Right before Christmas, the Mets may have made their biggest decision of the offseason (which says a lot) by hiring Buck Showalter as their skipper. The Mets have been the image of instability in recent seasons, especially when it comes to their management team. From Carlos beltranhiring and firing, at the Jared Porter debacle, at the Mickey callaway Debacle, to Zack Scott’s debacle, it’s been a comedy of mistakes for the Mets – and with that one decision alone, they’re hoping to turn the tide.
Enter Showalter, who is not only a veteran skipper, but he is well respected throughout the game. At the very least, he should be able to end his contact without committing a crime. And yet, that’s not enough for a franchise that brings together a solid collection of baseball talent. You just have to ask Luis Rojas. This team wants to win, and if it does, Showalter will be one of the reasons why.
The winners are there, even if Showalter wears the unfortunate distinction of having left two different saves the year before winning the World Series. The championships are obviously not linear. Whether it is positive or negative that the Yankees and Diamondbacks both won titles the year after he left is a debate for another day.
Let’s stick to the facts for a moment: he has a career winning percentage of 0.506 as a manager in 3,069 games. His teams have made the playoffs five times in 20 seasons. His best season, by record, was cut short by a strike in 1994. His worst season, by record, was his last, a 115-loss disaster in 2018 with the Orioles.
Mike Puma of the New York Post has walked through Showalter’s management history, reflecting on his stops with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles. Wherever he went, Showalter has been hailed as a strong tactician, incredibly smart about the game, and a great communicator with his players. The latter is perhaps the most important for a besieged band playing in the bright New York City spotlights.
Showalter has some of the best veterans in the baseball club out there to help him Max Scherzer and Francisco lindor. With Jacob of Grom, the Mets have the big names to meet the big expectations of the Big Apple. Having started his career with the Yankees, Showalter knows what it’s like to play in these conditions.
The problem with hiring Showalter would be that he’s older now, and the last time we saw him in the vault he was perceived lagging behind in terms of baseball’s analytical movement. Generalizations are stickier than a full analysis, however, and Showalter’s time in Baltimore is not limited to his decision to hold Zack Britton for a potential stoppage that never happened in the 2016 playoffs, although that’s the moment that remains.
The first test for Showalter is to complete his team of coaches. He appears to have made his first big decision by hiring Joey Cora to coach the third base. Cora joins Showalter and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner on staff. Many more decisions are yet to come. According to the latest news from Anthony DiComo of MLB, Showalter said he completed his squad, “There are so many good qualified people out there. … We are moving as fast as possible, but we don’t want to be wrong. These are very valuable and important jobs, and there has to be collaboration with them.
As limited as our information is, does renting Showalter put the Mets on the right track? MLBTR readers, lend us your wisdom: Is Showalter the right guy to lead these Mets? Let’s keep it simple for the poll and go into the details in the comments.
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