The Mets have found Buck Showalter’s replacement, and all they needed to do was go across town to get him.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Monday that the team is reportedly hiring Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza as its next manager. Newly-hired president of baseball operations David Stearns had previously fired Showalter earlier in the offseason after two seasons with the team.
This will be Mendoza’s first career crack at being an MLB manager.
The Mets have been on the hunt for a new manager for a few weeks now. The team entered the 2023 season with World Series expectations following their success during the 2022 season and the signing of three-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.
However, New York was abysmal last season, finishing 75-87, good for a fourth-place finish in the NL East. The lackluster season can be chalked up to a number of injuries as well as plenty of underperforming players.
The hiring of Mendoza is far from the headline-grabbing decisions that New York has had in recent years, such as Showalter and the short-lived hire of Carlos Beltran. However, he ends up with arguably one of the best jobs in the MLB, leading a team with one of the highest payrolls in baseball thanks to owner Steve Cohen.
Here is more information on Mendoza and his background:
Who is Carlos Mendoza?
Mendoza is a former minor league player who comes to the Mets after he spent the last four seasons as the Yankees bench coach working with manager Aaron Boone.
The 43-year-old Venezuela native played for 13 years in the minors as a switch-hitting outfielder. He first got into coaching in 2009, spending years with the Staten Island Yankees, the Charleston RiverDogs and the Gulf Coast League Yankees before becoming a defensive instructor.
Mendoza was promoted to the big leagues ahead of the 2018 season, as the Yankees tabbed him as an infield coach. After two seasons in the role, he replaced Josh Bard as New York’s bench coach.
It was a role he would keep for four seasons before leaving the Yankees to take the open Mets’ managerial job.
Mendoza had previously interviewed for a number of managerial jobs in recent years, including vacancies in Detroit, Boston and Chicago. He was beaten out by A.J Hinch, Alex Cora and Pedro Grifol, respectively, for those positions.
Why did the Mets not hire Craig Counsell?
One of the biggest names connected to the Mets’ vacancy was Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
The 53-year-old former infielder had his contract expire at the end of the 2023 season. The Mets were a number of teams interested in Counsell’s services, along with the Brewers and Guardians; however, money was going to play a factor. Counsell reportedly wanted to “reset the market” for managers, looking to double his salary of $3.5 million he earned in 2023.
The Mets certainly had the cash to bring in Counsell, but in the end, it was the Cubs who ended up being the winner of the Counsell sweepstakes, stealing him away from a division rival. Soon after the Mendoza hire was announced, it was reported that Chicago would be hiring Counsell to replace David Ross as the team’s next manager.
It’s likely that once New York found out Counsell would not be taking the offer to come to Citi Field, the organization pivoted and brought in Mendoza, who had been tied to the open position.
Source : ESPN.com