Mets need to keep the manager search simple and go for experience
By Tim Boyle
Some unorthodox thinking could lead the New York Mets to outsmart themselves in their search for a manager. Keep it simple.
Something I’ve noticed about the New York Mets over the last year is how much the organization has tried to outsmart the competition. By hiring Brodie Van Wagenen, they thought outside the box. He was an agent who had no experience running a major league club.
In his first year as the GM, he made plenty of unconventional decisions. Nearly all of his offseason transactions raised a flag with some turning out worse than imaginable (Keon Broxton, likely the deal with the Seattle Mariners) and others paying off huge (big thumb up for J.D. Davis).
This continued into the MLB Draft when they selected only college players to give them more of an opportunity to sign third-round pick Matthew Allan. It worked. At the trade deadline, they bought instead of sold. It nearly worked out, too.
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The Mets have taken risks in BVW’s first year. When hiring the manager, I still have concern they’re due for a major flub.
For the most part, I think Mets fans believe this team needs an experienced manager. This is common logic. It’s the same which applies to the presidency. It’s quite rare for the Republicans or Democrats to win more than two terms. The last time it happened was when the first George Bush took over for Ronald Reagan. He was not re-elected and ever since America has let the president stay his eight years then switched parties.
In baseball, this makes applies when a first-time manager like Mickey Callaway isn’t successful. It wasn’t outlandish to give a rookie manager an opportunity at the start of the 2018 season. To do it again in 2020 feels like a gamble I’m not so sure this team can afford to make.
Van Wagenen is still green and would undoubtedly have the majority of control if he hired a rookie manager. Those of the Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon, and Buck Showalter ilk would have more say in the everyday process. Those looking for their first manager gig would not and understandable so. You want an experienced mind with the final say.
The problem is the Mets don’t really have that mind in place. Van Wagenen’s first year as the GM didn’t prove much. It’s too small of a sample. He may have a masterplan. However, we have yet to fully determine what it is. In 2020, we should have a greater idea when he gets to pick the manager and hopefully learn from some past mistakes.
I don’t think hiring a rookie manager is a failure or necessarily a bad move. It can work. It has and will continue to.
In the case of the Mets, it’s essential they get a different voice in there. A first-year manager is just a figurehead for the general manager’s office and that’s not going to improve this team. This team could use a fresh voice. The loudest voices are those with enough experience to express it.
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Finding a gem in the manager pool who has never held the position before would make Van Wagenen look like a genius. This shouldn’t be the goal. Hiring the best person for the job is all that matters. In this case, the Mets must avoid trying to get a leg up on the rest of baseball. Otherwise, they may end up outsmarting themselves.