Now we know David Stearns’ first major task as the Mets’ president of baseball operations: Hire a manager.
Stearns never did that in seven seasons running the Brewers; he inherited Craig Counsell and kept him throughout.
Knowing virtually nothing about what Stearns will want in a manager, here are five possibilities for Buck Showalter’s successor.
1. Counsell, Brewers manager: He will be a free agent after this season, which for the Brewers is ending with a trip to the playoffs — their fifth in the last six seasons. They won a weak NL Central. If Counsell wants to manage in 2024, joining his former boss with his new team is a natural fit.
2. Pat Murphy, Brewers bench coach: If not Counsell, maybe his top lieutenant? Murphy has been by Counsell’s side for eight seasons and has interviewed for manager openings, including the Mets’, in the past.
3. Joe Espada, Astros bench coach: Stearns and Espada have mutual Houston roots, since Stearns was an assistant general manager there before moving to Milwaukee. Espada has been a frequent interviewee for these types of outings but never gotten the big job, and he spent a couple of years on the Yankees’ staff, so he has a sense of what New York is like.
4. Clayton McCullough, Dodgers first-base coach: Cohen’s Mets interviewed McCullough prior to hiring Showalter. If the Mets want to be the East Coast Dodgers, hiring a Dodger would make sense.
5. Eric Chavez, Mets bench coach: Promoted from hitting coach to bench coach after his first season with the Mets, Chavez has said he wants to be a manager and is close with general manager Billy Eppler. If Eppler and owner Steve Cohen really mean the nice things they said about Showalter when they fired him, maybe they’d be open to hiring the guy who learned under him.