Mets announce Showalter as new manager

New skipper to be introduced Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET

December 21st, 2021

NEW YORK -- Over the past 14 months, the Mets have changed ownership regimes, cycled through four different heads of baseball operations, traded for one of the most prolific players in Major League Baseball and signed another. Now, they believe they have a dugout leader capable of shepherding that group to new heights.

The Mets hired Buck Showalter as their next manager, the team announced on Monday, giving New York the type of experienced leadership it has lacked in recent seasons. Showalter’s new contract is for three years, with a virtual introductory press conference (which will be streamed live on to be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.

“This is a significant day for the organization,” said general manager Billy Eppler. “Buck is one of the most experienced and accomplished managers in the game. He is the perfect baseball mind to lead this team and usher in the next era of Mets baseball. I look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”

In Showalter, the Mets will not only gain a veteran manager for the first time since Terry Collins departed in 2017, but one with significant New York City experience. Showalter is well-known for his work in the Bronx from 1992-95, leading and developing the pre-dynasty Yankees for four seasons. He worked for 20 years as a big league manager for the Yanks, D-backs, Rangers and Orioles, most recently spending nine seasons in Baltimore from 2010-18.

Now the 65-year-old Showalter is headed back to New York, where the Mets intend to compete for a playoff spot under Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler. He comes to the job as the second-most experienced managerial hire in Mets history, behind only their inaugural manager, Casey Stengel.

“This is a tremendous opportunity and a great responsibility to represent this organization, all Mets fans and this city," Showalter said in a statement. "I’m energized and eager to get started.”

Overall, Showalter owns a 1,551-1,517 record as a manager, making the postseason five times but never winning a League Championship Series game. He has also spent brief stints throughout his career as a coach, front-office executive and television analyst, though the bulk of his career has been as a manager.

As such, Showalter brings a veteran presence that the Mets have not had in their dugout over the past four years. Upon parting ways with Collins, the Mets hired first-time managers Mickey Callaway, Carlos Beltrán and Luis Rojas in succession. None of them worked out for various reasons, prompting the Mets to choose Showalter from a group of finalists that also included potential first-timers Joe Espada and Matt Quatraro. Others who interviewed included Brad Ausmus, Bob Geren and Clayton McCullough.

Showalter wound up topping the list, even though his resume is not without uncertainties. Showalter’s career winning percentage is only .506, and he was either dismissed from -- or not asked back to -- all four of his previous managerial jobs. His last winning record came in 2016, when Showalter absorbed significant criticism for not using All-Star closer Zack Britton in the AL Wild Card Game that the Orioles lost. Questions also linger about Showalter’s willingness to accept the type of front-office influence that permeates nearly every dugout in baseball -- an issue that almost certainly came up during the interview process.

But the Mets are confident about the viability of this marriage. The team Showalter is inheriting produced a 77-85 record under Rojas in 2021, with enough established stars for the Mets to believe they are ready to win immediately. Showalter’s first task will be filling out a coaching staff that currently includes only one holdover, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. It remains to be seen how much influence Showalter will have in the hiring of his hitting and bench coaches, and how much will fall to the front office.

While that situation shakes out, Showalter will begin his other duties as the 24th manager in Mets history, with plenty of optimism surrounding his hire. The Mets, who have not made the postseason since 2016 nor won a playoff game since ’15, are eager to return to October baseball.