The Mets’ incredibly disappointing 2023 campaign came to a merciful end on Sunday at Citi Field. With that also came the end of manager Buck Showalter’s tenure with the club. Monday in Queens will be about new beginnings as David Stearns is set to be introduced as the team’s first-ever President of Baseball Operations.
We can hope that brighter days are ahead. However, we can also hope this will be the start of some continuity for an organization that has lacked it in recent years. It can be argued how important the manager’s job is these days because of analytics. But still, two of the most influential positions for a Major League Baseball team — not counting players — include the coaching staff and who is running the front office.
Those are two areas where the Mets have had a lot of turnover in recent years. Here’s a list of Mets general managers since 2010:
- Sandy Alderson: 2010-2018
- John Ricco, Omar Minaya, J.P. Ricciardi (interim): 2018
- Brodie Van Wagenen: 2018-2020
- Jared Porter: 2020-2021
- Zack Scott (interim): 2021
- Sandy Alderson (again, interim): 2021
- Billy Eppler: 2021-present
And here are the managers New York has employed during this same time. I’ll include the years and number of games they managed:
- Terry Collins (2011-17): 1,134 games
- Mickey Callaway (2018-19): 324
- Carlos Beltran (2019-20): 0
- Luis Rojas (2020-21): 222
- Buck Showalter (2022-23): 324
Lots of things go into producing a consistently competitive baseball team. Simply saying the turnover in these positions is the sole reason why the Mets have mostly fallen short of expectations since 2017 isn’t fair. But then again, consistent messaging goes a long way for an entire organization, both in the front office and on the field.
Let’s not forget that former Met J.D. Davis referenced this last July while the San Francisco Giants were playing New York. Here’s one of his quotes from the New York Post:
“With so many moving parts and so much instability,” a reflective Davis said before Sunday’s series finale, “it wasn’t only me, there were a lot of guys in the clubhouse that felt like they were in survival mode.”
Stearns will be coming into this opportunity with plenty of pressure. He’ll be handsomely compensated for what he’s expected to produce. And now with Showalter not returning in 2024, it’ll be on him to make the right choice for the Mets’ next manager.
One of the things Stearns brings with him is a sense of stability, though. During his tenure as Milwaukee Brewers general manager, the only skipper he employed was Craig Counsell. Who, of course, just so happens to be hitting the open market this winter.
Is it surprising that between 2015 and 2022, the continuity of Stearns and Counsell helped produce five winning records and four trips to the postseason? Once again, more goes into it than simply having the same people remain in their respective positions. But it’s hard to ignore, especially for other consistently successful organizations like the Dodgers, a team that Mets owner Steve Cohen wants to emulate.
So, no — it’s not just having the same people in their positions for the long haul. It’s also about having the right people in those positions. New York is hoping Stearns is that for the front office, and whoever he brings in to manage will do the same in the dugout.