The Mets expect to start the final round of managerial interviews by next week after a virtual meeting with Dodgers first-base coach Clayton McCullough on Thursday likely completed the first round, a source said.
Owner Steve Cohen is scheduled to participate in the in-person sit-downs with a small handful of finalists, according to a person familiar with the Mets’ process. The club’s quick pace — finally focusing on finding a manager with little else they are able to do during the lockout — means they could make a hire by the end of next week.
The Mets have interviewed six candidates. In addition to McCullough, there was former Angels and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro and veteran manager Buck Showalter, sources said this week. Pirates bench coach Don Kelly reportedly removed himself from consideration.
McCullough, who will turn 42 this month, has the least major-league experience of the bunch, having spent only last season on Los Angeles’ staff. Before that he worked in player development as the Dodgers’ minor-league field coordinator and was a minor-league manager for the Blue Jays in 2006-14. He was drafted by Cleveland in 2002 and played parts of four seasons in the minors before transitioning to coaching. His participation in the Mets’ managerial search was first reported by the New York Post.
With Geren and McCullough under consideration, one-third of the Mets’ known candidates are employed by the Dodgers, arguably the premier franchise in the majors. Cohen has sought to model the Mets as the so-called East Coast Dodgers — a big-market team with a huge payroll aided by player-development and scouting machines — so it makes sense that the Mets would look to them.
Of the Mets’ many front-office hires in the past year-plus, one prominent one came from Los Angeles: Ben Zauz-mer, director of baseball analytics.