The Mets don’t have much time to find a new manager with spring training just around the corner.
Pitchers and catchers report to St. Lucie, FL on Feb. 11, which is just under three weeks away for a team that parted ways with manager Carlos Beltran after his role in the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.
There has yet to be a clear frontrunner revealed for the vacant position — though Vegas bookies have tabbed ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez as the betting favorite — but a report from Andy Martino reported that a decision is just around the corner.
The SNY insider revealed on Tuesday that the Mets are “are hopeful of choosing a manager within the next few days,” adding that it will come from within the organization rather than outside.
That would take Perez and the likes of Joe McEwing and Tim Bogar off of the list of potential managers if Martino’s report is valid.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and the Wilpon family would then be left with three legitimate internal candidates and one very familiar wild card.
Hensley Meulens would be considered the safest choice. He has been a student of three-time World Series winner and future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy for years while holding managerial experience with the Dutch National Team at the World Baseball Classic.
Not to mention he speaks five languages (English, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Papiamento) so there will never be communication issues within the clubhouse.
Luis Rojas was initially viewed as a bona fide candidate for the Mets job before the team hired Beltran. However, his name has lost steam, with Martino reporting that the organization is split on whether the 38-year-old would be an effective manager right away.
It seems that new first-base coach and former triple-A manager Tony DeFrancesco has seen his chances at managing the big-league club evaporate as there has been no inclination that he is currently in the running for the job.
For a Mets team that is in a win-now mode in 2020, an unproven manager like Rojas or DeFrancesco that hasn’t spent much time in a major-league dugout might not be the best avenue to take.
Which makes Terry Collins — the second-winningest manager in franchise history — such an appealing candidate even though there hasn’t been any inclination that he would return to the dugout.
Collins stepped down after the 2017 season after seven years at the helm of the Mets that included two postseason appearances and a 2015 NL pennant.
If the Mets could coax Collins out of his front-office advisory role, even if it’s just for a season, they’ll have a proven leader who is held in high regard within the organization that could keep the ship afloat until upper management finds a long-term solution for the managerial role.