QUEENS — Near the top of David Stearns’ to-do list as the first-ever president of baseball operations in New York Mets history is to find his manager after the team dismissed Buck Showalter after two seasons on Sunday.
And he isn’t casting an archetype in this search.
“There’s no one I have in mind,” Stearns said. “We’re going to cast a wide net. We’re going to have a real process. At some point, we’re going to interview candidates of varying backgrounds and I imagine we will talk to candidates who have been major league managers before and those who have not.”
“So the point here is finding the right person we believe to grow with the organization and hopefully be here for a long time.”
The 38-year-old New York native admitted that he has no preference for whether or not his choice has experience as a MLB manager, stressing the importance of building “a true partnership,” that can buck the trend of the Mets firing five managers since the end of the 2017 season.
“Someone who is working side by side with me and the rest of the baseball ops group,” Stearns said in what constitutes that partnership. “The manager has so many responsibilities these days and it’s a big job. First and foremost is the ability to manage people, manage personalities, and create and facilitate an organizational culture where people enjoy coming to work and work hard.”
Naturally, the conversation pivoted to current Brewers manager Craig Counsell — who worked eight years under Stearns in Milwaukee — who has long been linked to the Mets via Stearns all season with his contract expiring at the end of this season.
While he refused to comment on Counsell, he teased that “even experienced people have growth remaining. I don’t think having been a major league manager is a disqualifier in this job.”
Other early free-agent candidates on the market include Mets bench coach Eric Chavez, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada, and Los Angeles Dodgers first-base coach Clayton McCullough.
“We’re not going to rush this process,” Stearns said. “If there are candidates that emerge quickly that are really strong candidates and the right fit, that’s great. If we have to wait a little longer, I’m fine with that, too.”