New GM Billy Eppler needs to sign players — and a new skipper.
This week the New York Mets named a new general manager. Now, Billy Eppler needs to jump into the deep end of the pool and hire himself a bunch of people and make a strong effort to sign players to improve his on-field product.
One of the more important hires he needs to make — perhaps the most important — is his manager.
As we have noted in the past, the Mets do have one issue they should consider when hiring a manager: diversity.
The previous Mets leadership team included Omar, Ruben Amaro, Jared Banner, Jessica Mendoza, Marlon Anderson, Luis Rojas, Chili Davis, Ricky Bones. Today their most high profile minority is Kevin Howard who leads player development. Of course they have many openings at present. https://t.co/ESRu0kRbtn
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 19, 2021
Heyman is right. Diversity is lacking at Citi Field, and the manager position could easily be a place they look to make a difference. And, thankfully, there are a few quality candidates who could improve the on-field product and provide a different voice.
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Alomar, who is Puerto Rican, has been on the Cleveland coaching staff since November 2009 after a terrific career that included six All-Star Game appearances for the Indians. He has spent two stints as an interim manager in Cleveland, most recently for 46 games in 2020 when Terry Francona left the team for medical reasons; the Indians went 28–18 with him in the role.
Whether or now Alomar wants to leave Cleveland is a huge question, but his father spent four years on the Mets’ coaching staff and Sandy Jr. was the Mets’ catching instructor from 2008-09.
Espada, also Puerto Rican, is currently the bench coach in Houston, but he’s been a hot name in managerial searches over the past few years. In fact, he interviewed for the Angels’ manager gig when Eppler was their GM.
Espada was a special assistant with the Yankees before becoming their third base coach in 2015 — while Eppler was in the Yankees’ front office.
There are a few people calling for older managers (we’ll talk about another one later), but one name that could bring a strong coach into the room would be Washington.
Washington is currently the third base coach for the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. He was previously the manager of the Texas Rangers for eight years, during which time the Rangers won two pennants and had a .521 winning percentage.
Washington is a fungo god who is credited with the defensive developement of the Braves’ stellar infield, especially third baseman Austin Riley and second baseman Ozzie Albies.
Showalter is a very popular name right now. If Sandy Alderson is really worried about the leaders in his organization being comfortable in New York, Showalter has shown he can handle it — he managed the Yankees from 1992-95 and is now part of the talent at MLB Network.
The question is whether Showalter “still has it” at 65 and after a few years away from the bench. But if Tony LaRussa can jump back into the game after a full decade away — including a Hall of Fame induction — and win a division crown, why not?
González, who was born in Cuba, is a well-known name to Mets fans. He managed in the division with the Marlins and Braves for ten years. He’s a Bobby Cox disciple who won the NL East with the Braves in 2013 and has a career winning percentage of .506 as a manager.
González is currently the bench coach in Baltimore, one of few places from which a move to Citi Field would be an upgrade in the standings.