The thinnest of silver linings for baseball fans during the first week of what might be a lengthy lockout is that the New York Mets are looking for a manager. Granted, the search is far more pertinent in Queens than anywhere else.
During Max Scherzer’s introductory press conference, general manager Billy Eppler — in his first few weeks at the position — admitted that the Mets have a “pretty wide list” of candidates for the vacant managerial position.
They’re afforded time to slowly whittle that list down not just because of the inactivity that comes with the lockout, but also because the Mets are the only team currently looking for a skipper — meaning they have exclusivity performing within the managerial market.
Shortly after Eppler divulged the Mets’ situation, names began emerging about potential options for the position.
On Thursday, a source indicated to amNewYork that there is intrigue within the Mets’ front office regarding Buck Showalter as a manager who brings a wealth of experience to the clubhouse.
The 65-year-old has managed over 3,000 games across 20 MLB seasons, compiling a 1,551-1,517 record with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. He posted winning seasons in 12 of those years while making the playoffs five times.
While he has been one of the most discussed names, SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Friday that alongside Showalter, the Mets are also showing interest in Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, and former Detroit Tigers and Anaheim Angels manager Brad Ausmus.
Espada has been a potential managerial candidate across baseball for several years now and was a name that had originally cropped up when the Mets were looking to fill the void two years ago; the job going to Carlos Beltran before Luis Rojas stepped in following the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
Before joining the Astros, Espada worked for the Yankees under Eppler — then an assistant general manager with the club — in 2014 as a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman. In 2015, after Eppler left to take the Angels’ GM gig, Espada performed as an infielders and third-base coach.
Ausmus also had connections with Eppler as he was the only hire the now-Mets GM made while he was with the Angels. It didn’t go well as Ausmus went 72-90 in 2019 before getting booted for Joe Maddon.