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In wake of Carlos Beltran's departure, Mets recast their net to find a new manager

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen speaks to

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen speaks to the media to welcome Dellin Betances to the Mets during a press conference at Citi Field on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Maybe Brodie Van Wagenen kept the resumes of the managerial candidates he didn’t choose when he hired Carlos Beltran on Nov. 1.

Friday was the first full day of the Mets general manager’s second managerial search in four months after Beltran and the team “parted ways” on Thursday in the wake of his involvement in a sign-stealing scandal as a player with the 2017 Astros.

The Mets, who declined to comment on their renewed search Friday, are not alone in looking for a new skipper. The Astros and Red Sox also are working on replacing their managers after AJ Hinch was fired and Alex Cora stepped down because of the scandal.

With spring training beginning in less than four weeks, the Astros and Red Sox may have an advantage in that they started their managerial searches earlier than the Mets did. But the Mets presumably have a drawerful of paperwork left over from the interviews they conducted in October to replace Mickey Callaway.

One theory is that the Mets should hire an experienced manager to handle the chaos of starting the gig less than a month before spring training. But the Mets are more likely to subscribe to a different theory: that the manager is simply a cog in the overall front office/ coaching machine and the ability to work within the team structure is more important than experience.

On Thursday, in the conference call to announce Beltran’s departure, Van Wagenen said: “Following this decision, we will now begin to discuss who will be our next manager. Having just gone through this process, we have a number of qualified internal and external candidates who we will be considering. It’s our hope to announce a new manager in the near future. Until then, we won’t speculate on our process. But whomever our manager will become, he will have a tremendous coaching staff already in place that we’ve assembled over the last several weeks.”

Speaking of which: Two of the candidates whom Van Wagenen interviewed for the managerial job later were hired to be part of Beltran’s coaching staff and could be promoted to manager.

Luis Rojas, the Mets’ quality-control coach, is seen as a rising star in the organization. Tony DeFrancesco, the new first-base coach, managed the Mets’ Triple-A club in Syracuse last season and went 16-25 as an interim manager for the Astros in 2012.

Either would make the transition more seamless and would come cheaper than a veteran manager (these are still the Mets we’re talking about).

Also on the staff is bench coach Hensley Meulens, who was Bruce Bochy’s bench coach with the Giants. Meulens has interviewed for several managerial openings — including the job with the Yankees that went to Aaron Boone in 2017 — but was not interviewed by the Mets for manager.

The strongest non-Mets employee candidate is ESPN analyst and former major-league player and coach Eduardo Perez, the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

Perez reportedly was the runner-up to Beltran. On Dec. 10, he signed a multiyear contract with ESPN.

Perez on Friday shared a link on Twitter to an interview he did with an NPR talk show out of WBUR in Boston (an interview in which the host repeatedly referred to Beltran as “Carlos Bertran”)

Perez was asked if he thinks the sign-stealing scandal “taints” the World Series titles of the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox.

“I think it does,” Perez said. “I think in public opinion, people look at it and are always going to be skeptical. They’re always going to be skeptical of the ability of those players who were able to take advantage of knowing what was coming, when it was coming.”

Van Wagenen also interviewed former Mets infielder and current Nationals bench coach Tim Bogar, who could be recalled for another round of interviews.

Whoever replaces Beltran will inherit a roster that the Mets believe is ready to contend now.

Pete Alonso thinks so. After Beltran’s departure, the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year posted on Twitter: “Yes: there’s a lot of craziness in the baseball world right now. At the end of the day, we have to do our job on the field and win the battle between the lines. Great things are to come this year. The boys will be ready.”


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