Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
So will Carlos Beltrán, first-time manager, be the next Alex Cora or the next, uh, Mickey Callaway?
Obviously, we won't even begin to know anything about Beltrán as a manager until he takes over the Mets and actually does the job. It's up to him to prove the Mets made the right call in hiring someone with no previous managing or coaching experience.
But it's worth noting that a manager piloting his first team can both win the World Series in his first season, as Cora did with the 2018 Red Sox, or be out of a job quickly, like Callaway.
Sure, there's risk involved in hiring Beltrán, who's never done the job and has only a brief stint as a front-office advisor with the Yankees on his post-playing resume. Especially for a team that has positioned itself as a "win-now" club after falling short of a Wild Card berth in 2019.But Callaway's tenure with the Mets has nothing to do with Beltrán or his ability to manage. Just because Callaway was unimpressive enough in only two years guiding the Mets to get fired, doesn't mean another first-timer can't handle it.
Beyond Cora, there are plenty of examples that show a rookie can succeed. Look across town at Aaron Boone. Or in the Mets' division, where Davey Martinez, managing his first team, is the proud skipper of the World Champion Washington Nationals.
Dave Roberts has won four consecutive division titles with the Dodgers and been to the World Series twice. Brian Snitker's Braves are the two-time defending NL East champs. Craig Counsell pilots an annual contender in Milwaukee.
In fact, eight of the 10 managers who reached the MLB Postseason in 2019 were working in their first full-time job as a big-league manager. A.J. Hinch of the Astros was the only one who had the "experience" piloting another club that's held so dear by those who are wringing their hands over the Mets going the inexperienced route again.
Overall, 18 of the 28 current managers in baseball - the Giants and Pirates are still going through their searches - are still in their first full-time gigs as managers. Some had prior coaching experience or had managed in the minor leagues, though Boone, who has won 203 games in two seasons, came from the TV booth.
Some thought the Mets should be reluctant to hire a rookie manager after their experience with Callaway. But they're not the only team to have hired back-to-back first timers. The Mets are one of nine teams in baseball to have hired consecutive rookie managers and some of those have been success stories.
Kevin Cash followed Joe Maddon's successful run in Tampa Bay and has a .511 winning percentage with the low-budget Rays. Rocco Baldelli took over for Paul Molitor in Minnesota and guided the Twins to 101 wins and a playoff berth in Year One of his managerial career. Mike Shildt brought the Cardinals to the NLCS in his first full year after taking over from Mike Matheny, the first timer who won the NL pennant in his second year back in 2013.
In baseball history, five rookie managers have won the World Series in their first season at the helm, including Cora. The others are Bucky Harris (1924 Senators), Eddie Dyer (1946 Cardinals), Ralph Houk (1961 Yankees) and Bob Brenly (2001 Diamondbacks).
None of this guarantees that it'll work between Beltrán and the Mets, but the club clearly has faith in him. How the Mets players perform will say an awful lot about Beltrán the manager, too.
But even with a terrific second half in 2019, are the Mets good enough to make noise in a rugged NL East that has the defending champs and a team that might be even better over 162 games in Atlanta? And the Phillies spent a pile last winter, signing Bryce Harper and making other moves, only to fizzle during the season. Perhaps 2020 is their year?
Philadelphia hired a new manager, too, replacing, it must be noted, a rookie who did not succeed - Gabe Kapler. This time, the Phillies went for experience in Joe Girardi.
In other words, Year One for Beltrán - and Girardi in his new home - will give us a quick hot take on which managerial resume works best.