By Matt Citak
While the crosstown rival Yankees are one win away from the World Series, the New York Mets, after a disappointing season that saw them finish 22 games below .500, are in the middle of the incredibly important process of selecting the team’s next manager.
The Mets have conducted interviews with several candidates in the past week, while a few other names have been floated around recently as potential dark horses in the process. New York may have lost one of their candidates to another team this week, but might have improved their chances with another. The team will reportedly conduct second-round interviews next week.
Here’s a look at all of the names that have been considered for the Mets’ managerial opening.
Cora is currently serving as the Houston Astros bench coach. The former infielder, who played for the Mets from 2009-10, interviewed with both the Mets and Red Sox while the Astros were in New York for the ALCS.
Cora has been one of the hottest managerial candidates this offseason. He is in his first season as a coach after spending 14 seasons in the majors, then working for ESPN as an analyst over the previous four years. Cora also served as general manager of the Puerto Rican team that made the championship game of the World Baseball Classic in March.
LasMayores.com, Major League Baseball’s official Spanish website, tweeted Thursday that the Red Sox will name Cora their manager after the ALCS — but then it deleted the tweet. Meanwhile, NBC Boston is reporting that industry sources expect Cora to get the job. Boston president Dave Dombrowksi insists no decision has been made.
Long has been the Mets’ hitting coach since 2015. Prior to that, he served as the Yankees’ hitting coach from 2007-14.
Long has had a significant effect on Mets hitters since he joined the team in 2015. Many players, including former Met and current Washington National Daniel Murphy, credit Long for helping them become the successful hitters they are today.
Many believe Long is the favorite to get the open managerial position with the Mets.
McEwing has spent the past six seasons on the Chicago White Sox’s staff, most recently serving as the team’s bench coach. He interviewed with both the Mets and Tigers recently.
McEwing spent a few seasons with the Mets in the early 2000s and was a fan favorite. Several old teammates of his, including Al Leiter and Cliff Floyd, had nothing but praise for McEwing and his pursuit to become a major league manager.
The Tigers will hire Ron Gardenhire to be their next manager, thus leaving the Mets as the only known team currently considering McEwing for their opening.
Callaway has been the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians for the last five seasons. The Phillies have also interviewed him for their opening.
Callaway is a former major league pitcher who won a World Series ring with the Angels in 2002. Prior to him joining the Indians’ staff, Cleveland’s pitching posted the worst ERA (4.79) in the American League. Since he took over as pitching coach in 2013, the Indians have a league-leading 3.65 ERA, including this season’s pitching staff leading the majors in ERA, strikeouts and walks.
Callaway is considered a finalist for both New York and Philadelphia’s open positions.
Acta has been a coach in the majors since joining the Expos in 2002, and most recently served as the Mariners third-base coach this past season.
Acta has managerial experience with the Nationals and Indians. He also has some experience with the Mets, as he was the team’s third-base coach during Willie Randolph’s tenure as manager. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and assistant general manager John Ricco are among the members of the Mets’ upper management who still have a relationship with Acta.
Acta is another finalist for the Mets’ managerial position.
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Alomar has been coaching in the majors for the last nine years, most recently serving as the Indians’ bench coach.
Alomar spent 20 years as a big-league catcher. He began his coaching career as a catching instructor for the Mets in 2008, a role he had for two seasons before joining Cleveland’s coaching staff in 2009.
Alomar has not been interviewed by the Mets as of yet, but recent reports say the team may still choose to talk with the former catcher.
Ausmus was the manager of the Tigers for four seasons. In late September, the Tigers opted not to renew Ausmus’ contract.
Ausmus spent 18 seasons in the majors as a catcher, playing for four different clubs. During his four years as Detroit’s manager, he posted a 314-332 record.
Ausmus interviewed for the Red Sox managerial opening, but turned down the opportunity to interview with the Mets. Reports say if he is not chosen to be Boston’s manager, he will take a year off from the field.
Other names that have been mentioned in reports over the last few weeks as possible candidates include Bob Geren, Robin Venture and Chip Hale, although Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is no longer considering them.
As of Friday, there are four candidates who are considered to be on Alderson’s final list: Long, McEwing, Callaway and Acta, assuming Cora is indeed off the market. However, other possibilities, including Alomar, have not been ruled out. It is also entirely possible the Mets look into Joe Girardi, should the Yankees decide to let their manager walk following the conclusion of their season, or Dusty Baker, whom the Nationals parted ways with Friday. But according to the New York Daily News, the Mets had no plans to interview Baker as of Friday afternoon.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to email@example.com.