The New York Mets have hired their 24th manager in franchise history, Buck Showalter. After the Mets struggled under Luis Rojas the past two seasons, they decided to go in another direction. The direction they chose is one that most of the fanbase agrees with, but I am a little skeptical of.
It's pretty clear the Mets motive was to find someone with managerial experience at the big league level, and they definitely found that. The 65 year old has 20 years of managerial experience and has a lifetime record of 1,551-1,507.
While I love the experience, Buck was not my first choice.
During the interview process, it came down to three finalists. Joe Espada, Matt Quatraro, and Buck Showalter. The first two would be first time managers while Buck has the 20 years of experience.
Out of the three finalists I would have preferred Espada or Quatraro. Espada and Quatraro are the bench coaches for the Astros and Rays respectively.
I believe of the three candidates those two are more accustomed to the modern game. Buck has not been in a big league dugout since the 2018 season when his Orioles finished with a 47-115 record. Analytics are starting to take over and I wish the Mets went with a manager who'd have more of an interest in analytics instead of the old school type of manager.
I believe the argument against hiring a rookie manager is one without much to it. I get that Luis Rojas and Mickey Callaway did not turn out well. However, plenty of first year guys do. Alex Cora won a World Series in his first season managing. Dave Roberts won pennants in two of his first three seasons managing.
Nowadays managers do not have as much responsibility as they did in the past. Kevin Cash has his decisions made for him before games by the front office and he's won each of the last two Manager of the Year Awards for the American League. Will Buck be willing to take that same step back? I'm not so sure.
Buck has the 20 years of experience, but in those 20 years he hasn't won any championships. He's made the playoffs five times and has won one playoff series. The last time we saw him in the postseason he opted to not use his best reliever coming off of a historically great season in a tie game on the road in the Wild Card Game instead choosing to use Ubaldo JImenez who promptly gave up a walk-off home run.
20 years of experience is great. I get that he turned teams from losing teams to winning teams, but he hasn't won anything. The Yankees had a dynasty after he left and the Diamondbacks won the World Series the year after he left.
If Buck still has the old school mindset of only looking at the handedness of players or not using your best reliever even if it's not a save situation I don't really see why they made this decision. I'm sure if they hired someone else there would've been outrage by the fans and the media but unless Buck adapts I just don't know why he was chosen.
What I will say is it will be nice to have someone who will take control of the clubhouse. There have been numerous reports going around about the chemistry issues revolving around the Mets clubhouse so having a no-nonsense guy like Showalter should be helpful in that regard. It doesn't hurt that Max Scherzer reportedly was clamoring for Showalter as well.
I definitely understand why they hired Showalter and don't hate the hire at all, he just wasn't my first choice.