Not long into Billy Eppler’s introductory press conference, one reporter asked the new Mets general manager what type of manager he wanted.
“I’d love to find somebody that works every single box and is great in all areas,” Eppler said. “It’s interesting that you bring it up because over this past year, learning and reading and kind of rethinking some of the ways that you approach things, I wanted to be able to sit down with the senior baseball ops group and sit down with Steve (Cohen) and Sandy (Alderson), and kind of all collectively talk about what kind of criteria we think might be important for the next manager of the Mets.
“I have a little bit of my own feeling about that, but I’d rather hold back on giving exactly what that criteria is in this moment in time because I want to have the group engaged and get a sense for, do you value for example tactical in-game management as your primary criteria, your primary element? Do you value analytics, and analytical in-game probabilistic thinking as your number one criteria? Or ability to connect with the media and fan base, obviously that’s critical. And clubhouse culture.”
‘Bigger swings’ in free agency:: Takeaways as Mets introduce new GM Billy Eppler
In other words: We don’t know what the Mets are looking for quite yet.
But here are a few candidates who might make sense, based on ties to Eppler and previous experience:
The 52-year-old Ausmus managed four seasons in Detroit and then another with the Angels.
The obvious: Eppler was Ausmus’ boss in Anaheim.
Ausmus has a 386-422 record as a manager, but the interesting part is what occurred not long ago.
Ausmus, who played for the Astros, was reportedly a candidate for their manager job that eventually went to Dusty Baker. He could be an intriguing mix of youth (age) and experience (two managerial jobs) if the Mets were to pursue him, especially because he has ties to Eppler.
Multiple reports out of Southern California indicated that Showalter received interest fro Eppler’s Angels for their managerial vacancy in 2019. The Angels hired Joe Maddon.
On MLB Network recently, Showalter discussed the Mets’ hiring of Eppler. He praised it and said everyone he respects in the game has spoken highly of Eppler.
“The one thing as a Mets fan, what you want in your general manager — and your manager, from that standpoint — is that you care about the team as much as I do,” Showalter said. “They want to know when they wake up that this guy, he’s touching every possible angle to make the Mets better. Are you engaged? Does it mean as much to you as it does to them?”
The 65-year-old Buck Showalter has been out of managing since he last held the Orioles job in 2018. He would bring experience, but could he mesh with today’s players?
Showalter’s career record in the dugout is 1,551-1,517.
Espada, Houston’s bench coach, has been in the running for several MLB managerial gigs.
In 2019, he reportedly did multiple interviews for the open Cubs job. He also interviewed with the Giants.
He knows New York because he served on Joe Girardi’s Yankees coaching staff for three years. Espada is a name you always hear when manager jobs open.
But he would be a first-time manager. Can the Mets go that route again after their last two managers were first-time MLB skippers?
This one is a major longshot, but it might be worth a try for the Mets.
Publicly, Bochy has never really closed the door on managing again. He would check the experience box, for sure. He is 2,003-2,029 as a manager but has three World Series and a National League pennant on his résumé.
But would Bochy, a West Coast guy, entertain coming to the East Coast? It seems unlikely but the Mets might want to feel out his potential interest.
Justin Toscano is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NY Mets manager: Buck Showalter, Brad Ausmus candidates