The New York Mets have gone through change since their two-year playoff contention window in 2015 and 2016. They won the division in 2015, knocking out the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. Then, they clinched a trip to the World Series, eventually losing to the Kansas City Royals. In 2016, the Mets clinched the Wild Card Game and lost to the San Francisco Giants. Since then, the playoffs have been a dream, and so has a consistent management crew. Since then, New York has gone through three heads of baseball operations and have been looking for their third manager. Now with the MLB in a league-wide lockout, the only item that can be addressed freely is the manager position.
This Season’s Challenges
The Mets had a lot of adjustments and tasks at hand planned for the 2021 season. A change in ownership certainly contributed immensely to the adjustment season. Steve Cohen purchased the franchise from the Wilpons in what has been a franchise-altering move. This was followed by the selection of Sandy Anderson to oversee the baseball operations. Jared Porter was subsequently hired to be the general manager. Zack Scott was also brought in to work under Porter. The first move under this new team was the Mets blockbuster trade to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. Porter was accused of workplace misconduct and expectedly cut loose. Scott was left at the helm for general manager duties.
The Mets battled through injury to many starters throughout the first half. This brought upon many replacements that were less than ideal. After the All-Star game and a limited trade deadline, the Mets could not hold the top spot in the division. The Mets only acquired Rich Hill, Trevor Williams, and Javier Baez at the deadline. Despite all three performing at par or better than expected, the Mets could not keep anything going.
Front Office Disaster
Scott was arrested and released for driving under the influence close to the season’s end. As a result, the Mets placed him on administrative leave. As a result, Anderson was forced to take over baseball operations himself which was not ideal. After the season ended, the Mets also allowed Luis Rojas to be relieved of his duties. Rojas accepted the third-base job across town with the New York Yankees. Now the Mets were left with two big holes going into the offseason; a manager and a new head of baseball operations to work under Anderson. New York filled the baseball operations role nicely with the hiring of former Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler.
The Mets are also facing a lot of pressure as the division is only going to have an open window for maybe one or two seasons. The Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, and Philadelphia Phillies all will likely contend as soon as 2022 or more likely in 2023. This means that the clubhouse leader has to make a significant change to help create a powerhouse to create a maintainable contender.
Candidates For Manager
Beltran, 44, actually managed the Mets for a short period of time before he was released due to the Astros cheating scandal. The former star has immense baseball knowledge and has yet to work in a coaching position. Beltran has been coached by several all-time greats. The Puerto Rican native has been mentored under the likes of Bruce Bochy, Joe Girardi, and Willie Randolph. The nine-time All-Star played for the Mets from 2005-2011, helping them to multiple playoff runs. He would be a rookie manager just like Rojas, which is the turnoff. The upside is that Beltran has immense baseball knowledge and would help New York over a transition period to the other side.
The 65-year-old is one of the more respected veterans in the MLB. A 21-year managerial veteran, Showalter has helped multiple franchises get over a transition hump. The impressive resume includes the crosstown rival New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Baltimore Orioles. Despite this, Showalter has never won a World Series. Currently an analyst, Showalter would likely welcome the opportunity to get back into the dugout and especially for a New York team. Cohen has been rumored to be targeting a manager like Showalter who has the experience and can help mesh a fresh blend of players together.
Another great baseball mind, Washington, has been one of the most beloved coaches in the league for decades. Currently, the third-base coach for the rival Atlanta Braves, Washington’s name has been tossed around for managerial openings. He most recently was quoted commenting on the San Diego Padres opening. The former shortstop was a manager for the Texas Rangers for seven seasons and had a .521 winning percentage over that period while taking the Rangers to the World Series twice. Prior to any managerial gigs, Washington also coached for the Oakland Athletics. Before any of his coaching jobs, Washington worked in the Mets organization for five seasons. So he has the Mets background and an excellent pedigree for a leader.
Hiring someone of this nature seems like a pipe dream. However, Wright helped lead the Mets to the playoffs three times in his 14 seasons. He was named the fourth captain in franchise history in 2013 and was also dubbed Captain America for his heroics in the World Baseball Classic. Now retired for three-plus seasons, it would pay to give the Mets legend a call to see if he would enjoy coming back in the dugout. Still just 38-years-old, Wright would also be one of the youngest managers in the league. On the flip side, he would have garnered some of the most respect of any manager that would come to Queens.
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