In the Mets’ search for a new manager, Joe Girardi — the most experienced, accomplished and expensive of their publicly known candidates — is no longer an option.
The Phillies announced the hiring of Girardi on Thursday, giving him a three-year contract with a club option for 2023. It is his first job with a major-league club since the Yankees declined to renew his contract after the 2017 season.
Girardi was one of at least six people to receive a second in-person interview with the Mets. He reportedly met with them for a second time on Tuesday, a day after doing the same with the Phillies.
Among those the Phillies — and the Mets — apparently consulted during this process: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
“Every team that has gone through this interview [process] asked me about Joe Girardi,” Cashman said Thursday during his season-end news conference. “You can find no better candidate. He’s going to represent their franchise well.”
The other reported Mets candidates who made it to this round of interviews are Yankees special adviser Carlos Beltran, ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez, Mets quality-control coach Luis Rojas, Nationals infield/first-base coach Tim Bogar and Twins bench coach Derek Shelton.
Those five candidates have a combined 22 games of major- league managing experience — all by Bogar, as the Rangers’ interim manager in 2014.
Girardi has 11 seasons of experience as a big-league manager. He managed the Marlins in 2006, when he won NL Manager of the Year but was fired because he did not get along with owner Jeffrey Loria. He managed the Yankees from 2008-17 and won the World Series in 2009.
“He’s been a winner his entire career, so I would expect nothing [but] the same is going to continue there in Philadelphia,” Cashman said. “Wish him luck. I thought they had a great selection and I rather it not be in the American League East. I guess that’s the biggest compliment I could give.”
The Phillies fired Gabe Kapler — hired two years ago as part of the same managerial class that brought Mickey Callaway to the Mets — on Oct. 10 and quickly focused on veteran managers. They brought in three finalists for second interviews: Girardi, Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker, with Girardi emerging Monday as the favorite.
With Callaway’s future in question during the season, Girardi, a popular name in the manager rumor mill for two years, had been linked to the Mets for months. Callaway lasted through the season but was fired Oct. 3 with one year remaining on his contract.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen said then that he already had an “expansive” list of potential replacements and that he would look in “a variety of different buckets.”
“We certainly will be considering managers with experience and success at the major-league level,” Van Wagenen said. “We may be considering people that have minor league managerial experience. And we’ll certainly be open to outside-the-box ideas of people that either are up and coming or can provide different perspectives.
“But I think when we put the formula all together, the goal is to have the best person regardless of his resume.”
Three weeks later, Girardi is off the board, making it increasingly likely the Mets will turn to another first-timer.
In addition to the candidates who made it to the next round of interviews, the Mets have interviewed Diamondbacks vice president of player development Mike Bell and Padres first-base coach Skip Schumaker.
Van Wagenen and the Mets care deeply about not leaking details of their manager search, so it is possible — maybe even probable — that they have interviewed and are considering yet- unidentified options.
With Laura Albanese
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