Joe Girardi does his homework. Whether he’s the right man to lead the New York Mets in the wake of Mickey Callaway’s firing will ultimately be decided by GM Brodie Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon, but one thing is for certain, Girardi will do his due diligence before officially throwing his hat in the ring.
Girardi began doing his research on the Mets a couple of weeks before Callaway was let go, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. His ability to co-exist with the front office was one of the driving factors of his dismissal as the manager of the New York Yankees, despite having managed them to a title in 2009. If he does return to the bench, whether that be in New York, Chicago, or elsewhere, the foundations of a solid working relationship with upper management will be an important box to check.
The Mets are investigating all of the big names out there on the open market, with Dusty Baker, Joe Maddon, and Buck Showalter surfacing alongside Girardi. Former players like David Cone and Carlos Beltran have also been linked with the position, though we’ve yet to reach the stage of real legitimacy in this search process. Remember, there are no bad ideas in brainstorming.
There are bad hiring decisions, however, and as he enters his second season on the job, this could be Van Wagenen’s one chance to find the right field manager. The Mets have a tall task ahead of them considering the relatively crowded field of contenders in the NL East. The Braves aren’t going anywhere, the Nationals have some free agency questions to answer, but they could very well return as good or better than they were in 2019, and Bryce Harper and the Phillies will enter 2020 with an increased level of urgency after fading in the second half.
Even the Marlins are building towards a future of some significance, though they remain a year or two away. Seeing Girardi helm the Mets for 19 games a season against Derek Jeter’s Marlins would certainly provide interesting opportunities for repartee between former colleagues. Furthering the fun, Miami manager Don Mattingly was under consideration for manager of the Yankees when the role ultimately went to Girardi.
It’s worth wondering whether Girardi’s straight-shooter style is too similar to the recently-departed Callaway, though Girardi’s open communication is perhaps a touch more sophisticated than Callaway, who famously lost his temper with a reporter while the team was in a skid. It’s clear Girardi wants to return to the dugout, and if there’s a spot for him, the Mets or Cubs seem like the most obvious landing spots due to his obvious connections to New York and Chicago, respectively.