The New York Mets are hiring Carlos Mendoza to succeed Buck Showalter as manager, per several sources. Mendoza has been with the crosstown rival Yankees since 2009 and spent the last four years as manager Aaron Boone’s bench coach.
Mendoza, 43, also interviewed for the managing jobs in Cleveland and San Diego. He got the job over the heavily favored Craig Counsell, who is still expected to leave the Milwaukee Brewers and take a new job soon.
As for Carlos Mendoza, the Mets made a pretty solid choice. He has limited experience managing in the Yankees’ farm system, but has a calming air about him. It wasn’t uncommon to see him in the dugout during YES broadcasts, just sitting quietly.
Furthermore, hiring Mendoza instead of the established Counsell might be a better choice. He’s not like Showalter in that he has a reputation for turning losing teams into winners. Nor is he Counsell, whose surgical, analytical approach would finally bring the Mets into the 21st century.
Rather, Carlos Mendoza is someone who can come to Flushing, don the blue and orange, and have a truly clean slate. He’s new to the team too, same as Stearns. Owner Steve Cohen seems prepared to let Stearns work and build a relationship with his manager. His being an unglamorous hire could turn out being a good, good thing.
Both men certainly have their work cut out for them. The Mets are about to confront a big elephant in the room: Pete Alonso’s impending free agency. An even greater concern is the starting rotation, which currently stands as Kodai Senga and whichever random healthy arm is behind him.
But Stearns has a plan, and the first step was hiring Mendoza to manage the team. Fans may groan about not hiring Counsell, but look at it this way. Even if Carlos Mendoza doesn’t work out, at least the Mets poached a coach from the Yankees, right?
UPDATE: Craig Counsell has since been named manager of the Chicago Cubs.