Billy Eppler explains what kind of manager Mets are looking for, when hire could be made

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Terry Collins, Mickey Callaway, Luis Rojas new Mets manager treated image
Terry Collins, Mickey Callaway, Luis Rojas new Mets manager treated image

Mets GM Billy Eppler spoke at his introductory news conference on Friday and touched on what the team is looking for in a potential manager as they begin that search.

Eppler was asked if he'd prefer to hire a manager with more analytics-based thinking or someone with a traditional, old-school baseball mindset.

"I'd love to find somebody that checks every single box and is great in all areas," Eppler said. "It's interesting that you bring it up, because over this past year just learning and reading and kind of re-thinking some of the ways that you approach things, I wanted to be able to sit down with the senior baseball ops group, and then sit down with Steve [Cohen] and Sandy [Alderson] and kind of all collectively talk about what kind of criteria we think might be important for the next manager of the Mets.

"That's a process that I'm going to start this afternoon. I have a little bit of my own feeling on that, but I'd rather hold back on giving exactly what that criteria is at this moment in time because I want to have the group engaged. And get a sense of, do you value, for example, tactical in-game management as your primary criteria or primary element? Do you value analytic in-game probabilistic thinking as your No. 1 criteria? Or your ability to connect with the media and fan base, obviously that's critical, and clubhouse culture.

Eppler continued by saying he's going to weigh all options with everyone in the organization who's involved, so the team can find the right manager to lead the Mets for the coming years.

"So all of these things, do you want someone that's coached in the minor leagues, for example? I want to make sure I collect all thoughts from everybody, set forth what that criteria looks like, and then at that point start to develop a candidate list."

A league official familiar with Eppler's thinking gave SNY's Andy Martino a list of potential candidates, including Brad Ausmus, Joe Espada, Eric Chavez, John Farrell, and Buck Showalter.

Eppler told reporters on Friday that he doesn't expect this to be a quick process, and believes that the team will take their time to hire the right manager.

"As far as the manager process, I don't expect it to be done overnight or even be done in the next week," Eppler said. "I know we're about to embark on a holiday week. Starting to have those conversations and carve out time each day to meeting a candidate, I think could be done simultaneously, just as you manage your time."

No matter who Eppler and the Mets decide to hire as manager, one thing is for certain, they need to help change the team culture. Eppler said that fixing the environment in the clubhouse starts with the coaching staff and will improve as people begin to feel more comfortable with each other.

"I think a lot of that comes from the coaching staff and from the players themselves," Eppler said. "When you have an environment where people feel that they can be vulnerable with each other, where they feel they can trust one another, that there's almost this element of psychological safety. Where you're not afraid to speak your mind, and you know that if you do speak your mind there's not going to be any repercussions behind that.

"I think as you just kind of create that culture, that people start to feel more comfortable as they move forward."