The New York Mets are focusing on their managerial search during the lockout, and a new addition has made it known that he has a clear preference of who should be at the helm in 2022 and beyond.
Pat Ragazzo, the Mets’ beat reporter for Sports Illustrated, tweeted that Max Scherzer is lobbying for Buck Showalter to be the next manager of the Mets.
Showalter most recently managed the Baltimore Orioles from 2010 to 2018. His first full season was 2011, when the team went 69-93. They followed with five consecutive seasons of being .500 or better, including winning the division in 2014 with 96 wins.
Scherzer pitched for the nearby-rival Nationals starting in 2015, so he had a closeup view of Showalter for his last four seasons as Orioles manager.
In his introductory press conference, Scherzer talked about how important the culture of the clubhouse is. Showalter is known for being demanding and having high expectations, which would absolutely be a change for the Mets.
Another skill that makes Showalter an attractive manager is his bullpen management. Britt Ghiroli wrote an article for The Athletic where she mentions that, when she covered the Orioles as a beat reporter, players never felt that they were going to be outmaneuvered by opponents. Showalter is obsessed with preparation, and that comes out in his in-game decisions. That would be another huge change for the Mets, who have not had good bullpen management since Terry Collins.
Speaking of Collins, he has advocated for Showalter as well, saying “Nobody crossed the T’s and dots the I’s better than Buck.”
There 's a rumor that Steve Cohen told Billy Eppler that he wants Showalter to be the next manager. Eppler is conducting his own exhaustive search, but he is aware of Cohen’s inclination.
For what it’s worth, Showalter, who makes regular appearances on MLB Network, highly praised the Mets for choosing Eppler as the new GM. He said that Eppler is “engaged and loves to compete” and “everybody I respect thinks the world of him” in between rambling nonsense from Joel Sherman.
There are doubts about Showalter, just like there are for every candidate. At 65 years old, does he understand analytics and their importance? Ghiroli’s article mentions that when he was with the Orioles, they didn’t even have an analytics department. Managing now, with so much more information available and so many decisions made by the front office, is going to be a much different experience for Showalter. He is not going to have as much control over the lineup or pitching decisions as he used to, especially since the Mets have invested a lot in their analytics department since Cohen took over.
One thing that helps his candidacy is that he’s managed in New York before. He managed the Yankees from 1992 to 1995. The Yankees finished in the top two in the AL east three of those four years, including winning the division in the strike-shortened 1994.
Like any other manager, there are advantages and disadvantages to hiring him. While he has had success and is known for having high standards, his understanding - or more accurately, lack thereof - of analytics could be troubling.
Do you think Buck Showalter is a good fit for the Mets?