New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler admitted last week during Max Scherzer’s introductory press conference that his team was casting a wide net while searching for a new manager.
It seems to have shrunk quite quickly.
Buck Showalter, interviewing the Mets on Wednesday, appears to be the clear front-runner to fill Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and Eppler’s managerial vacancy that was left open when the club opted not to exercise its 2022 contract option for Luis Rojas.
The Mets have already interviewed former Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus along with Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro — but neither has had the ringing endorsements that Showalter appears to be receiving.
A source also indicated to amNewYork that the 65-year-old skipper is at the top of Alderson’s list of candidates, as well.
It’s become abundantly clear that the Mets are looking for experience at the manager position — something they’ve lacked in each of their previous three hires in Mickey Callaway, Carlos Beltran, and Luis Rojas.
Showalter is one of 24 managers with at least 1,500 career victories and one of 23 who has coached over 3,000 games.
While he’s never won a World Series title, he helped steer the Yankees toward its dynasty of the mid-to-late 1990s in his first-ever managerial gig before winning 100 games in 1999 with an Arizona Diamondbacks team that went on to win a World Series two years later. He also helped the Baltimore Orioles clinch make as many playoff appearances in an eight-year stretch (three) as they had in their previous 27 years.
For a Mets team that has the components to contend, one of the last things lacking on the organization’s checklist is a competent manager who can simply keep the ship afloat rather than take on more water.
Showalter certainly has shown a track record of doing that — and this would be his most talented roster ever to work with.