For the second time since taking over as GM in 2010, Sandy Alderson is looking for a new manager.
"We have a very long list," Alderson said earlier this month. "We will get it shortened after we've had internal discussions and then talks with people outside the organization."
In the last week or so I have talked with several MLB insiders, as well as reporters, fans, and current and former players and coaches.
Based on these conversations, my hunch (as of right now) is that Alderson will end up hiring Chip Hale, Bob Geren, or Alex Cora in late-November because I believe it's an open search to find a highly competitive, mild-mannered, consistent, upbeat leader who is a strong communicator, pro-bullpen, open to analytics and working with the front office.
The above changes drastically if Joe Girardi is let go by the Yankees.
How did I end up leaning toward the above conclusion? By answering these questions...
When will Alderson make a decison?
It'll be very soon or at least another six weeks, but nothing in between.
My hunch is that Alderson either knows who he's going to hire, i.e., Geren or Cora, but can't announce it because the person is (or was as of last night) still coaching in the postseason; or, 2) Sandy has zero idea who he is hiring and his search is truly wide-open, which means it will almost certainly drag out until the end of November (just like it did with Terry Collins).
May 18, 2017; Rajai Davis (11) talks Chip Hale (4) at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Alderson's list of potential candidates reportedly includes current hitting coach Kevin Long, current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, former Mets players Robin Ventura, Joe McEwing, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Alex Cora, Rays 3B coach Charlie Montoyo, and former coaches Geren and Hale.
It reads like a lot of candidates to consider, but it's common in baseball for teams to have at least 10-to-15 people on their initial list. It is usually trimmed after gauging interest and conducting first round interviews. It's possible the team will stop everything and make an immediate hire, but typically they have a round of second and third interviews, after which the final candidates must meet the owners and front office. And then, hopefully, they make a final decision and announcement.
The point is, it's a process...
What does Alderson want?
Alderson recently told reporters he wants a strong leader who is receptive to analytics and implementing information from the front office.
I've also heard he prefers someone media savvy, with a 'mild-mannered,' even-keel personality, who is poised and professional, can relate to young players, and is experienced running a bullpen. Interestingly, it sounds like Alderson is less concerned with experience and more focused on finding someone who is equal parts highly competitive and a consistent, positive presence in the clubhouse.
So, who will Alderson hire?
My hunch is he will eventually choose either Hale, Cora, or Geren.
If Ausmus or Girardi are legit options, I think Sandy might pick one of them, too. But, I'm just not convinced either of these men will be available when it comes time to make a final choice. Also, while I like what I'm hearing about Montoyo, McEwing and Alomar, they have been passed over by other teams before and all consistently described to me as people best served in their current roles.
Feb 18, 2014; Terry Collins talks with bench coach Bob Geren at Tradition Field. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
There is also a big disconnect with Geren. He doesn't get high marks when considering what Alderson says he wants in a manager, yet he's the assumed front runner by most fans and reporters. It is true that he reads FanGraphs, has run a bullpen and is clearly mild mannered, but no one I talked with described him as being a strong leader, great communicator, relatable or super competitive.
The thing is, he has a history with Alderson, with whom he seems to share a similar idea of how baseball should be played. Similarly, everyone says Geren is so mild-mannered and professional he could wear a suit in the dugout and no one would blink an eye. Also, due to his time on Terry's bench, he clearly know the current players, market, ballpark, fans and expectations. The point is, regardless of what Sandy says he wants now, his familiarity with Geren -- plus Geren's familiarly with him, ownership and the market -- will almost certainly leapfrog Bob to the final round.
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!