So, the Mets are in the market for a new manager much sooner than anyone anticipated they would be. They took their time in their first go-round and the result of that deliberate process was a giant failure. Now, with Spring Training less than a month away, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the Mets’ part to get a new guy in charge. We’ve heard some speculation. But while the beat writers for the Mets speculate, we hear that the Astros are setting dates for their managerial interviews. After what went on in Houston that started all of this, one could be forgiven for thinking that we don’t want to copy their M.O. But it also seems … strange … that all there is now is speculation.
There were at least four rounds of interviews before Carlos Beltran was picked as manager. If memory serves, four candidates went through that many. Along with Beltran, there was Joe Girardi, Eduardo Perez and Derek Shelton. Girardi and Shelton have landed other gigs. So, why not just hire Perez and be done with it?
Maybe Perez bombed in the interview that included the Wilpons. Or maybe Perez’ new ESPN contract is one that neither he nor the Mets have any interest in breaking right now. Or maybe the multiple rounds of interviews was nothing but a sham. Perhaps the Mets went into the process intent on hiring Beltran and only let the interviews go on as long as they did to try to add some legitimacy to Beltran’s case, as he had never managed in the majors or minors previously.
There was a movie that I can’t recall the title which had a similar scenario. There was some kind of trial – not a regular every day one but perhaps a Supreme Court-type trial – where the judges retired to chambers to deliberate. Except instead of deliberating, the guy in charge immediately announces what the verdict is going to be and then tells them how long the “deliberations” will last before they announce their sentence. If anyone knows that movie, please tell me the title in the comments section.
Since Perez doesn’t seem like Beltran’s replacement, how do the Mets handle the process this time around and who gets considered? We’ve heard rumors that Luis Rojas is “getting serious consideration” for the job. Rojas, who’s been with the Mets in one capacity or another since 2007, would seem to be a good choice. Of course he wasn’t a finalist the first time around, which makes one wonder how he improved his resume in the last two months to be a better fit than Perez.
My opinion is that if Perez isn’t your guy, than you have to go outside anyone who was considered in the first go-round. Maybe that’s Buck Showalter or Dusty Baker. Shoot, someone check in on Davey Johnson and see if he’s up for a one-year contract. Some fans have floated Terry Collins as a possibility. Fortunately, the Mets have already squashed that idea.
There hasn’t been a lot of clarity or transparency this offseason. But one thing we can say beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the Mets don’t want Collins to have any role with either high visibility or day-to-day power. First he was nixed as Beltran’s bench coach and now he’s been nixed as glorified interim manager. Hey, it’s not like he would be my choice for a position of power, either. It’s just a surprise to me about how adamant the Mets are on these points.
Regardless, the next manager may not be likely at all to get a three-year deal that Beltran initially received. While the settlement means the Mets won’t be responsible for paying Beltran the (roughly) $3 million he was to receive over the life of his contract – instead they made a low six-figure donation to Beltran’s charitable foundation – there’s a new wrinkle to the universe to consider.
After hiring Beltran in early November, news broke right before Christmas that the Wilpons were in advanced negotiations to sell majority interest in the team to billionaire Steve Cohen. Now, the sale is not complete. And even when the documents are signed, initial reports are that it would be under a five-year phase-in plan.
But it’s hard to imagine that any big move isn’t at least discussed with Cohen before it happens. Would he have to give his blessing for a three-year managerial deal? My guess is yes. A further guess is that it would be easier all the way around to hire someone on a short-term contract. Which is maybe why the greybeards like Baker and Showalter are now under consideration.
The last thing a completely in control Brodie Van Wagenen would do would be to consider a control freak like Showalter. That’s why he wasn’t under consideration for the job initially. But now, after a failed managerial hire and with new ownership on the horizon, Van Wagenen isn’t the golden boy he was back in September. He had a great relationship with the Wilpons after all the deals they did together when Van Wagenen was an agent. But he has no such relationship – that we know of – with Cohen.
If Cohen looks at the objective record, will the J.D. Davis and Marcus Stroman deals and the 2019 Draft be enough to convince him that Van Wagenen is the right guy for the job? Maybe it will. Or perhaps Cohen’s first order of business will be to get someone else in as the new GM. And what do new GMs like to do? They like to trade prospects of the old GM and they like to hire their own manager.
Maybe paying multiple managers will not be an issue with Cohen’s checkbook. But it’s part of the reason why my expectation is that the new manager will receive a shorter-term contract than Beltran did. Whoever the team hires, and for however long that may be, let’s get the deal done before Spring Training starts.