Finally, the Mets have finalists — or something like that.
The Mets, still trying to decide on a manager, are conducting a third round of in-person interviews this week with at least four candidates, according to reports Monday.
Among those returning for a sitdown with chief executive officer Fred Wilpon, who was not heavily involved in earlier rounds: ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez, Nationals infield/first-base coach Tim Bogar, Yankees special adviser Carlos Beltran and Twins bench coach Derek Shelton.
One potentially complicating factor is that Bogar’s team is playing in the World Series. If he didn’t interview Monday — an off day for the Fall Classic — the Mets will have to wait until it is over to talk to him. Game 6 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Houston and Game 7, if necessary, will be played Wednesday.
Although it is always possible that the Mets will double back and consider other options, the involvement of the elder Wilpon suggests their search is nearing a conclusion. Wilpon, 82 and the team’s principal owner, still is a presence around the team but has largely ceded day-to-day control to his son, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.
All month, the Mets have been in no hurry to decide on a replacement for Mickey Callaway, fired four weeks ago Thursday. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s across-the-board philosophy of thoroughness and turning over every stone in trying to make the Mets better appears to be very much in place during this slow, deliberate search.
Those said to be returning to meet with Wilpon have extremely varied resumes.
Perez has dabbled with dugout jobs — a couple of seasons as a major-league coach, stints as a manager in winter league and international play — but has been mostly a broadcaster since his playing career ended after the 2006 season. Beltran was the best player of the group but has been out of uniform for only two seasons and has never coached or managed at any level.
Bogar (five seasons as a manager in the minors, 10 seasons as a coach in the majors) and Shelton (three seasons as a manager in the minors, 15 seasons as a coach in the majors) have the most traditional experience for manager jobs.
Two candidates who had reached the second round of interviews have not been reported — so far — as returning for the third: Mets quality-control coach Luis Rojas and Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy. There also was Joe Girardi, who was officially introduced as the Phillies’ manager on Monday.
SNY first reported that Perez, Bogar and Beltran were returning. The New York Post first mentioned Fred Wilpon’s involvement and Shelton’s third interview.