QUEENS — New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has been as hands-on as any owner across Major League Baseball across his first three seasons. But now he’s turning things over to David Stearns.
The incoming president of baseball operations, who will be introduced on Monday at noon at Citi Field, sparked the decision to part ways with manager Buck Showalter and will hand-pick the team’s next skipper.
“When you bring in a president of baseball ops, they’re entitled to bring in their own people,” Cohen said on Sunday. “I wasn’t sure if David was going to join us and when he finally did, it became clear that he wanted to go in a different direction and he certainly has that right. I gave him that right.”
Showalter was shown the door after two seasons with the Mets where he revealed that Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Phillies would be his final outing in Queens. While general manager Billy Eppler broke the news to him on Saturday night, Showalter disclosed that he never had a single discussion with Stearns.
“This is not a reflection on Buck,” Cohen said. “Buck did everything we wanted him to do. The season was a disappointment but it’s not Buck’s fault. It’s spread across the organization. These are really his decisions I’m empowering…
“Buck did everything we wanted him to do. Not everything went right this year and he kept it even keel. His players love him. Those are always hard things to do. I personally have no complaints. I loved having Buck here.”
This will be Stearns’ first opportunity to choose a manager after spending eight seasons as general manager and then president of baseball operations with the Milwaukee Brewers. Craig Counsell becomes the immediate favorite for the Mets’ job considering he’s been the Brewers’ manager ever since Stearns took over as GM in 2015.
“This gets into a personal choice,” Cohen said. “Maybe you can ask David that [Monday]. These are never easy decisions like anything else. Just because someone wants to go a different way, doesn’t make the other person a bad person. It’s a matter of choice and personal preference.”