Why the Mets’ second managerial hiring process this offseason will be different than the first

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.

19 comments for “Why the Mets’ second managerial hiring process this offseason will be different than the first

  1. Chris F
    January 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    For all the reasons people speculated on why hiring someone with zero FO experience would be problematic, those concerns have been validated. I cheered the hire as a young, energetic, transparent, and full of desire to show how I can do this job enthusiasm would be the thing this team needed. I felt there was a desperate need to move on from the plodding, outdated, obfuscating, and deliberately obtuse approach needed the opposite; while I still feel that, I was wrong that the answer was in BVW.

    What we got was young and brash, but little else different from the last regime. No transparency. No integrated plan. The same level of dishonesty about how “win now” means you can burn anything and everything in the name of urgency, despite really not having “win now” resources. Hence, as I previously wrote, the need to bring in aging vets or injury rehabs with hopeful rebounding upsides (that list is long, but let’s just go with Cano, Porcello, Wacha, Frazier etc) instead of developing younger talent and finding it or moving on. That hasn’t changed. Neither has the backwards wind talking double speak. Neither has the lack of an integrated plan to fill holes and address long standing weaknesses. Essentially we have an impulsive narcissist at the wheel.

    So we ended up with a manager search that only seems to have caught ownership and the FO by surprise. Even the most casual baseball observer might have seen the need to ask Beltran about his role in the cheating scheme after the Athletic article surfaced, but not to the Mets if we are to believe reports that all BVW said was cooperate with MLB. The level of dereliction is astounding. Either he willfully did not want to know or he fully knew (or expected) and chose to stick his head in the sand and cross his fingers. Either way, his performance as GM is unacceptable.

    It would be great to get a baseball grown up somewhere in this system.

  2. Chris F
    January 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    …and this just in from Mike Puma at the Post

    Brodie Van Wagenen isn’t bashful about soliciting opinions from players in decisions affecting the Mets’ clubhouse, and among those voices, one might carry the most weight.

    Robinson Cano is officially the team’s second baseman, but, according to people familiar with the dynamic, he’s also on some level a consultant to the general manager whose views are considered when something as important as a managerial search arises. And for the second time this offseason, the Mets are searching for a manager.

    https://nypost.com/2020/01/18/robinson-cano-could-have-influence-on-mets-manager-search/?utm_medium=SocialFlow&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&sr_share=twitter&utm_source=NYPSportsTwitter

  3. TexasGusCC
    January 19, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Under Sandy Alderson, everything seemed organized, albeit weird. Alderson talked the usual Wilpon talk of playoffs, playoffs, playoffs, but dumpster dived with the best of them. When Hutchins was let go as a hitting coach, his venom was aimed at the Wilpons for not letting Alderson spend. It seems as though Selig’s advice for Wilpon to hire Alderson wasn’t received totally.

    So now, with Jeffy in charge, he hired his golf buddy and neighbor to run the franchise and right from the beginning we see wild extremes. If what Puma writes that BVW seeks Cano’s input on the manager is correct, then it explains why he had no problem overpaying to get him. Where is Jacob DeGrom’s opinion? How about Stroman, another veteran that has been in the league for a while? Cano needs to be moved to third base, but as long as he has Daddy Warbucks and his buddy are in enamored with him, the team will need to carry this noose around their neck.

    As for the manager, it’s a shame that four rounds of interviews wasn’t enough to get Perez the runner-up spot so the team can move on, but it does seem like it was just a show. But, if the GM doesn’t have substance in his moves, then once the top layer comes off we see the chasm.

    Ironically, the people BVW brought in – Laird and the Boston analysts – are making moves everyone admires. Maybe BVW can ask them, and take a cue from the Yankees about putting stupid things in the news just to stoke egos.

    • Chris F
      January 19, 2020 at 9:32 pm

      Total Pass on Cano playing 3B. No range, too slow, weakening arm. His only position is 2B, bench, or DH. I’d rather have seen Frazier stay at 3B.

      • TexasGusCC
        January 19, 2020 at 10:01 pm

        Chris, his arm strength is still very good according those that know, and you don’t need range at third base but rather reaction time. Too, he is not very mobile for 2B and there’s no DH. So, since he has to play, third base is his best spot.

        • Chris F
          January 19, 2020 at 10:54 pm

          We’ll agree to disagree on this one. I can’t see any improvement in first step, I disagree completely about arm, and range matters both left- where someone really needs to protect Rosario in the 5.5 hole and he’s got no chance from outside the line. Third base? Not for me!

          • January 20, 2020 at 2:48 pm

            Yeah, I’m with Chris – I don’t see Cano being a good fit at 3B.

  4. Syd Henry
    January 19, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    This is a win now team. Hire Buck and be done with it. He’s the best available candidate.

    • January 19, 2020 at 7:49 pm

      I think Showalter’s strength as a manager is building a team up, not taking an established team to the finish line. He’s a SP, a guy who gets you thru the first 7 IP. The Mets need a closer and my opinion is that’s not what you hire Showalter to do.

    • TexasGusCC
      January 19, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      Right there with you Syd.

  5. TJ
    January 19, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Gus nailed it. BVW was Jeff’s choice as GM before the process began. He’s are GM right now for better or worse.

    The article brings up an excellent point – Perez is the only available finalist from the prior go-round, so I’m not sure why he wouldn’t be the favorite right now, unless he has issues with the coaches already in place. I hear Perez just signed a deal with ESPN…could the Mets be hapless enough to be scared off by the ESPN money? I mean, is Perez in the Tony Romo tax bracket now?

  6. Metsense
    January 19, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    Luis Rojas is 38 yoa, has minor league managing experience with Savannah, St. Lucie and Binghamton, and was the quality coach last year for the Mets at major league level. He has a strong background in analytics. He could implement an ” integrated plan” that the Mets surely need. He knows the organization from the top to the bottom . He already has the respect of young stars of the Mets. His promotion would be a seamless transition after the Beltran fiasco.

  7. NYM6986
    January 20, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Since there does not seem to be a big splash manager out there you either need to go with a steady strong hand like Baker who has guided a number of teams mixed with stars and kids or a Rojas who you have watched manage and who likely communicates well with players. Let’s just get it done and start the relationship ahead of spring trainer. We were all jealous of the job Hinch did in Houston but now we know that he cheated his way to the top. The miraculous climb of retooling a team over 3 years and becoming a powerhouse certainly took good player analysis and development, but knowing what pitch was coming makes it easier to not only put the ball in play but to hit it with authority.
    It’s great capturing the back page of the Post and Daily News but I’d rather do that with a winning streak.

  8. TexasGusCC
    January 20, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Anyone else feel that Cano having input in picking the manager sound pretty bad? Would he suggest someone he can’t push around to get his way, like he did in Seattle and here last year? This team needs real leadership and no more ass smooching.

    • January 20, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      If Cano has veto power or out and out picks the manager – that would be bad. But I think in an ideal world, the GM consults a bunch of different sources for their opinions on a potential manager, including the team’s veteran players.

      • TexasGusCC
        January 20, 2020 at 8:07 pm

        Brian, I understand that, but even that to me is too much. You think the Dodgers asked what the players thought of Roberts, or did Epstein call around to his players when he canned Renteria a week after hiring him to bring in Maddon? I doubt it.

        The Mets are adamant about keeping the #LOLMets moniker that Keith Law gave them. If they were a serious organization about winning and not about egos or innuendos, the best manager is hired right now and let’s go to spring training. On the surface, that means Buck Showalter, but they spent a month and a half doing homework just two months ago! What is left to do?? Unless, Van Wagenen wanted Beltran all along and that was a charade, so they don’t really have a second choice.

        • January 20, 2020 at 10:08 pm

          I really don’t care what other teams do. What I care is if what the Mets do makes sense for them. At one point, every team carried a LOOGY. But the Mets’ lefty relievers were terrible. I didn’t want them carrying a LOOGY just because everyone else did.

          My opinion is that a good leader takes in as much information as he can from a variety of sources, not just “yes men.” Is BVW capable of listening to advice of others? I don’t know. I do hope that if he had his heart set on Individual X to be the new manager and everyone he consulted said that was a bad move – that he wouldn’t do it. That may be naive of me. But until proven for sure otherwise, that’s what I’m going to assume.

          • TexasGusCC
            January 20, 2020 at 10:24 pm

            ok. So how does your assuming explain that after an “exhaustive search” in which many people gave input about putting a managerial list together, and weeding out the applicants they didn’t like, then having interviews and second interviews, and then third interviews, and then finally needing a fourth interview, Perez was brought in for four!! rounds of interviews two months ago but now that the spot is reopened, he isn’t qualified? What changed? What did you bring the guy in four times for then? In all our businesses, we have to have backup plans for all our positions. GM’s keep potential lists of candidates for their positions. My point is, they just went through this process two months ago and it took them a month to search. Where are the other guys?

            • January 21, 2020 at 8:03 am

              I’m pretty sure I addressed this in TFA:

              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.

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