Cora, Ventura, Long Among Top 15 Mets Manager Candidates

With a resolution on the current Mets manager Terry Collins potentially coming as soon as Monday, New York will be in search for a new man to mind the store in 2018.

Whether Collins is let go or chooses to retire, the Mets will have a different person at the helm next season.

Collins has been reportedly open to returning in 2018, but the team seems content in moving in a new direction. Team officials say hitting coach Kevin Long and former Mets Alex Cora and Robin Ventura.

With that being said, here’s a look at 15 managers New York could consider this offseason.

ROBIN VENTURA

The former Mets player and White Sox manager, Robin Ventura, is one of the top candidates to replace Collins. He managed Chicago from 2012-16 and compiled a record of 375-435.

After four straight losing seasons, he resigned after the 2016 season, saying Chicago “needed a new voice.”

While Ventura has taken this year off from coaching, he is known to be well-liked by his players.

“He hasn’t had an easy road while he’s been here, I’ll tell you that much,” outfielder Adam Eaton said. “For me, in the three years I’ve been here, you put it on the players. Players haven’t played up to expectations. It’s our fault.”

The New York post had the following to say about the former Met.

“Former third baseman Ventura is the most recognizable name among the early candidates, after a 16-year major league career that included three seasons with the Mets. The 50-year-old Ventura would fulfill two criteria strongly desired by team brass: big league managing experience and a familiarity with New York and the demands that come with the job. Ventura, who spent five seasons managing the White Sox, is viewed positively by the Wilpon family, according to sources, after making a strong impression in the clubhouse during his tenure with the Mets from 1999 to 2001.”

Ventura manned the hot corner from 1999-2001 and instantly became a fan favorite. Who could forget him dressing up as Mike Piazza during a rain delay and using the tarp as a slip n’ slide?

ALEX CORA

Alex Cora has served as the Houston Astros bench coach after working four years in television.

He played for the Mets from 2009-10 and is sabermetrics and analytics savvy, which the Mets have been said to be looking for when searching for a new manager.

At only 41 years old, Cora is a voice players trust and knows the game well, playing in the majors from 1998-2011.

He also served as the Puerto Rican team’s general manager in the Caribbean series a few seasons ago, putting an emphasis on trying to help the island thrive and produce baseball players.

“We’re not where we want to be, but I think we’re better than we were two or three years ago,” Cora said. “I think the process is going to be slow. We need to keep structuring the [winter ball] league, and we have to find a way to make this work like it does in Mexico, the Dominican and Venezuela. We just have to keep working. We have a lot of young kids who got the opportunity to play this year, and that’s going to give us something we can build on.”

KEVIN LONG

A dark horse candidate, Kevin Long has served as the Mets hitting coach since 2015. He previously held the same role with the Yankees from 2007-14.

Long has managed and coach for over two decades, managing in the low levels of the Kansas City Royals organization before working his way up the ladder as a hitting coach with Kansas City and the Yankees.

According to the New York Post, Long’s contract is up at the end of the season and it is unclear whether he would stay on as hitting coach if not promoted.

He is well liked among the team as well as the organization, but the only thing working against him is that he hasn’t managed beyond the Single-A level.

Team officials view Long as an outstanding communicator who is extremely popular with the players, and his thorough understanding of analytics, coupled with his traditional baseball sensibilities, add to his candidacy,” said Mike Puma in the Post article.

SANDY ALOMAR, JR.

There are a lot of catchers on this list and rightfully so. Catchers are the captain of the infield and a lot of times, move on to coaching.

Sandy Alomar, Jr. is no stranger to the game, having caught all around baseball from 1998 until 2007, where he ended his career with the Mets.

He comes from a historic baseball family. His father is Sandy Alomar, Sr. and his brother Roberto Alomar is in the Hall of Fame.

Alomar previously served as the Mets first base coach in 2009. He served as the Cleveland Indians first base coach and briefly as its interim manager before holding down the bench coach position. He has since returned to manning first.

The longtime player and coach has served under Terry Francona for several seasons. Francona, being one of the greatest managers of all-time, has presumably taught Alomar a lot.

Back in June, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag mentioned Alomar as a potential replacement for Collins.

BRAD AUSMUS

The Detroit Tigers announced last week that manager Brad Ausmus will not have his contract renewed for next season.

Ausmus, 48, has been at the helm for Detroit since the 2014 season and holds a 312-326 record over that time. His best season with the Tigers came in his first year, when the team won 90 games and clinched their division.

The former backstop also had an 86-75 record with the team last year, but the Tigers fell off a cliff this season, only having won 62 games.

“As we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position,” Al Avila, executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager for the Tigers said in a statement. “Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years.”

Peter Gammons speculates that the Mets will have some interest in speaking to Ausmus as they search for Collins’ replacement.

PEDRO LOPEZ

Pedro Lopez just wrapped up his first season managing the Las Vegas 51’s and has been with the Mets organization since the 2008 season.

The 48-year-old managed Double-A Binghamton from 2012-16 where he compiled a record of 377-329 (.534), which is the winningest in team history.

He also led Binghamton to three straight postseason appearances (2013-15) and has spent time as a coach with the Mets during the final month of the season, like he did in 2013.

Lopez has overall been very successful in his 16-year managerial career, with an overall record of 865-826.

He played in a total of 13 seasons in the minor leagues, six of those seasons in the Padres organization as a catcher and was a member of the Triple-A Las Vegas Stars in 1994.

JOE McEWING

The former Met and current White Sox coach Joe McEwing has been connected back to New York since rumors started swirling of Terry Collins’ departure.

“Little Mac,” who has served as Chicago’s third base coach since 2012, has been coaching for 10 seasons and has managed at the minor league level, including the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in 2011.

MMO writer Josh Finkelstein did a report on why McEwing would be a feasible option for the next manager, which can be found here.

BOB GEREN

Bob Geren, the former Mets bench coach and current Dodgers coach in the same capacity, is a favorite of general manager Sandy Alderson and could return to mind the store next season, opines Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Geren, who managed the Oakland Athletics from 2007-11, owns a career 334-376 record at the helm. He was with the Mets organization from 2012-15 before heading out west last season to join the Dodgers.

The Athletics didn’t have a winning season under Geren, finishing below .500 in three full seasons and at the benchmark in one.

RON GARDENHIRE

Ron Gardenhire was the Twins’ manager from 2002-2014 after spending a decade on their coaching staff prior to that. During his 13 seasons as manager, “Gardy” took the small-market Twins to the postseason to the playoffs six times, all of which came in his first nine seasons with the team.

He is one of just 64 managers in MLB history with over 1,000 career wins; his a 1,068-1,039 career record makes him the 52nd-winningest manager in MLB history.

And this season, he’s served as the Diamondbacks’ bench coach, contributing to their surprisingly successful 2017 campaign. So it’s not like he’s been removed from the game or success.

Gardenhire’s two-plus decades of coaching and managing winning teams makes him a sure bet for the Mets. And for what it’s worth, Gardenhire also has roots in Flushing. He played with the Mets from 1981-1985, appearing in 285 games with the team during that time. This could make the Mets’ job a little bit more attractive for the soon to be 60-year-old coach.

DICK SCOTT

The current Mets bench coach, Dick Scott, has long been rumored to be a replacement for Terry Collins since being brought in as bench coach prior to the 2016 season.

Scott played 10 seasons as a minor leaguer with just three major league games under his belt, and retired as a player after the 1989 season. He went on to do some coaching for the A’s and D’Backs before becoming the player development director for the Blue Jays from 2001-2009.

He was also the team’s Director of Player Development under Sandy Alderson since 2013, after initially replacing Terry Collins as the Minor League Field Coordinator when he became Mets manager.

 

DON WAKAMATSU

Don Wakamatsu served as the Seattle Mariners skipper during the 2009-10 seasons and has been a coach in the majors since 2003.

In his two seasons managing Seattle, Wakamatsu compiled a 127-147 record. After his first year where his team finished 85-77, the second year was worse, as he went 42-70 before being fired.

He currently serves as the Kansas City Royals bench coach, a position he has held since 2014.

Back in 2010, Wakamatsu was interviewed for Mets manager before the team ultimately chose Terry Collins.

CHIP HALE

The former Mets third base coach, Chip Hale, has long been tied back to the team as a potential manager.

Hale has been coaching since 2007 and recently served as the Arizona Diamondbacks manager from 2015-16. He has served as the Athletics third base coach this season, but could look to get back into being a big league skipper.

In two seasons with Arizona, Hale owned a 148-176 record.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

DUSTY BAKER

In the midst of a National League East championship, the current Nationals skipper is without contract for next season.

Baker, 68, has a career record of 1858-1632 (.532) across 22 big league seasons. He has reached the playoff in nine of them, including the National League pennant with the Giants in 2002.

The longtime baseball manager has a history of winning, which would inject some life into this team going forward.

Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2015

GABE KAPLER

Gabe Kapler played in the majors from 1998-2010, including a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

After his playing career, Kapler managed Team Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier, but was eliminated by Spain.

He has also spent time on television, as an analyst and most recently was hired by the Dodgers to become the team’s new Director of Player Development for the 2015 season. Kapler was also considered for the job of manager after Don Mattingly’s departure, but lost out to Dave Roberts.

The former big leaguer is also a huge health nut, owning a website called Kaplifestyle. For a team like the Mets, that might do wonders.

In addition, Kapler is a big sabremetrics and analytics buff that could put the Mets in the 21st century.

DAVE MARTINEZ

Dave Martinez has been working with Joe Maddon since their time with the Tampa Bay Rays and when Maddon went to Chicago, Martinez came with him.

Maddon is one of the most well-respected managers in the game and has a winning mentality, something I’m sure Martinez practices as well.

He has been a coach for 10 seasons and might be looking to move up in the ranks, as his name as been thrown around throughout baseball as a potential skipper.

In the past, he has interviewed as manager for the Nationals and Rockies.

About Rob Piersall 959 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.