The Mets have started interviewing candidates to be their next manager, a source with knowledge of the process recently told Newsday's Marc Carig.
In the days before and after the season, I'm told Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his staff internally reviewed a list of up to 15 potential candidates.
My understanding is, after pre-screening each person, talking about them with people outside the organization and gauging interest, that list has been whittled down to between six and 10 viable options, all of whom will have been formally interviewed before the end of next week.
Alderson's list of potential candidates reportedly includes current hitting coach Kevin Long, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, former Mets players Joe McEwing, Sandy Alomar Jr., Robin Ventura, and Alex Cora, Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren, D-backs bench coach Chip Hale (both of whom previously served the Mets under Alderson and Terry Collins), and Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway. John Farrell, who was fired Wednesday by the Red Sox, is not on Alderson's list, according to multiple Boston and New York reporters.
How does Boston impact the Mets?
Boston's managerial search is a hurdle in front of a few candidates, but they can only hire one guy. And, frankly, the situation at Citi Field may be a far bigger hurdle anyway...
It may feel like the Mets missed an opportunity to hire their top candidate before Boston walked on the playing field. However, according to more or less anyone I talked to this week, all of baseball, including the Mets, Tigers, and Phillies and every candidate mentioned above, have been anticipating Farrell and/or Girardi to soon be out of a job. In other words, most viable candidates have been strategically waiting to see what will be available in the Bronx and Boston before seriously considering other options.
"They have the team in place to win now, they have the resources to go out and get what they need and they have the farm system to replenish," a source recently told Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert about the Red Sox, who are coming off back-to-back 90-win seasons. "The Red Sox job is the one that will be the most coveted. It could change who and what jobs are available."
Aug 15, 2017; General view of Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Interested candidates will view the Mets as a better option than Detroit, but not as attractive as Boston and Philadelphia, an anonymous AL executive told Ackert.
"They still have a decent 25-man roster, but leadership at the top concerns me," the source said.
Are the Mets competing for anyone with Boston, Detroit, and Philly?
Yes. There is common interest in Ausmus, Cora, Geren, McEwing, Alomar, and Montoyo.
According to reports, each team is considering close to 10 people for their open job. However, in terms of crossover, there is mutual interest in only a handful of people.
For instance, like Alderson, the Red Sox reportedly have interest in Alomar, Ausmus, and Cora, who are also reportedly on Philadelphia's list. The Phillies also are said to like Montoyo, as does Detroit, who is also reportedly interested in McEwing. The Red Sox are the only other team being connected to Geren, who the NY Post said in late-September was seen as an early frontrunner for the Mets.
In his search for a manager, Alderson said in early October that leadership and clubhouse presence are currently more important to him than managerial experience. The Red Sox, however, disagree and are putting experience first, team president Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday.
"I do think it would be difficult for a person more so here than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level," he explained.
If Boston is everyone's top choice, who will they hire?
The Red Sox have to hire Ausmus, who has to want the Red Sox. It makes too much sense.
In addition to being a manager with experience, Ausmus grew up a Red Sox fan in Connecticut; he said a decade ago that he'd love to join their organization one day; and Boston's current president, Dombrowski, is the person who -- in Detroit -- hired Ausmus to lead the Tigers.
I realize Cora played four years in Fenway and is the hot, young candidate on everyone's list. But, it's hard to imagine Dombrowski and Ausmus not finding an immediate fit... again.
And if they don't go with Ausmus and want experience, how do they pass on Ron Gardenhire, who -- at just 59 years old -- has already won 1,000 games, a Manager of the Year award and managed close to 30 postseason games in the American League.
Girardi is the wild card
Based on what I know, while Girardi may eventually return to the Yankees, I honestly believe it won't happen before he asks to be pitched by the Mets.
Girardi's contract is up at the end of his season. There were reports he and the Yankees may divorce after the season, especially had they exited early from the postseason. Instead, the Yankees beat the Indians and to the ALCS.
It's hard to imagine Girardi and the Yankees not working out a new agreement. But if they don't, I expect all four teams -- especially the Mets and Red Sox -- to push hard to hire him.
In fact, I predict neither Alderson or Dombrowski make a final decision until Girardi or the Yankees make an announcement about the state of their relationship.
Girardi makes a pitching change in Cleveland.(AP Photo/David Dermer)
Girardi is well aware of Alderson's interest in him, from what I'm hearing from friends in baseball. And once his season is officially over, regardless of whether the Yankees want him back or not, Girardi will at least hear Alderson and Dombrowski out on the idea of relocating to Citi Field or Fenway Park.
Who do I want to be hired?
If the Mets can't get Girardi, I'm leaning toward Cora.
I'll explain this in more detail later on MetsBlog, but the more I learn about Alex the more I think he's a terrific mix of Alderson's wants and the roster's needs.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!