The Mets have begun narrowing the field in their managerial search, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that neither Padres first base coach Skip Schumaker nor D-backs director of player development Mike Bell will receive a second interview. Joe Girardi, Eduardo Perez, Carlos Beltran, Mets quality control coach Luis Rojas, Nationals first base coach Tim Bogar and Twins bench coach Derek Shelton are all in line for second-round interviews in the near future. New York’s search doesn’t appear to be as far along as that of the Phillies, who are reportedly down to three veteran candidates with Girardi reported to be in the lead. The Phils could make Girardi an offer well before the Mets’ search is near completion, which would further narrow the field but remove a prominent contender for the position.
Meanwhile, Newsday’s David Lennon explores the lack of clarity in the Mets’ search, opining that it’s strange that an organization that has likely expected to be seeking a new skipper since midseason would still be so uncertain regarding the qualities it hopes to find in a new manager. The Mets have indeed interviewed a rather wide-reaching slate of candidates, and the remaining group is fairly eclectic without a clear front-runner.
Here’s more out of Queens…
- Everyone loves a “mystery team” in free agency, but how about a “mystery candidate” in a managerial search? Both MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and SNY’s Andy Martino suggested the that a “bombshell” candidate is in the mix if none of the presently known options distinguishes himself (Twitter links). That only furthers the notion that the Wilpon family isn’t sure what type of skipper they’re seeking. Speculation and or eye-rolls will surely abound, though both Heyman and Martino both ruled out David Wright, while Heyman adds that Alex Rodriguez could only laugh when asked about the possibility. MLBTR’s Connor Byrne put his money on Benny Agbayani, and I’m calling that the Mets double down on their Brodie Van Wagenen investment and make him the manager as well (kidding … mostly).
- Turning to the Mets’ actual roster, The Athletic’s Tim Britton explores Zack Wheeler’s impending free agency and whether he’s a fit to re-sign with the team in free agency (subscription link). The call on issuing Wheeler a qualifying offer is an easy “yes,” he opines — we at MLBTR are inclined to agree — as is Wheeler’s decision to reject it. As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently laid out, the Mets not only lack flexibility but are actually on pace to spend more on the current roster than they did in 2019. Britton notes that the Mets would need to be OK with surpassing or at least flirting with the luxury tax in order to re-sign Wheeler, though he contends that with Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie and Wilson Ramos all off the books following the 2020 season (to say nothing of Justin Wilson and Marcus Stroman), surpassing the luxury threshold would be justifiable for a win-now Mets club. Of course, despite playing in New York, the Mets haven’t crossed that line before and have not carried an Opening Day payroll greater than this season’s $158.5MM mark.