High Heat: Mets needed to make the right managerial choice, and they blew it

The Mets could’ve picked former Yankees skipper and 2009 World Series champion Joe Girardi to manage them in 2020, but the Phillies swooped in and hired him instead. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The Mets are still searching for Mickey Callaway’s managerial replacement. Originally hailed as a smart signing, it became painfully obvious the past two seasons that Callaway is not yet cut out to be a manager. 

Callaway was questioned for his in-game decision making and lack of fire throughout his tenure, and while the Mets and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen rely on analytics, the club would have a much better chance of success with an experienced manager at the helm. 

Joe Girardi was the perfect candidate to manage the Mets, but they completely dropped the ball, allowing the Phillies to swoop in and sign him. 

And with the Cubs on the verge of hiring David Ross as their next manager, and Joe Madden heading to Los Angeles to manage the Angels, the Mets’ remaining options are dwindling. 

Carlos Beltran, Eduardo Perez, Luis Rojas, Derek Shelton and Tim Bogar have each interviewed with the Mets and are each receiving a second interview with the club. None of these candidates have major league managerial experience beyond the interim level, though. 

SNY’s Andy Martino stirred the pot on Tuesday, tweeting that “one person connected to team has said a ‘bombshell candidate’ is in the mix if a clear favorite does not emerge from the current group.”

It’s not known who that candidate is, but it better be someone with experience. Several names have been discussed as the identity of the mystery candidate, including Alex Rodriguez, Joe Torre, Jessica Mendoza, and even Bobby Valentine. 

While signing any of the above would polarize the city’s baseball fans, neither of them makes sense.

A-Rod managing the Mets? Fuhgetaboutit.

Torre? Good luck trying to get him to manage with analytics as opposed to his gut.

Mendoza? I don’t think the Mets are the team to make such a move.

And Valentine? Let’s just keep it simple and say that’s not happening. 

It now seems likely that the Mets will be hiring someone without major league managerial experience. This is a mistake, but give the options that are out there, Carlos Beltran makes the most sense. 

He has played for both New York teams and knows how to handle the media. He has a World Series ring and is well-respected by today’s generation of players. 

The Mets have a real core in place with Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and company. They trusted Callaway to get the most out of that core and he failed. 

And where he failed, Beltran is the best bet to succeed given the other managerial candidates out there. 

There is enough talent on this team to succeed and Beltran seems like the most likely candidate to bring the best out of this core. Now, it’s up to the Mets and Van Wagenen to make it happen. 

High Heat is a weekly column centered on New York baseball now featured every Friday in amNewYork. Zach Gewelb is editor-in-chief of The Queens Courier and TimesLedger, where he started the column previously.