Alex Cora proved in Boston, it’s possible to emerge virtually unscathed from the sign-stealing episode that rocked the two men. Underneath that stain remains one of the best baseball spirits of this generation, and one with disproportionate influence over many current players – especially fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor, the Mets shortstop. Beltrán can connect with modern players in a way that someone like Showalter or even Ausmus can’t. But it would be a tough hire from a PR standpoint given his relatively recent layoff.

For as long as Mike shildt is available, it will likely be linked to any managerial vacancy. Shildt is well respected in the game, although management in St. Louis is admittedly different from management in New York. … Raul ibanez has built a successful career in the league office, but many see him as a future manager. … Former skipper of the White Sox Rick renteria has made it known he would like to manage again, although that doesn’t mean the Mets will be interested. … Edouard Perez was a finalist the last time the Mets had an opening, albeit under a different front office. His communication skills are unmatched. … The fan favorite Joe McEwing has interviewed for the Mets job in the past. He is another highly respected baseball player; will he ever have his chance to occupy a high level position?


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