The expectations were once David Stearns came to the New York Mets the team was going to hire Craig Counsell to be their next manager. That seemed all the more to be the case when the main competition seemed likely to come from the Houston Astros, who didn’t seem as serious about him as the Mets were.
Of course, we now know the Chicago Cubs gave Counsell exactly what the Mets could offer – a large market and a big contract. However, Chicago is closer to home for Counsell, and it doesn’t come with the issues presented by the New York media, who have sometimes been all too happy to run managers out of town.
This is a situation somewhat similar to what we saw with Steve Kerr. He was practically hired to coach the New York Knicks until he wasn’t. Golden State had all of what New York had to offer without the media or front office issues. For the Mets, the front office issues aren’t present.
With Counsell taking the surprise offer from a Cubs team who had not fired David Ross as their manager, the Mets were left looking to hire someone else. Because the Mets did their due diligence, and didn’t just go through the process to hire Counsell, they were able to quickly pivot to Carlos Mendoza.
At this point, we should remember Stearns was entasked with hiring a manager. Not with hiring Counsell, but with hiring a manager. He did that with Mendoza.
The reviews on this hire are all over the place, but that is partially the result of this shocking nature of the turn of events. You’ll see the loudmouths and naysayers killing the decision. The sycophants and optimists love the move.
In reality, no one can really know what to make of this decision.
On the bright side, it’s not Buck Showalter, who was a mediocre manager who fought against the modern game. From here, we don’t know if Mendoza will be Luis Rojas or Kevin Cash. With Rojas and Cash, we see what separated them was the front office.
Rojas was neutered from the start in the wake of the rash Carlos Beltran firing. Rojas was handed scripts from which he couldn’t deviate. In essence, he was never truly allowed to manage, and he became the fall guy for a poorly led and frankly clueless front office.
Cash has succeeded with an exceptionally run Tampa Bay Rays organization. They gave him what he needed to succeed, and to his credit he has. In essence, this means Stearns has to make good on this hire.
It is incumbent on Stearns to first give Mendoza the staff and data to be successful. More importantly, Stearns has to build the right roster. If he does that, we can the strengths and reputation Mendoza had lead to him being a successful Mets manager.
If that is the case, we can see him quickly in the postseason like Willie Randolph (a good name to throw in here for bench coach) did with the Mets. From what we saw in Milwaukee, we can and should expect that. After all, Counsell was a losing manager before he and Stearns turned things around there.
If you tune into WFAN (why would you do that yourself), you will hear the narrative being pushed that the Steve Cohen tenure as New York Mets owner has not been successful. If you hear someone espouse that, please ignore them because they are just espousing ignorance.
That’s not to say there haven’t been missteps. Of course, there have been missteps.
Since purchasing the Mets, Cohen has had difficulty building the front office he envisioned. A very large part of that is the fact Cohen wanted the best of the best for the role, and David Stearns was not available until this year. When Stearns became available, Cohen pounced.
What is important with the rocky GM history is Cohen’s response to each of them. With Jared Porter, his alleged improprieties cost him his job. The same for Zack Scott. This led to the hiring of Billy Eppler, which was a mixed bag.
What was interesting during Scott’s tenure is he traded Pete Crow-Armstrong for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. At the time, the Mets were in first place and the only team in the division over .500. At the time, no one knew injuries would dismantle that team, and the thumbs down drama would ensue.
What Cohen did learn from that is not to double down on a flawed team. We saw that at the trade deadline this past season as the Mets moved David Robertson, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Tommy Pham, and Dominic Leone. Having learned lessons, the Mets completely revamped their minor league system.
Looking back on that 2021 season, Luis Rojas was foisted upon Porter and Scott. With Stearns being hired, he was permitted to fire Buck Showalter even though he was a popular figure with the media and players. Again, Cohen learned a lesson.
People will want to harp on and mock the signings of Scherzer and Verlander. However, that purposefully ignores the 101 win season. You can’t mock the signings while ignoring where it was successful.
We can opt to hold the Mets payroll and failures against them in 2023. It was definitively a failure. However, it was a failure borne out of an owner attempting to win and build off of a successful season. When it didn’t work, Cohen changed course.
Keep in mind, this wasn’t the Mets 2017 sell-off to save money and collect right-handed relief prospect after right-handed relief prospect. No, Cohen continued to use his financial might to fortify the farm system.
Cohen is now entering his fourth year of ownership. Let’s take stock of where the Mets are now.
They have Stearns as the POBO. They have a future Hall of Famer in Francisco Lindor. They kept Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil over the long term. Top prospects like Francisco Alvarez and Mark Vientos have had successes to build upon for 2024. Kodai Senga was phenomenal, and Edwin Diaz is coming back healthy next year.
The Mets are in great shape to build a competitor in 2024, and they have what they need to make the Mets contenders year-in and year-out. If you don’t think this has been a success, you’re a fool.
As had been detailed here when the Mets fired Luis Rojas, Buck Showalter was never the right man to manage the New York Mets. When you’re looking to overall your organization top to bottom to be more analytically driven like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tampa Bay Rays, you can’t hire someone who never was willing to adapt his style of managing to suit the modern game.
Assuredly, there were people who loved him. He talked a good game. He kept the media in check even despite the Mets collapse of yesteryear. A lesser respected manager would have routinely mocked for the way he handled the Joe Musgrove glistening ear situation in the deciding game three.
Perhaps, that was also the result of low expectations and an unwillingness to recognize just how good and deep the 2022 Mets roster was. Certainly, that was a driving force behind his winning Manager of the Year.
As for this year, he and the Mets were a bit snake bit. Edwin Díaz was injured during the World Baseball Classic. José Quintana had a cancer scare and bone graft surgery. Starling Marte never fully healed from offseason surgery. Justin Verlander was injured to start the season.
There was the Mets inability to adapt to the new rules right away. Max Scherzer had difficulty adapting to the old rules. The list goes on and on with that article from The Athletic doing him no favors in terms of just how ill suited he was for the job this season.
That’s not to say Showalter is too old to adjust. That’s unfair and unwarranted. He still has a sharp mind, and he knows what he knows. The issue is he was taught to manage a certain way, and that worked wonders for decades. He has just been unwilling to change.
Part of the issue is his apparent loyalty and affinity for older players. In the case of Tommy Pham, the Mets were better for it as Pham had a good year, and it led to a great trade at the deadline. However, in the case of Daniel Vogelbach, it severely damaged the team in the short term and the long term.
Maybe the Mets were always going to hire David Stearns. Certainly, it didn’t seem like an accident Craig Counsell‘s contract was up the same time as Stearns’, and Counsell wasn’t looking to sign a contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers.
To that end, it does seem like Showalter was hired for two years with a chance to force himself upon Stearns. Certainly, if Showalter was more like Dusty Baker in his willingness to balance his strengths while accepting the analytics more, perhaps we would have seen Showalter remain on the job.
However, for better or worse, Showalter wanted to manage this team like he wanted to manage. In the case of players like Francisco Lindor, they loved him for it. Perhaps, they would’ve loved him more if he changed even a little bit, and the Mets won the World Series.
All this said, Showalter does deserve respect for taking this job and not embarrassing the Mets organization in the process. He did come at a time when things were going sideways, and he did in fact restore some public credibility, and he did keep the media pressure off in ways Bobby Valentine and Willie Randolph (two better Mets managers) ever could.
He deserved the dignity of being able to end it publicly on his terms. He earned the respect of his players, and he does deserve some gratitude from the fans, especially with all the damage that had been done to the organization since Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway did, and the shadow it cast until Showalter’s hiring.
In all honesty, hopefully, we will see Showalter get one more crack at managing. Hopefully, like Baker, he will accept the game has changed, and we can see his strenghts carry him to that elusive World Series title. With that, he may eventually get into the Hall of Fame.
Finally, Buck Showalter was asked why the New York Mets best (or second-best hitter) Francisco Álvarez was batting ninth. Showalter gave a rambling answer which grew increasingly out of touch.
Apparently, Álvarez is batting ninth because Taijuan Walker is a right-handed pitcher. Obviously, Showalter is just going to ignore Álvarez having a 174 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and a 33 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
He said Álvarez needed to hit ninth because he has some personal issues. Obviously, none of us are in a position to question that. However, it is strange how these personal issues are not present when there’s a left-handed pitcher on the mound.
Apparently, Showalter is managing like it’s five years ago. That may not be a surprise given how his managerial approach is more akin to managing like it’s 30 years ago.
As if the above didn’t leave you dumbfounded enough, Showalter then said be views the ninth place hitter as important. He puts it of higher importance than most people.
Before Showalter was hired by the Mets, he only managed one other National League team – the Arizona Diamondbacks. When he managed the Diamondbacks, the pitcher hit ninth.
In the previous game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tomás Nido batted ninth. Nido has been the Mets worst hitter all season. In fact, Nido has batted ninth 18 times and eighth just three times.
Showalter can try to sell is he suddenly believes ninth is more important than we all think. However, this only seems to be the case with him when Álvarez is in the lineup against a right-handed pitcher.
Examining the response, there is no charitable reading of Showalter’s explanations. All told, he’s showing he’s ignoring the data and continuing to try to hold back the rookies in favor of the underperforming veterans.
For some reason, Showalter has everyone fooled into thinking he’s better than them or anyone. As time increasingly passes, we see a game that has continued to pass him by. That’s all the more problematic when you consider that Showalter is a manager with one postseason series win in 22 years.
The Sporting News has begun releasing their year end awards, and New York Mets manager Buck Showalter was named the National League Manager of the Year. Whomever made up the electorate has a lot of explaining to do about that.
Before delving further, there needs to be an important clarification about this Mets team. The roster that was assembled was a very good roster built to win the division and the World Series. This was not remotely the team which fell apart under Luis Rojas.
Look at the team again. There were four All-Stars with Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil, and Edwin Diaz. The team had five Silver Slugger finalists in Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Marte, McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. Over half of their lineup was viewed upon as amongst the best at their position, and for absolutely none of those players was that remotely a shock..
This was also a team with the strongest and deepest rotation in baseball. They were second in baseball in payroll. This was an exceptional team across the board. Treating them like the Major League roster with Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn and Willie Mays Hayes was always been a farce.
However, narratives are narratives. It is with that prism people want to proclaim Showalter the best manager in the National League. Like most narratives, they fall to even the slightest bit of scrutiny.
Again, this was a very good team. It is why the Mets had a 10.5 game lead in June. Keep in mind, that meant Showalter was the skipper for a team which blew a 10.5 game lead. That is the largest blown lead over a full 162 game season since the inception of division play. What makes it all the worse is the Mets had the easiest closing schedule in baseball and only needed to take one game from the Atlanta Braves the final weekend of the season.
Put another way, Showalter led the Mets to an unprecedented collapse. It is bizarre they would give this award to a manager who was in charge when the Mets collapsed. More to the point, it is farcical Showalter would win the award over Brian Snitker, the manager who led the team from the 10.5 deficit to overtake Showalter’s Mets.
There is also the fact Dave Roberts led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the best record in all of baseball. He did that doing his usual platoon side mixing and matching. He also did it getting nothing from Walker Buehler and abbreviated seasons from Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Andrew Heaney. However, he doesn’t nearly get any credit. It’s probably because he is still tainted by the Dodgers past postseason failures.
Of course, for some reason, Showalter never had to deal with that reality when people looked at voting him Manager of the Year. Looking at him late in the season and the postseason, he was still every bit the manager who didn’t use Zack Britton. A large part of that may well be he has been great with the media and was great in the media.
This is a large part of the reason why he was not put under the microscope for his and his team’s failures. It is why he won Manager of the Year over the guy who beat him (Snitker) and the manager who probably did the best job (Roberts). In the end, people wanted to pretend it was Showalter who transformed the Mets and not the fact Steve Cohen opened his wallet to build a very good Mets team.
With Showalter getting a pass and people overlooking just how good this roster was, Showalter wins even though his team lost. All you can do is shake your head and laugh.
It is long past time we stop sugar coating what is happening with the New York Mets. Moreoever, we absolutely need to stop giving the Atlanta Braves more credit than they are actually due.
Yes, the Braves were nipping on the Mets heels as the result of playing ridiculously well since June 1. That is even the case with them having a losing record against teams with a winning record, and the Mets leading the season series against the Braves. The Braves got themselves in it because they were resilient and won a a lot of games.
However, they are in a first place tie now (in the loss column) because the Mets are collapsing. Yes, it is a collapse, and we need to call it as such.
The Mets have the easiest September schedule in all of baseball. So far, the Mets are 6-7. That record looks worse when you consider they opened the month with a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. This means the Mets are 5-7 against teams with a losing record this month.
They were swept for the first time all season. It was the Chicago Cubs, who are on pace to lose 93 games. By the way, they didn’t even need Marcus Stroman to do it.
The Mets are the only team in the Divisional Era (1969) to get swept at home while 35+ games OVER .500 against a team 20+ games UNDER .500.
Last team to suffer such a sweep: Detroit Tigers in the final 3 games of the 1968 regular season.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 15, 2022
They had a three game stretch where the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates beat them by six plus runs. That was the first time in Major League history where a team with a 30 game differential in the standings lost three consecutive games by six runs. The first ever time. That’s how unacceptable those losses were.
They lost a series to the Nationals. They were swept by the Cubs. They couldn’t sweep the Pirates, who are dreadful. At least, the Mets took two-out-of-three from them. Of course, everything looked good after that series only for them to be swept by the Cubs. Yes, it is getting redundant saying that, but it is just that maddening.
We can and should note Starling Marte and Max Scherzer landed on the IL, but then again, so what? Did the Mets really need both of them to win these games. That is what was supposed to be so good about this schedule. The Mets could rest some players and allow players to heal. Also, with all the trade deadline moves, weren’t the Mets supposed to be in a position to be able to easily withstand injuries like these?
When it was Willie Randolph trotting out pitchers like Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, and David Williams, we all correctly termed it a collapse and were embarrassed by it. There were some who called for Randolph to be fired. The fact we’re not seeing similar anger is shocking.
Yes, the Mets are definitively going to the postseason. However, with the new format, not winning the division actually creates an addition hurdle. It actively works against their chances of winning a World Series. For some reason, everyone seems cool with Buck Showalter leading this collapse.
Keep in mind, he’s had some bizarre decisions. Joely Rodriguez in a close game against right-handed batters. Darin Ruf as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded. Not giving Francisco Lindor or Pete Alonso a day off even after Lindor says he and the team is tired, and Alonso is actively showing his frustration on the field.
Showalter was supposed to be different than everyone who came before him. Instead, he’s doing the same exact thing we saw out of Randolph, Jerry Manuel, and Luis Rojas. Showalter was the one in charge when the Mets lost a 10.5 game lead, something that has only been done eight times in Major League history.
That’s not seven in 17 bad, but that’s really bad.
Right now, there are zero excuses for the Mets not winning the division. Failing to win the NL East would be completely and wholly unacceptable. This team is too good to be doing what they are doing right now. Supposedly, Showalter is such a good manager that this never could have even been contemplated.
However, the moment is here. Do the Mets collect themselves and right the ship? Or, are they going to collapse against terrible teams and cede the division to the Braves? With this pathetic schedule, the Mets are in the driver’s seat. It’s time they push the pedal to the floor and take off instead of going to go off path only to crash and burn.
What if I told you the game was on the line? Down one. Tying run on second. Winning run on third.
Even more unfatomable to go with Nido over McNeill. Well, it gets better.
Nido had to leave the previous game after a Max Scherzer pitch hit him in the wrist. The concern was such that the Mets traded for Michael Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who is having a terrible tear framing and hitting.
It gets better.
Nido was a surprise starter. During the game, Nido’s injured hand was stomped on by Jake Cronenworth in the eighth inning.
So, Nido had a hand injury stemming from a Scherzer fastball. Then, a day later, it gets stomped on in the eighth inning. Somehow, Nido gets to bat with a game on the line.
Short of McNeil getting the Monty Python black knight treatment, it’s ludicrous to think anyone in their right mind would bat Nido over McNeil?
Nido has a 55 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, which is far better than the 38 he has against right-handed pitching. For his career, he has a 69 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Nido is only in the lineup because if his work behind the plate. He’s never thete to hit. That’s the case whether it’s the first or the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
But, that’s just what Buck Showalter did. He let Nido go up there and pop out to end the game while McNeil set on the bench.
If you thought he had a good explanation fir it, well, you’d be sadly mistaken:
There were articles upon articles last year demanding Luis Rojas be fired, and he never did anything this dumb. We won’t see the same with Showalter.
What’s odd was the clamoring for him. He’s won nowhere, and he keeps doing things like this. There’s a reasons he’s won nowhere.
This time, it was Nido over McNeil. Given his track record, we should all shudder over what it will be next.
For all the talk about Buck Showalter being a good manager, there were concerns about his bullpen management and ability to adapt to the modern game. We are not a full week into the season, and we are not seeing signs of Showalter having adapted.
In terms of being more analytically inclined, we see Starling Marte batting second. Ideally speaking, your best hitter should bat second, and Marte is not the Mets best hitter. Instead, he is treated almost like a second lead-off hitter behind Brandon Nimmo because he is fast.
Speaking of Nimmo, we have seen Showalter ask him to sacrifice bunt. Nimmo has been their best hitter for years, and he’s being asked to sacrifice bunt. It’s one thing with Tomas Nido, even if that strategy is still questionable, but with Nimmo, it is just plain bizarre. With the implementation of the universal DH, you would think we not see the sacrifice bunt as a strategy, but with Showalter it is still a strategy.
More than the lineup and the sacrifice bunting, there is the way Showalter is handling the bullpen.
Before delving further, there is the caveat if Pete Alonso didn’t play poor defense, and if Seth Lugo didn’t struggle, we wouldn’t be talking about it. However, beyond that is the fact is Showalter made poor decisions putting pitchers in poor positions. That is what helped lead to the Mets blowing two late leads.
On Sunday, the Mets had a 2-1 lead in the eighth. He chose Trevor Williams for what was the Mets first high leverage relief situation of the season. Trevor May was available, and he warmed up at one point. Instead, Williams would be charged with a blown save. Yes, the caveat there is Alonso was terrible, and there were soft hits.
Another note is how Showalter used the Edwin Diaz less bullpen leading to that game.
In the previous game, the Mets won 5-0, and Showalter used Drew Smith and Adam Ottavino, two of his better options in the late innings. The game before that the Mets won 7-3, and Showalter used Smith and Lugo. To be fair, he would also use Sean Reid-Foley in that game.
Now, this was the first series of the season, and as we saw in that series, Showalter was just trying to get everyone involved. For example, every position player played just one game. Still, why was Showalter using Lugo, May, and Ottavino in spots where he could have been getting pithcers like Williams into games?
On that point, Showalter did say, “We’re too early in the season to be throwing guys three out of four days. We said the whole offseason with the lockout and everything that we’re going to be careful.”
Now, there is something to losing the battle to win the war. He’s right that its way too early to abuse relievers, and he does need to keep everyone fresh. On these points, Showalter has managed successfully many years, and there is some level of expertise to which we can demur.
That doesn’t explain the loss to the Phillies. Before getting to the game, we need to revisit what May would say after the game:
Trevor May discusses the extent of his fatigued arm: pic.twitter.com/H0DdRwGw37
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 12, 2022
He’s been battling bicep and tricep soreness, and he’s been getting treatments. He isn’t accustomed to pitching multiple innings. In fact, he hasn’t done that since 2020. Notably, he performed poorly both times.
Going back to the eighth inning, Showalter had a reliever he knew was dealing with shoulder issues and doesn’t go multiple innings. More than that, it was cold. In a day, Showalter went from you can’t push relievers to pushing a reliever he knew was dealing with arm issues. It doesn’t make sense.
Another factor at play was Lugo was apparently available. As we know, Lugo performs better when he’s starting an inning. The Mets could’ve avoided the whole mess of the inning if they went with Lugo to start the inning. Sure, Lugo probably still struggles, but the Mets could have then pivoted to a Smith or Ottavino if needed.
Instead, it was May then Joely Rodriguez, which made zero sense.
Remember, Rodriguez is horrific against right-handed batters. It was one of the reasons the swap between him and Miguel Castro made no sense. Rodriguez was warming, but May’s injury could have allowed Showalter to pivot and pitch whomever he wanted.
There was a runner on first with no outs. The right-handed hitting Matt Vierling was due up, and the Phillies had other right-handed hitting options on the bench. After the pinch hitter, which was the switch hitting Johan Camargo, the Phillies had Kyle Schwarber followed by J.T. Realmuto before Bryce Harper.
To get Schwarber and Harper, Showalter opted to have Rodriguez face Camargo and Realmuto with no outs. Camargo singled sending Alec Bohm to third. That allowed a run to score on the Schwarber RBI groundout. Realmuto then launched a homer to pull the Phillies within 4-3.
Lugo can and should get out of that situation. Then again, he should not have been brought into that spot. It should not have been. May should not have started that inning, and Rodriguez should not have followed. It was all a mess created by Showalter.
If this was Luis Rojas, writers and fans would have been livid, and they would have demanded he be fired. In fact, when the games were scripted for Rojas, these are the types of things that happened. Now, that Showalter is doing it on his own volition, he’s getting a pass.
In actuality, he shouldn’t. The ignoring analytics. The bunting. The bullpen management. These were all issues present when he was hired, and Showalter hasn’t shown any signs of progress or any willingness. These are problems before we even address leaning on veterans like Robinson Cano. There is still 157 games for Showalter to adjust and learn. The Mets need him to do it.
However, now that Stroman is gone Zeile calls him one of the most divisive players in the Mets clubhouse last year. He intimated things in the clubhouse are better just because Stroman is a Chicago Cub.
He didn’t say anything when there were reports of the Mets having a special chemistry. He was silent on Stroman when the narrative emerged the Mets didn’t do more at the trade deadline because they didn’t want to infringe on the clubhouse chemistry.
Zeile also was silent on Stroman when the clubhouse chemistry issue emerged with Javier Báez‘s thumbs down to the fans. There was a perfect opportunity to address team chemistry and issues. Zeile said nothing.
Time and again, Zeile was silent on Stroman’s impact in the Mets clubhouse. However, now with Buck Showalter being hired and Stroman a Cub, he is telling everyone Stroman is divisive.
Zeile sat on this information until the offseason. He sat on it during the many times the Mets clubhouse chemistry was at issue (good or bad). Now, that he never has to face Stroman, he’s more than ready to denigrate him.
This is completely unprofessional, and it highlights Zeile has little to no credibility. He had pertinent information to share in his role as analyst, and he didn’t disclose it.
Zeile didn’t have the courage to say anything while Stroman was a Met. He didn’t have the courage to say anything while the possibility of Stroman returning existed. This is as callow as it gets.
With these comments, Zeile lost credibility. It leaves you wondering what other information is he failing to disclose just to make his life easier. What is he not telling us so he can avoid an awkward conversation with a player?
Mets fans deserve better than this. The Mets players do as well.
October 4, 2016. Rogers Centre. American League Wild Card Game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays tie the score 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth. In the seventh inning, Buck Showalter used Donnie Hart to relieve Mychal Givens in the seventh. He went to Brad Brach in the eighth and ninth. When Brach was in trouble in the ninth, Showalter went to Darren O’Day. After using Brian Duensing to record an out in the 11th, Showalter went to Ubadlo Jimenez, who would lose the game.
The Orioles would be eliminated from the postseason, and it all happened while Zack Britton waited around for a save opportunity. That year, Britton was unequivocally the best reliever in baseball with a 0.54 ERA. He was awesome, but with elimination on the line, Showalter went with a number of different pitchers including Jimenez, a starter.
Buck: "Playing on the road had something to do with it too."
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) October 5, 2016
This was not an isolated instance in Showalter’s career. Go back to Game 5 of the ALDS. After pushing David Cone too far, the game was tied in the bottom of the eighth. Instead of going to John Wetteland, he opted for Jack McDowell, a starter. McDowell would lose the game in the 11th.
A lot changed in baseball from 1995 until 2016, and yet, Showalter hadn’t changed. Yes, there were instances he used a closer in a non-save situation on the road (Matt Mantei, Game 4 NLDS), but ultimately, this is who Showalter has been for better or for worse. He is not one to worry about leverage, stats, etc. He is going to manage by his guy more than anything else. As he puts it, he wants to use them to verify himself, not the other way around.
That’s not to say he hasn’t or won’t evolve. After all, his Orioles teams did implement shifting, and in an attempt to put his team in the best position to win, they tracked the results all season. However, when all is said and done, he’s going to do what he thinks is best. Again, this works at times and fails other times.
Here’s the big problem. He would be working for Sandy Alderson and Billy Eppler. Alderson notoriously wanted to minimize the manger role, and he wants constant input. It was something which beleaguered former Mets manager Luis Rojas, who had to strictly follow the scripts given to him.
Eppler was the Los Angeles Angels General Manager when Mike Scioscia “stepped down.” He then went with a more analytical and modern manager in Brad Ausmus, who was replaced after one season when the owner wanted Joe Maddon.
Another note here with Alderson and Eppler is the type of team they are building. They are clearly going heavy on older veterans in an attempt to win now. Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, and Max Scherzer are all in their 30s and have played for several years. That has usually been a bad mix for Showalter.
As noted when he was fired by the Arizona Diamondbacks, their veteran laden roster needed less of a disciplinarian and more of a player’s manager. That’s been his career. He is exceptional with younger teams teaching them the right way to play. He gets the most out of them. After a while, his personality and style of managing tends to wear on players, and he’s out.
None of this is to say he’s not a good manager. Showalter is a very good manager. If this were the 2019 Mets, he was a perfect fit for that younger team learning how to win. This is not that team. This is a very veteran team who needs a manager better suited to getting top performances from top players. They need more of a collaborator with the front office who will demand it.
Who the Mets new manager should be remains a very good debate. If they do wind up hiring Showalter, they will certainly win games. However, at the end of the day, this is a poor fit with Showalter and the Mets being better suited to finding a different match.