Having read lots of articles about the next Mets manager recently got me thinking: Who are some potential candidates other than the oft-named ’86 Mets? I decided to take a closer look at a few gentlemen who are currently on the coaching staffs of other major league teams. My only two subjective prerequisites were that they have previous professional managerial experience and that they not be over 60 years of age. Yeah I’m an ageist, so sue me. This investigation resulted in the six names below listed in alphabetical order. Take a look and let your opinions be known on these potential candidates, or others, in the comments.
Tony Beasley – 43 years of age, Beasley never made it to the major leagues as a player spending all or parts of 9 seasons in the minor leagues primarily as a 2B. His playing career ended with 6 games for the AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates at age 31 in 1998. His pro-coaching career began in 1998 when he served as a player/coach at both the A & AA levels for the Pirates. In 1999, his playing days behind him, he served as batting coach at the GCL level, then assumed the same duties in 2000 at the A ball level. 2001 was his 1st season as a manager and he led the Pirates short-season A ball team to a 46-26 (.639) record as co-champions (along with the Brooklyn Cyclones) of the New York-Penn League. In 2002 he moved up to low-class A and was named Manager of the Year by Baseball America for that class in both 2002 & 2003. Moving to AA in 2004 Beasley was once again named Baseball America Manager of the Year for leading the team to the championship round. Overall Beasley spent 5 years as a manager in the Pirates system compiling a 372-258 (.590) record and his teams reached the post season every year. Beasley finally made it to the major leagues in 2006 as the 3B coach of the Washington Nationals under manager Frank Robinson. The Pirates brought him back in 2007 as their minor league infield coordinator then named him 3B coach at the major league level which, along with base running instructor and bunting coach, remains his current position. On a lighter note: Beasley sang the National Anthem prior to the Pirates game Tuesday August 24th and the team scored 4 runs and won after having scored 2 runs or fewer in 11 of their previous 12 games 10 of which they lost. But seriously: Beasley is 1 of only 7 minority 3B coaches in the major leagues.
- My two cents: Beasley has done nothing but win as a minor league manager. However his entire professional career has been outside the bright lights and big cities and I’m concerned that all New York City brings to the equation may be too much for him as a rookie major league manager. Ultimately I believe he’s worthy of an interview by the Mets because he’s a winning minor league manager.
Tim Bogar - 43 years of age, the former major league infielder has Mets ties having been picked by them in the 8th round of the 1987 amateur draft and making his major league debut with them in 1993. He spent all or parts of 4 seasons with the Mets and all or parts of 9 seasons overall in the majors mostly as a utility infielder. His playing career ended with 13 games for the AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies at age 35 in 2002. His pro-coaching debut was as manager of the Houston Astros rookie affiliate in 2004. He was named Manager of the Year after the team won the Appalachian League championship going 41-26 (.612). The following season Bogar was promoted to Single-A manager and the team finished with a league best 81-58 (.583) record. In 2006 he moved to the Cleveland Indians system and Baseball America named him Best Manager Prospect after he guided the Indians AA affiliate to the Eastern League championship round, a feat he repeated in 2007. Overall in 4 seasons as a minor league manager Bogar’s record is 289-200 (.591). In 2008 Bogar joined the Tampa Bay Rays as a quality assurance coach working both in uniform as an infield defense and base running coach as well as out of uniform as liaison with the scouting department on advance series preparation for the eventual AL Champions. He spent the 2009 season as the 1B coach of the Boston Red Sox and is currently serving as their 3B coach. On a lighter note: Like so many of his brethren around the league Bogar is despised by a vocal portion of the Red Sox fan base as a 3B coach. But seriously: 12 years ago Bogar narrowly escaped a tornado.
- My two cents: Unlike Beasley, Bogar comes with no big-market reservations on my part having played in New York and Los Angeles, then coached in Boston. His winning minor league record and his experiences with Joe Maddon in Tampa and Terry Francona in Boston, where he surely has experienced media scrutiny, are big pluses in my eyes. I hope the Mets have him on their short list.
Joey Cora - 45 years of age, Cora spent all or parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues as a middle infielder garnering an All-Star selection as a 1997 Seattle Mariner. His playing career ended with 155 games for the Mariners and Cleveland Indians in 1998. He served as the general manager of Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League from 1999-2001. His first pro-coaching stint was with the A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in 2000, then he served as manager of the New York Mets rookie league team in Kingsport in 2001-2002. The combined record of those 2 teams, which finished in 6th and 9th places respectively, was 54-80 (.403). His final season as a manager was 2003 with the Montreal Expos class A team which he guided to a 58-80 (.420) record. In 2004 he joined the major league coaching staff of the Chicago White Sox for whom he still works. He spent 2004-2007 as their 3B coach and since has been their bench coach under manager Ozzie Guillen. He is the brother of former Met infielder Alex Cora. On a lighter note: Despite Manny Ramirez speaking perfect English when first meeting the press as a new member of the Los Angeles Dodgers 2 years ago, when he arrived recently as a new member of the Chicago White Sox he had Cora serve as his translator. But seriously: If the Mets are genuinely interested in Cora they’d better act on it as apparently they have competition for his services.
- My two cents: If nothing else Cora is the candidate du jour. I realize the won-lost record of the teams he managed is not the only way to judge his effectiveness but from afar it’s all I’ve got and it’s not impressive. He is rumored to be in the running for the Seattle Mariners job and my inclination, especially after the awkward departure of his brother from the Mets this season, is to let Cora seek employment elsewhere.
Pat Listach - 43 years of age, Listach spent all or parts of 6 seasons in the major leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros primarily as a shortstop winning Rookie of the Year in 1992. His playing career ended with 88 games for the AAA affiliates of the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians at age 30 in 1998. His pro-coaching career began in 2000 as the hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs single A affiliate, then he spent the next 5 seasons as hitting coach of their AAA affiliate. Listach managed at the AAA level for 55 games in 2002 on an interim basis then got his 1st full-time manager’s job with the Cubs AA affiliate in 2006. The following season he guided the AA team to the playoffs then was promoted to AAA manager where in 2008 he led the club to a record of 83-59 (.585) and a post season appearance. For that feat he was named PCL Manager of the Year. The Washington Nationals hired him for a major league coaching job beginning in 2009 and he is currently 3B coach and infield coach for the club. On a lighter note: The Yankees traded for Listach when he had a broken foot. But seriously: Listach missed 469 of a possible 972 games during his 6 year career due to injuries.
- My two cents: Given his injury history and the Mets awful recent history with injuries were they to hire Listach as their manager he might become the 1st manager to ever go on the disabled list. Apparently a “friend of Pat’s” has said he’s interested in succeeding Lou Pinella as manager of the Cubs next season. He strikes me as more of a peripheral candidate for the Mets.
Ron Roenicke - 54 years of age, Roenicke spent all or parts of 8 seasons in the major leagues as an outfielder. His playing career ended with 105 games for the AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers at age 32 in 1989. His pro-coaching career began in 1992 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and he spent 2 seasons with the major league club as “eye in the sky” positioning the outfielders. In 1994 he became a manager for the 1st time and the Dodgers rookie league team finished 34-38 (.472) in 3rd place. The following year he moved up to the Class A affiliate and took them to a California League title with an 84-54 (.609) record winning the league’s Manager of the Year award. He spent 1996 as the AAA hitting instructor then resumed managing at AA in 1997 where he was again named Manager of the Year following a league title and an 85-54 (.612) record. Roenicke spent 1 year as AAA manager in the Dodgers system then moved on to the San Francisco Giants AAA affiliate in 1999 leading them to a 73-69 (.514) record and a 2nd place finish 1/2 game behind the eventual PCL champion Los Angeles Angels affiliate. He joined his current employer the Los Angeles Angels as their 3B coach in 2000 and filled that position for 6 seasons until becoming the team’s bench coach under Mike Scioscia when Joe Maddon left that position to become manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. On a lighter note: Roenicke warns Angels outfielders that the Green Monster at Fenway Park is hard. But seriously: Former coaches under Scioscia such as Maddon and Bud Black have been very successful managers Roenicke might be next.
- My two cents: I find the whole “Scioscia pedigree” thing intriguing but have no idea how to distinguish the genuinely talented members of his coaching staff from those who may just be enjoying the ride. All the winning and minor league Manager of the Year awards must mean something. Ultimately the Mike Scioscia influence is so respected by me that I’d have to at least have in Roenicke for an interview.
Ron Wotus – 49 years of age, Wotus spent parts of 2 seasons in the major leagues as a utility infielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His playing career ended with 41 games at the AAA level for San Francisco at age 28 in 1989. His pro-coaching career began in 1990 and in 1991 he became a manager at the single A level where he lead the team to a 92-44 (.676) record, the best in professional baseball that year, and a playoff appearance. He moved to AA starting in 1993 and led that team to 3 consecutive playoff appearances culminating with an 88-47 (.652) record, the best record in minor league baseball that season, and the 1995 Texas League championship. Wotus was promoted to the AAA level beginning with 1996 and continued his winning ways guiding the team to it’s 1st playoff berth in 10 years then brought them back to the playoffs again the following year. He won PCL Manager of the Year in 1998 after leading the club to an 88-55 (.615) record that included winning 41 of their final 51 games. Dusty Baker added him the Giants major league staff as 3B coach for the 1999 season and he became their bench coach in 2000 which is the role he currently fills. In addition to his bench coach duties Wotus is responsible for infield defense and during his tenure the club committed the fewest errors in the major leagues during two different seasons. On a lighter note: He’s already got the cliches down. But seriously: He’s been team oriented since he was 15 years old.
- My two cents: Born and raised in Connecticut Wotus has first-hand experience with what the north-east corridor has to offer and his minor league teams did some serious winning. Perhaps because I’ve been watching Luis Castillo field and David Wright throw for the past few years I’m quite enamored of his alleged influence on the quality of the infield defense. If he hasn’t become too accustomed to a San Francisco lifestyle (see Hernandez, Keith) perhaps he’s ready to step into a major league manager’s office in New York. I want an interview.
Epilogue - Based on what I’ve been able to learn about these 6 gentlemen I’d be interested in the Mets interviewing 4 of them (skipping Cora & Listach) for their manager position. I would be happy with any of the 4 getting a shot at the job and think perhaps Wotus or Bogar might be best suited for all that managing in NYC has to offer. What do you think?