The Mets are scheduled to interview Buck Showalter tomorrow as part of their managerial search, reports Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (Twitter link). That’s hardly a surprise, as Showalter was reported to be on New York’s radar last week. Perhaps of more interest is that Heyman adds that some around the industry see Showalter as the favorite, although he notes that other candidates are expected to sit down in the coming days.
Few around the game can match Showalter’s experience and credentials. He landed his first big league managerial job with the Yankees nearly three decades ago. Showalter spent the 1992-95 campaigns in the Bronx and went on to log stints leading the D-Backs from (1998-2000), the Rangers (2003-06) and the Orioles (2010-18).
Now 65, Showalter is a three-time Manager of the Year award winner, claiming that honor in each of 1994, 2004 and 2014. He’s overseen five playoff clubs (including three division winners), leading the 2014 Orioles to the AL Championship Series. Baltimore posted a winning record in five of his first seven seasons at the helm, but the club nosedived in 2017, leading to the complete rebuild from which the organization still has yet to emerge. That’s not entirely or even primarily the fault of Showalter, but the O’s nevertheless dismissed him after the 2018 campaign. He hasn’t managed since, yet he’s continued to express openness to a return to the dugout.
Showalter will become the fourth known interviewee with the Mets. New York has also spoken or scheduled interviews with Rays’ bench coach Matt Quatraro, former Tigers’ and Angels’ skipper Brad Ausmus and Dodgers’ bench coach Bob Geren. Ausmus and Geren both have prior MLB managing experience, but neither has as extensive a resume as Showalter.
The latter’s long list of accomplishments figures to hold some weight in the clubhouse, and Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated reports (on Twitter) that newly-signed ace Max Scherzer has indicated to the club he’d prefer Showalter land the position. It’s not clear the front office will place much or any stock into the reported preferences of individual players, but Scherzer is certainly an important figure in the organization both from an on-field and locker room perspective.
Interestingly, the Mets aren’t the only New York team to consider a pursuit of Showalter this offseason. Heyman adds that the Yankees kicked around the possibility of making a run at bringing him back earlier in the winter. That ultimately proved not to be, as the Yankees decided to stick with incumbent skipper Aaron Boone, signing him to a three-year extension in mid-October.