Inbox: Who's on the radar for Mets' vacancies?

October 18th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Now that the chaos of early October has come and gone, the Mets don’t figure to make too much news over the coming weeks. But plenty of intrigue should follow in November, given the Mets’ vacancies at manager, general manager and of course on the pitching staff.

Let’s dive into the mailbag to answer some of your questions regarding all that and more. Thanks to everyone who submitted queries via X:

Could Kim Ng be a possible replacement for Billy Eppler? -- DonaldStevie25

The short answer is yes, absolutely she could be. The problem is that she might be overqualified. As a general manager who just guided the Marlins to their first full-season playoff berth in two decades, Ng can credibly compete for a top baseball operations job with the Red Sox, White Sox or elsewhere. In New York, she would have to settle for second-in-command behind David Stearns, who was hired to lead the baseball ops department.

But Ng isn’t guaranteed to land one of those other jobs, and if she doesn’t, New York seems like an excellent place for her to wind up. Ng spent much of her childhood in Queens and a significant part of her professional career in the five boroughs. The Mets could compensate her handsomely as their No. 2, despite their inability to offer her the top job.

So consider this a match in some ways but not others. The Mets aren’t likely to hire a general manager anytime soon, given their litany of more pressing agenda items. They still must find a manager to replace Buck Showalter. They have to attack the Hot Stove season with aggression. 

In the meantime, it’s probably worth a phone call to gauge Ng’s interest. Owner Steve Cohen has stated his desire to load the baseball operations department with as much brainpower as possible; a staff led by Stearns and Ng would go a long way toward achieving that goal. 

What’s the real difference between a president of baseball operations and a GM? -- @mikefichera 

Essentially none -- it’s simply a different corporate title, which has become increasingly popular over the last decade. In the baseball world, those sorts of resume lines don’t mean much; all that matters is which person is actually leading the department. Stearns may be the president of baseball ops in New York, for example, but his powers aren’t much different from those that Eppler held as GM. 

So what’s the benefit? Teams generally allow their executives to interview elsewhere for jobs that are considered promotions, but that’s not always the case for lateral moves. Creating a title above GM helps clubs gain permission to talk to those sorts of candidates. 

In future decades, it won’t be surprising to see the goalposts shift again. There’s always another way to phrase a title, even if the job description remains essentially the same. 

Anything new on the manager search? -- @NimmOBP 

Due to the way managerial contracts work, the Mets reportedly can’t interview Craig Counsell until his current deal expires two weeks from now. The industry consensus is that Counsell should at least land an interview, even if he ultimately decides to stay in Milwaukee. For that reason and others, the Mets aren’t likely to make any decisions until at least mid-November. However, you can probably expect the names of other candidates to start leaking out soon.

Mets obviously need additions to the starting rotation. But how many starters do you expect them to add? And how are David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Tylor Megill, and even Mike Vasil viewed? Are they candidates for the Opening Day rotation or purely depth pieces right now? -- @Manach_38 

As things stand here in mid-October, I wouldn’t feel comfortable penciling anyone other than Kodai Senga and José Quintana into the rotation. I fully expect the Mets to add multiple starting pitchers on guaranteed deals this winter, whether that’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto or any number of other, older starters. They could sign two. They could sign three. In either case, the pitchers you mentioned (plus José Butto, who came on strong in September) will slot in as organizational depth. At most, they’ll compete for the fifth starter’s job in Spring Training. 

Do you foresee Kevin Parada taking on a new position next season? It’s a no-brainer to think he’s blocked by Francisco Alvarez. -- @patrickhd52 

Much as the Mets waited until the last possible moment to move Ronny Mauricio off shortstop, the organization is likely to do the same with Parada at catcher. Parada’s abilities as a backstop are a big part of what made him a first-round pick. If he turns into such a solid prospect that he and Alvarez begin jockeying for playing time, that will be an excellent problem for the Mets to have. It’s also one they can address at that time, either via trade or a position change. Catcher, more than any other position, is one that’s relatively easy for two players to share.