Mets hitting coach Kevin Long is "more likely than not" to switch teams after losing out on becoming manager for the Mets, FanRag.com's Jon Heyman reported Thursday.
The Mets recently gave permission to the Nationals to interview Long for their managerial vacancy, according to the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga.
The Yankees' managerial job is also open, after the team parted ways with Joe Girardi on Thursday. Long served as hitting coach for the Yankees from 2007 to 2014. The Phillies manager job is technically open, but multiple reports indicate the team is set to hire Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan.
In addition to available managerial jobs, there are multiple hitting coach positions open throughout the league.
Long, whose contract expires at the end of this month, has been the hitting coach for the Mets during the past three seasons. He was interviewed in early October and became a finalist to replace Terry Collins before the team decided to hire Mickey Callaway.
The Nationals announced last week that Dusty Baker would not return to the team for a third season. Washington is also interested in Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez.
While the Mets gave Long permission to interview with the Nationals, GM Sandy Alderson said Monday he hopes his hitting coach is back next season.
"I think he wants to think about it," Alderson told reporters, according to MLB.com.
Aug 7, 2015; Daniel Murphy and Kevin Long (57) talk at Tropicana Field. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports
A career minor leaguer, Long hit .273 with 14 HR and 241 RBI in 671 games from 1989 to 1996.
"Kevin interviewed very well and he was disappointed with our decision," Alderson added Monday. "Right now, it's still a possibility he will be back on the staff. But, we just have to wait and see."
It stands to reason that Long will also want to try and interview with the Yankees, either to be their manager or to join their coaching staff. He made his name in baseball as their hitting coach for seven years, building legendary relationships with Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, before being fired and joining the Mets in 2015. He interviewed with Alderson, seemingly did a good enough job to temporarily be considered the frontrunner to replace Terry Collins. So, maybe he'll interest Brain Cashman again...
The Nationals would be also be a great landing spot for Kevin, though I wonder if D.C. is pulling a Belichick and only interviewing him to learn about the Mets. The Phillies are also still searching for a new manager, and would seemingly be a better fit for him, too. Thankfully, to date, there are no reports indicating that Philly has interest in him and I suspect DC will eventually look to hire someone with experience (maybe Girardi) to help that team over the hump.
As for Long as the Mets, I'm sure Callaway is hoping to keep him since he is respected by players and regarded by coaches as one of the best at his job in baseball. In early-October, Alderson said Long would be back, but Long had since told reporters that nothing is official. That said, given how Long most certainly feel burned by losing out to Callaway, it's totally understandable that he would entertain leaving... even if it means again hooking on some place as a hitting coach.