The parade of Mets managerial candidates has included a number of familiar faces, but perhaps none more familiar than Joe McEwing, who spent five years in Queens as a bench player.
While fans' affection for McEwing often outpaced his skill on the field, he has spent the years since his 2008 retirement in a variety of coaching roles with the White Sox organization, and his good reputation has earned him an interview with the Mets this week.
McEwing was in many ways the quintessential utility player. In his five seasons with the Mets, "Super Joe" saw time at every position except pitcher and catcher. He eked out a league average batting line in only one season, but was a solid defender and was beloved by fans and teammates alike for his scrappy play and positive attitude. Prior to his release early in 2005, he had served as something of a mentor to a young David Wright, who raved about his character and bemoaned the loss of his friend and teacher.
After he and the Mets parted ways, McEwing spent the next three years with the Royals and the Astros, but after spending all of 2007 in the minors, he opted to retire at age 34.
In 2008, McEwing was hired as the hitting coach for the White Sox' Triple-A affiliate and has been coaching in that organization ever since. He was named Manager of the Year in 2009 when he managed the Single-A team, and also spent time managing at the Triple-A level before getting called up to the big leagues as third base coach in 2012.
As manager, Rick Renteria moved McEwing over to bench coach for the 2017 season. The White Sox fully expect to lose him to another organization, but have been very supportive and openly praise his abilities as he looks to take the next step.
There's little indication that McEwing has interest in an analytical approach to management, and he is expected to focus on a more "old-school" attitude. While this can be a positive in terms of communicating with players and focusing on teamwork and work ethic, it may also be frustrating when he overuses questionable tactics like intentional walks and non-pitcher sacrifice bunts.
The ultimate question is whether McEwing's style would meld well with Sandy Alderson's. They could certainly end up complementing one another and creating an overall balanced environment, but they could also clash and struggle to get on the same page.
After communication challenges with Terry Collins, Alderson may not want to take that risk, but a smooth interview could allay those concerns.
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Maggie Wiggin (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts) has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring