QUEENS — New York Mets manager Buck Showalter has yet to have discussions with owner Steve Cohen or general manager Billy Eppler about his future with the team as an underachieving 2023 season enters its final furlongs.
“I’ve just been focused on baseball and the games and everything,” Showalter said. “No [there have not been any discussions]. That’s the short answer.”
The job security of the 67-year-old, on the verge of completing his second season with the Mets and his 22nd campaign as a big-league manager, remains largely uncertain given the regression of the Mets over the first four months of the season that forced a World Series hopeful to sell at the trade deadline, pivot its entire organizational philosophy to solely focus on building up the farm system, and push back its legitimate contending date to 2025 or 2026. This after winning 101 games last season in his first year in Queens before ultimately fizzling out in the Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres.
But another dimension of Showlater’s situation was added on Tuesday when ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the Mets will be hiring former Milwaukee Brewers executive David Stearns as president of baseball operations to oversee the front office.
The 38-year-old will help carry out Cohen’s vision of building a self-sustaining contender, but will likely have the freedom to bring in his own guys to fill out leadership situations.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who has spent the past nine seasons with Stearns in Milwaukee, will see his contract expire at the end of the season and speculation continues to swirl that the 53-year-old could follow Stearns east to New York.
“You really try to stay on task in what your job is and follow the lead of the things that people know are best for the organization,” Showalter said. “I come down here every day, I don’t read or listen to anything…. They told me some of that stuff was out there, that doesn’t mean I have to answer anything. I just need to know it.”
Including Tuesday night’s middle game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field, just 19 games remain in the Mets’ season as the final objective is to see what parts can be salvaged for next year and to avoid finishing in last place in the National League East.
For now, that’s all that Showalter is willing to focus on.
“I don’t talk about those things. It’s about today. It’s about tonight,” he said. “We’re all trying to win in a competitive business. This is not the time and place for my mind to be going there.”
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