Reese Kaplan -- More Managerial Options for 2018


Awhile ago I profiled some minor league managers and coaches who might make some sense for the Mets if they choose to go in a new direction.  I tend to think that the Mets may choose to allow Terry Collins to serve out his term and then see if they will indeed replace Sandy Alderson as well.  If Alderson is also not renewed (retired would be the politically correct term), then they will likely wait to allow the new GM to select the new on-the-field manager.  

This time let’s take a look at some highly regarded former players or MLB coaching veterans who might be poised to take the next step forward in their baseball careers:

  • Sandy Alomar, Jr. – To some extent Alomar’s post playing career has been moving backwards.  He was a catching coach for the Mets for a few year before leaving for Cleveland with Manny Acta to serve as a first base coach.  He got promoted to bench coach and even was named interim manager after Acta was fired and delivered a 3-3 record (which, at .500, is still better than what Terry Collins has done in his career).  When the Indians moved onto a new manager they retained Alomar but moved him back to the first base coaching role.
  • Alex Cora – Currently coaching in a winning Houston Astros organization, it might be tough to pry the former Mets infielder loose (even with the lure of having the reins).  Being a highly regarded baseball mind, the Astros may not be inclined to grant him permission.  A.J. Hinch is having a season for the ages, so they may choose to be magnanimous since Cora’s managerial future will likely not be in Houston for quite some time. 
  • Joey Cora – Alex’s older brother is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and has had an interesting coaching career after his playing days ended.  He worked for the Mets as a minor league manager before departing to join Ozzie Guillen both in Chicago and in Miami.  For the White Sox he was in charge of a lot of the grunt work for Guillen, running spring training and serving as the interim manager whenever the volatile Guillen was removed from the dugout.  He’s been a winter league manager for many years and returned to the AA rank as a manager for the Pirates organization before ascending to the majors for the 2017 season as a coach. 
  • Chili Davis – He took a long and winding road to the majors after finishing his days as a DH and outfielder.  He started off in Australia as the hitting coach for three years for the national team before moving on to become a hitting coach for the Dodgers in the instructional league.  He spurned the Dodgers and moved to the Red Sox as hitting coach for their AAA franchise before moving up to the majors as a hitting instructor for the Oakland Athletics in 2011.  He returned to Boston in 2014 where he’s served as hitting instructor ever since.  Like Alex Cora, he might be a tough sell since he’s already with a winning organization. 
  • Ron Gardenhire – Former Twins manager of the year has had an up and down career, just barely over .500, but it includes 6 division championships and 5 seasons with losing records during his 13 years in Minnesota.  He’s had to make do with a lot of unknown ballplayers and pretty much no spending by the front office, so he’d fit right in even if he didn’t already have Mets ties.  He started the season as a coach with the Diamondbacks but after a week he had to leave due to prostate cancer surgery.  Assuming he’s healthy, he’d probably get some consideration. 
  • Gabe Kapler – Kapler abandoned his playing career relatively early to take over as manager of the Red Sox A-ball affiliate but missed the game as a player and abandoned his role to return as a player for three more years.  He has managed Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic.  He then moved onto a broadcasting career for ESPN in which he was able to explain advanced Sabremetrics and also had a segment on what young hitters need to know to improve.  These attributes are very Anti-Collins in approach and suggests he’d be good with a microphone in his hand.  In 2014 he became the Director of Player Development for the Dodgers and was in line to replace Don Mattingly but the job was eventually given to Dave Roberts.  With the Dodgers flying high in the NL West it may be that Kapler finds he will have to seek opportunities elsewhere.
  • Roberto Kelly – Currently serving as the first base coach and hitting instructor for the San Francisco Giants.  He’s coached players (including pitchers) to be smarter and more aggressive on the basepaths.  He doesn’t have a lot of experience on his resume, but it would be a good thumbing of the nose by hiring the former Yankee. 
  • Barry Larkin – Once rumored to be coming to the Mets via trade, perhaps it’s time to bring him to Queens in another role.  He’s managed for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic but got eliminated in the first round.  He was offered the opportunity to interview for the Detroit Tigers managerial vacancy but turned it down.  He did interview later for the Toronto Blue Jays slot but didn’t get an offer.  He has been involved worldwide to promote baseball to countries such as Lithuania, Taiwan, India, Colombia and Ecuador.  Perhaps this international focus would help open some eyes for a club that’s really been fairly xenophobic when it comes to scouting.  He’s currently back home with the Cincinnati Reds as a roving instructor. 
  • Joe McEwing – Always a fan favorite, Super Joe has been coaching since 2008.  He started off as a hitting instructor (specializing in Randy Johnson, no doubt), but then went onto manage the single A affiliate of the White Sox.  Baseball America cited McEwing as its top managerial prospect back in 2009 and he’s continued up the chain, arriving in Chicago for the 2012 season as a third base coach for former teammate Robin Ventura. 
  • Hensley Meulens – Another highly regarding hitting instructor, Bam Bam has served the AAA affiliate of the Pirates, the Arizona fall league and the Hawaiian winter league before moving onto the San Francisco Giants AAA franchise and then the big club where his team won 3 pennants in 5 years under his tutelage.  He has no managing experience under his belt but is very highly regarded.
  • Phil Nevin – After a successful playing career, Nevin went to the independent leagues to begin his managerial quest.  He spent one season there before catching on with the AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.  He ascended to the helm of the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA), then moved onto the Reno Aces in the PCL for the Diamondbacks where he won his first pennant.  Former Mets catcher Omir Santos said he is like having a big league manager in the minors.  By most accounts it’s just a matter of time before he gets his first major league managerial gig.
  • Jose Oquendo – The one-time Mets utility infielder and rejected managerial candidate is again a consideration for some club’s opening for a Skipper.  He has served as a coach and manager in the Cardinals organization before ascending to St. Louis to serve first as a bench coach and later a third base coach.  In addition to failing to land the Mets managerial job, he’s also interviewed for the head job with the Mariners and the Padres.  He’s known for his fiery personality, something sorely lacking in Queens.
  • Tony Pena – In his first season managing in the minors he won a championship.  He then followed that debut up with two Dominican winter league titles in three years and a Caribbean World Series championship.  In 2003 he turned around the moribund Kansas City Royals and had them finish with a winning record for the first time in many years.  Unfortunately the following season they got off to an 8-25 start and he resigned in May.  In 2005 he was hired by the Yankees to serve as a first base coach and he’s remained in their employ for a dozen years.  He was interviewed for the Boston Red Sox job after Bobby Valentine left and has the distinction of having the only undefeated team in the WBC with his Dominican squad finishing 8-0. 
  • Ron Wotus – Hardly a household name, Wotus has spent six years managing his way from A ball up to AAA in the Giants organization.  He was named both California League Manager of the Year and Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.  Since 1998 he has been a bench coach for the Giants, outlasting Dusty Baker and Felipe Alou, while serving as the right hand man to current manager Bruce Bochy.  He’s interviewed four five teams’ managerial vacancies but still has not gotten the head job.


Viper said...

Out of your list, I would choose Tony Pena. Great baseball mind.

Zozo said...

I would also call consider Tim Bogar and Robin Ventura.

Sandy should definitely RETIRE, what's he thinking by saying defense isn't a priority.

Mack Ade said...

Sadly, my choice (Tim Teufel) is not in play anymore.

My vote... Joe McEwing

Thomas Brennan said...

Super Joe has my vote.

Reese Kaplan said...

In the first part of this series I had written about Bogar and other less well known minor league managers and coaches.

Eddie Corona said...

Some good interesting choices

Zozo said...

Oh I missed that. I met Bogar at fantasy camp and he is an awesome guy and really think they should bring him in for an interview.

Hobie said...

From those mentioned: Pena, Oquendo, Gardenhire in that order. Ventira & Bogar are interesting too.

Robb said...

who is best to manage, rosario, smith, cespedes, harvery and thor. Degrom and conforto are easy. thats the answer.

personally, id like to see kapler, alomar jr. and alex cora. Statistically speaking couches who were all-star level or above in all sports make some of the worst coaches, bc they dont understand how other people fail at something they succeeded at.

also catchers seem to have an advantage in understanding all parts of the game.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Zozo -- here's the link:


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