The Mets and Brodie Van Wagenen are knee-deep in their search for a new manager after recently firing Mickey Callaway. However, they're not the only team looking for a new leader and coaching staff for next season.
In the last few weeks, seven other teams began the same process, including the Phillies, who fired Gabe Kapler on Thursday.
I recently surveyed my usual group of insiders, which includes a handful of front office executives, talent evaluators, agents and former players, to learn how each opening should be viewed by potential managerial candidates.
Here is the final collective rankings, including who each team is rumored to be reportedly interviewing and if they overlap with the Mets. I then give my predictions for how this game of managerial musical chairs will end...
According to multiple reports, so far, the Pirates are only looking at Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, who SNY's Andy Martino has reported will interview with the Mets next week.
Otherwise, the Pirates are looking at people yet to be connected to the Mets.
Why? Because the Pirates are a disaster.
They were the unanimous choice for least desirable job in baseball, according to my contacts.
I mean, the last time the Pirates won the division, Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke were in their lineup. Their big-league roster is a mess and their farm system is no better. Also, the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers are in their division.
Prediction: They end up with an internal candidate or popular former player, who will be replaced when they inevitably decide to build a new front office.
To date, only internal candidates have been mentioned, such as Mike Matheny, Dale Sveum and former Mets catcher Vance Wilson, none of whom are reportedly being pursued by the Mets.
It's difficult to predict where the Royals are going because, in addition to needing a new manager and front office, they're also undergoing a shift in ownership. They do have a nice, new core of young players, though.
Prediction: They go with Matheny, but not before their ownership situation is settled.
Girardi is a name overlapping with the Mets and Angels. Otherwise, LA will reportedly talk with other well-known, veteran names, including Buck Showalter, John Farrell and Joe Maddon, as well as a handful of would-be first-time managers.
Mike Trout alone is enough to make this an attractive job. They also have other position-player prospects on the rise, specifically outfielder Jo Adell. However, insiders caution that the Angels have little organizational pitching depth and their short-term success likely hinges on how much they spend on the free-agent market.
Prediction: Joe Maddon returns home to get Trout the ring his legacy deserves.
In addition to replacing the legendary Bruce Bochy, team president Farhan Zaidi is also looking for a new general manager, whom he intends to hire before bringing in a new manager.
To date, San Francisco and the Mets have no crossover candidates. Instead, Zaidi is reportedly interested in A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay, Raul Ibanez, Hensley Meulens, Eric Chavez, and other blasts from the past.
Bochy is a tough act to follow. However, whoever they choose will inherit a loyal fanbase, a collection of promising young position players, the brilliant Zaidi and owners that are always committed to winning.
Prediction: Difficult to predict. I don't see San Francisco's decision interfering with Van Wagenen's, as Zaidi will end up hiring a former player with modern thinking that will be open to taking orders from the front office.
To date, no potential replacement for the Phillies has also been connected to the Mets. Of course, they just fired their manager Thursday, so it's early. The super early buzz in Philadelphia is team owner John Middleton let general manager Matt Klentak go with a rookie two years ago, but now wants an experienced leader.
With that in mind, I assume they'll go big game hunting and target Girardi, Showalter, Maddon and others.
The thing is, despite all of the hype surrounding Philadelphia's young talent, recent trades and recent boom in spending, they've been basically a .500 team each of the past two seasons and haven't made the playoffs since 2011.
"Kapler is the first shoe to drop there," an MLB insider in the NL East told me. "It's pretty clear given Middleton's words and actions that Klentak is next on the chopping block. I'd be very careful about accepting this job, especially for a veteran looking to win now, not later."
Prediction: Showalter is the only experienced manager I see touching this job. Otherwise, unless they overpay with power and money to pull in Girardi or Maddon, the gig is going to one of the less prominent names being mentioned.
To date, Girardi is the only big-name candidate reportedly set to interview with the Mets. Martino has confirmed that he'll interview with the team, along with the aforementioned Shelton, Beltran and D-backs director of player development Mike Bell (brother of Reds manager David Bell)
I'm of the believe that this is not the time in team history to be tinkering with a rookie manager, which you can read more about in this post from last week. As I said, Girardi is the only candidate that checks all boxes if the Mets want their young talent to evolve and build on their momentum from 2019.
I see Beltran as an ideal person to join Girardi as a bench coach, which is a slot I believe some of the names mentioned above are being considered for as opposed to manager.
Prediction: Girardi. He seemingly wants the job and is the perfect fit at this exact moment. I can also see him having some role and influence in the front office.
The Cubs have interviewed Girardi, who is going to be tempted by a return to his roots. Girardi grew up in Peoria as a Cubs fan, went to Northwestern, was drafted by the Cubs and made their Opening Day roster three years later in 1989.
Otherwise, despite having a long list of candidates being considered, Chicago has yet to be connected to anyone else on Van Wagenen's reported list. Instead, they're reportedly looking at Ibanez along Mark Loretta and former Cub David Ross.
Maddon took over the Cubs at exactly the right time. That will not be the case for whoever replaces him in 2020, after which many of their homegrown players will be hitting free agency for the first time.
Prediction: Girardi, Ross or some other young, recently-retired player's manager.
In the less than 10 days since firing their manager, the Padres have reportedly narrowed their search to six candidates, all with experience and none of whom overlap with Van Wagenen's wishlist.
There are plenty of published reports in San Diego expressing opinion that Beltran is a good fit, but so far nothing indicating real, mutual interest. Instead, San Diego is rumored to be looking at experienced leaders, including Brad Ausmus, Ron Washington and Maddon among others. Loretta is also a reported option.
It should be a highly sought-after job. First off, the manager gets to live in San Diego, which is a win in and of itself. Also, he inherits six top-100 prospects, a leader in Eric Hosmer, three years of Manny Machado, five years of Fernando Tatis Jr. and one of the best, young, team-controlled starting rotations in baseball.
Prediction: They move quick and - despite wanting a veteran - end up with Loretta or Ausmus.
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Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!