Derek Shelton’s biggest strength in Mets managerial search

New York Post Sports 1 week ago

Derek Shelton probably isn’t old enough to wear the label “baseball lifer,” but he also won’t be confused with the younger breed of managerial hopefuls competing for the eight open spots across MLB.

The 49-year-old Twins bench coach is among the five known candidates for the Mets’ vacancy, joining Joe Girardi, Carlos Beltran, Mike Bell and Luis Rojas. Of that group, only Girardi has previous big-league managing experience, but Shelton spent the past two seasons as a top lieutenant in Minnesota — first for Paul Molitor and then for Rocco Baldelli, who won 101 games this year as a rookie manager.

“[Shelton] is a great communicator,” said former Mets reliever LaTroy Hawkins, a special assistant with the Twins. “He’s got some old school in him and he’s got a whole lot of analytical in him. I think his biggest strength is he’s able to bring people together. I don’t care what color you are, he is the connector and a positive dude.

“Young guys to older guys to Latinos, it doesn’t make a difference. He has that God-given ability to do that.”

Shelton, a former minor league catcher in the Yankees’ farm system, whose teammates included Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, spent 12 seasons as a hitting coach with the Indians and Rays before going to the Blue Jays in 2017 as the quality control coach.

“He knows how to hold millennials accountable, but doing it in a way where they don’t feel disrespected or embarrassed,” Hawkins said. “It’s a different breed. You have to know how to approach them and how to talk to them, but that is not a bad thing, every generation is different. He’s able to bridge the generational gap. Some guys can’t. If you are just so old school, you can’t do it. Shelton is different.

“I know they are hiring a lot of young managers, but he is not old. When you talk to him and watch him bounce around and interact with people you’re like, ‘Nah, he’s got that 25- or 30-year-old energy.’ ”

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