Gabe Kapler firing throws a wrench into Mets’ managerial search

New York Post Sports 1 month ago

The game of managerial musical chairs became a little more interesting Thursday with the Phillies joining the teams hanging a “help wanted” sign.

As the Mets search for their new manager, Gabe Kapler’s dismissal in Philadelphia at the very least could increase the number of teams pursuing Joe Girardi. The former Yankees manager is expected to meet with Mets officials in the next week after interviewing Wednesday for the Cubs opening. Girardi, a Chicago native, reportedly met with Cubs officials for eight hours.

Girardi, who led the Yankees to their last World Series title in 2009, received an endorsement this week from the team’s general manager, Brian Cashman, who fired the manager two years ago following a Game 7 loss to the Astros in the ALCS.

“When you’re talking about somebody like Joe, he’d give you instant credibility,” Cashman told SNY. “He’s buttoned-up, ready to go and proven successful in the largest market you can find. And he came out on top.

“He was here for 10 years and some things have an expiration date, but that doesn’t diminish the abilities the person possesses or the quality of work he provides. I highly recommend Joe to anybody, even our rivals, unfortunately.”

The Mets have spoken to candidates this week by phone and plan to meet in person with Girardi, Carlos Beltran, Mike Bell and Derek Shelton, according to sources. The Post’s Joel Sherman first reported that Shelton, the Twins bench coach, is among the group who will receive a meeting in person with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and his staff.

The Phillies and Cubs could be diving into the same pool as the Mets for their next manager, given that all three are large-market teams that will be considered playoff contenders next season. As it stands, the Cubs are expected to interview Beltran, and the Phillies have been linked to Buck Showalter, a potential Mets candidate.

The Giants, Padres, Pirates, Angels and Royals join the Mets, Phillies and Cubs among teams searching for a new manager. Joe Maddon has been heavily connected to the Angels opening and is considered the front-runner for the job. Shelton, who served as Rocco Baldelli’s top lieutenant with a Twins team that won 101 games this season, also could be in play for the Pirates.

Bell, the Diamondbacks’ vice president of player development, comes from a baseball family. Grandfather Gus and father Buddy played in the big leagues, as did brother David, who manages the Reds. Buddy Bell also worked as a major league manager, with the Tigers, Rockies and Royals.

When the Mets held their last managerial search following the 2017 season, there was overlap with the Phillies, who had interest in Mickey Callaway. But former general manager Sandy Alderson moved quickly to hire Callaway, after missing out on Alex Cora, who was close to landing the Red Sox job by the time he interviewed with the Mets.

It’s expected that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and owner Fred Wilpon will have significant input in choosing the next manager. Other names the Mets still could consider include Joe Espada, Joe McEwing, Luis Rojas, Carlos Febles, Joey Cora, Ron Roenicke and Manny Acta.

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