SUNDAY: Long and McEwing are now out of the running for the job, per Newsday’s Marc Carig, who suggests that Acta and Callaway look like the top candidates at the moment (on Twitter). However, Sherman tweets that Acta is also out of contention, adding that there are “strong indications” the Mets will go with Callaway. They’ll announce their choice Monday, according to Sherman (Twitter links).
FRIDAY: The Mets are aiming to wrap up their managerial search this weekend with the hope of announcing a new hire before the World Series begins next Tuesday, and they’ve identified current Mets hitting coach Kevin Long and Mariners third base coach Manny Acta as the top two candidates, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Long has been perceived to be the favorite for much of the search, per Sherman, but Acta made a strong impression and is now viewed as a “legitimate possibility” as well.
New York has also interviewed the likes of Astros bench coach Alex Cora, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing and Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as part of the team’s ongoing search, though multiple reports have indicated that Cora is the heavy favorite to become the next manager of the Red Sox. Both McEwing and Callaway are still “under consideration,” per Sherman, but he characterizes both Long and Acta as more likely options.
Acta is the only party involved in this search with prior managerial experience at the Major League level. The 48-year-old spent two and a half seasons as the Nationals’ manager from 2007-09 before the team rose to prominence in the National League East and was named manager of the Indians the following offseason. Acta has never guided a club to the playoffs, although in fairness to him, the teams he’s managed were never exactly viewed as strong postseason contenders entering the season.
In addition to his six seasons as a big league manager, Acta has managed in the Dominican Winter League and managed the Dominican Republic’s team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Acta carries nearly a decade of Major League coaching experience as well — two years of which came as the Mets’ third base coach under Willie Randolph. A native of the Dominican Republic, Acta’s fluency in Spanish would be beneficial in communicating with Latin American players on the Mets’ roster.
Long, 50, has never managed in the Majors but has experience doing so at the minor league level. He also brings to the table 11 seasons as a Major League hitting coach (2007-14 with the Yankees, 2015-17 with the Mets). The New York Post’s Mike Puma has previously reported that Long “has earned the confidence of team officials for his communication skills and grasp of analytics,” though by all accounts that report came prior to Acta’s interview. Long’s contract expires on Oct. 31, though Sherman notes that he has been promised a job for the 2018 season, as has assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler.
Notably, Sherman adds that Dusty Baker, who will not return as the Nationals’ manager in 2018, “almost certainly will not become” part of the Mets’ search for a new manager after the Nats announced their decision to move on earlier this morning.