Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
No baseball team wants to find itself searching for a manager in late January, but that's where the Mets find themselves, after baseball's massive electronic cheating scandal swallowed Carlos Beltran.
The team did at least conduct an exhaustive search last October. The Mets will now lean on that work -- which began as two sets of lists on a white board in their offices, and continued on to include many in-person interviews -- as they try to make a quick but thoughtful decision on who should lead the club this year.
GM Brodie Van Wagenen declined comment on the process. Other indications are that the Mets would like to have a new manager by the end of next week.
That's not a hard deadline, but they wouldn't mind having resolution by their Fan Fest on Jan. 25, at which Beltran was originally supposed to be one of the main attractions.
Quality control coach Luis Rojas is getting serious consideration, as SNY was first to report. The Mets see value in choosing an internal candidate, because folks from that list are already well-versed in their process and dynamics. Rojas has already been part of the team's preparation for the 2020 season and onboarding of pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.
In October, the Mets had serious concerns about the 38-year-old Rojas' readiness for the job. Those concerns are likely to still give them pause and factor into those decisions. Still, Rojas will get a long look.
For the same reasons that Rojas makes sense as an internal candidate, the Mets will consider first base coach Tony DeFrancesco, who managed their Triple-A teams the past two years. It's possible they do the same with bench coach Hensley Meulens, but he is a new arrival -- and unlike the other two, wasn't initially interviewed for the managerial opening.
As for the external list originally on the Mets' whiteboard, Eduardo Perez already had an impressive ownership-level interview. He has since signed a multi-year extension with ESPN, and it's unclear if that would impact his candidacy.
Nationals bench coach Tim Bogar and Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy interviewed multiple times last fall. Bogar appears more likely than Murphy to get a call next week.
As for outside-the-box possibilities, the team could consider broadcasters Mark DeRosa and Todd Zeile and former White Sox skipper Robin Ventura, though it is harder to imagine totally new entrants in the process, given the timing.