The first five candidates in the managerial search for the New York Mets have reportedly emerged.
According to Andy Martino of SNY, new general manager Billy Eppler and the Mets "have some level of preliminary interest" in the following names:
- Buck Showalter: Previously the skipper of the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, Showalter has a 1,551-1,517 (.506) career managerial record. Now 65, Showalter hasn't managed since the 2018 season, though the three-time American League Manager of the Year was believed to have been the runner-up to Joe Girardi for the Philadelphia Phillies managerial vacancy before the 2020 season.
- Don Kelly: Only five years removed from last playing in the league, Kelly is currently Derek Shelton's bench coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Audacy Sports MLB Insider reported that Kelly was a candidate for both the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers managerial openings last winter. The 41-year-old had a nine-year playing career split between the Tigers and Miami Marlins.
- Joe Espada: Dusty Baker's current bench coach for the Houston Astros, Espada "has early buzz" in the managerial search, per Martino. The 46-year-old has previously been on staffs with the Marlins and Yankees. Before becoming the third base coach for the Yankees in 2015, Espada served as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman. 2014 was Eppler's last season as the Yankees assistant general manager, before he became the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels. Espada has previously interviewed for managerial openings with the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Rangers and Angels.
- Brad Ausmus: A three-time Gold Glove Award winner during his 18-year career as a catcher, Ausmus is looking for his third managerial job. He succeeded Jim Leyland as the Tigers manager from 2014-2017, posting a 314-332 (.486) record. Ausmus was the manager of the Angels in 2019, and was fired following a 72-90 season because Joe Maddon became available. Eppler was the general manager who hired and fired Ausmus within the matter of a year.
- Matt Quatraro: Kevin Cash has won back-to-back Manager of the Year Awards in Tampa Bay, with Quatraro as his bench coach. The 48-year-old had a seven-year minor league career, and has since also served as the minor league hitting coordinator and third base coach for the Rays, along with being an assistant hitting coach for Terry Francona in Cleveland from 2014-2017.
The Mets finished at a disappointing 77-85 mark in 2021, good for third place in the National League East. Luis Rojas was fired as manager after the Mets went just 29-45 in the second half of the season.
Steve Cohen has opened up his checkbook this offseason, with the Mets already signing Max Scherzer, Starling Marte and Mark Canha to lucrative free-agent contracts. In theory, the Mets should be a very attractive opening, as they look to usurp the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves in NL East.
Of course, given how much has been invested into the team, the next manager in Queens may not have a very long leash if the Mets don't immediately become World Series contenders.
Even though Major League Baseball's owners have locked the players out, teams are still able to hire managers currently.