One of the most important things to do this offseason for the New York Mets is clearly hiring their new manager for the 2024 season.
With the 2023 season over exactly one month ago, after missing the playoffs, the Mets have already been busy, looking at possible managerial candidates.
The biggest name so far has been current Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose contract with the Brew Crew expires this year. Ever since former Brewers GM David Stearns took over as the new president of baseball operations for the Mets, Counsell has been the most talked of as the next Mets manager. Stearns as we expected, is strongly interested in bringing Counsell along with him to Queens. The Mets are expected to interview with Counsell in the coming days.
It was noted according to Will Sammon of The Athletic, that the Mets will only look outside of the organization to hire their new manager. Counsell would be a great hire for this position. The Brewers have consistently finished well over .500 each year under Counsell. They have also won the National League Central division three times including this season in 2023 and have reached the playoffs 4 of the last 6 years, including the NLCS back in 2018. Counsell has been known to be a solid players manager, who communicates well with his players.
But bringing in Counsell, is no sure guarantee. First, there is no guarantee that Counsell will want to leave his comforts in Milwaukee and move his family elsewhere. Although Counsell has recently stated his interest with the Mets and in New York. Second, there will be competition for Counsell. The Cleveland Guardians have recently interviewed Counsell for their new managerial role, and the Houston Astros were also mentioned as being interested in him as well.
What if Counsell decides to stay in Milwaukee or go elsewhere. Then it’ll be back to square 1 for the Mets in looking elsewhere. There should be other several good names outside of the organization as managerial candidates, but maybe not as appealing as Counsell was.
If that is the case, then perhaps the Mets should consider looking inside of their organization, that could be possible better fits as the team’s new skipper. Names, like current bench coach Eric Chavez, and third base coach Joey Cora. Then of course, there’s also former Mets star Carlos Beltran who is currently serving as a special assistant to the GM.
Even though none of the three, have had any managerial experience, all three of them have been with the Mets organization for at least one year, and Cora and Chavez, have been coaches in different capacities for many years.
Chavez’s first coaching stint happened in 2018, when he was promoted to the coaching staff with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He also was an assistant hitting coach with the New York Yankees in 2021. The Mets hired Chavez the following year, to be their hitting coach in 2022, and in 2023 he became the team’s bench coach. Chavez was widely praised for the Mets strong hitting in 2022 that led them to 101 wins.
Cora has had an even longer coaching resume. It all started for him back in 2000 with the Chicago Cubs minor league system. Then he moved to the other side with the Chicago White Sox in 2003, serving as one of the coaches under Ozzie Guillen. Cora later was promoted to bench coach for the White Sox after 2006 season and even served occasionally as interim manager when Guillen was not around due to ejection, suspension or for any personal reasons.
Cora has had short stints with the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates, in various coaching roles. Finally, Cora landed with the Mets in 2022 and served as the third base coach for the last two years. Cora has been well known to be aggressive at times in sending baserunners from third base to home plate, and that aggressiveness can pay off at times in managerial in game decision making.
Beltran was initially the new Mets manager for the 2020 season. However, the Astros cheating scandal in 2017 forced Beltran to step down from that position due to him being a player for that Astros team that season. The Mets hired Beltran because they liked his attention to detail and his excellent communications skill, especially to his fellow Latino players. Carlos Correira gave high praise to Beltran, back when both were teammates on that 2017 Astros team.
So, if the Mets are unable to hire Counsell or anyone else outside of the organization, there are good choices within the organization, particularly the three of them mentioned here in Chavez, Cora, and Beltran. Their coaching and front office experiences, plus the connections they already have with the organization, which would benefit the current Mets team more with their familiarity, can make for excellent managerial options as well.