Here is Mets’ preliminary list of managerial candidates

Joe Espada Astros sunglasses

Joe Espada Astros sunglasses

Prior to the MLB lockout that began on Thursday morning, the Mets were intensely focused on player acquisitions. Now Billy Eppler and Co. are shifting in earnest to the search for a manager.

Through league sources, we were able to assemble most of the team’s preliminary list. The team has discussed other names internally, so additional candidates could yet emerge.

To be clear, this is not the list of people who the Mets have contacted or will definitely interview; it’s the list of people in whom the Mets have some level of preliminary interest:

  • Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada

  • Veteran manager Buck Showalter

  • Tampa Bay bench coach Matt Quatraro

  • Pittsburgh bench coach Don Kelly

  • Former Tigers and Angels manager Brad Ausmus

Before interviews take place, it is impossible to label a frontrunner. Having said that, it does feel like there’s early buzz surrounding Espada. In addition to his history with Eppler in the Yankees organization, Espada has been at the center of what the Astros have accomplished under Dusty Baker over the past two seasons.

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