Sandy Alderson, Billy Eppler detail interview process and why Mets chose Buck Showalter

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  • New York Mets
    New York Mets
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Buck Showalter
    Buck Showalter
    American baseball manager
  • Sandy Alderson
    Major League Baseball general manager
  • Billy Eppler
    American baseball executive
Buck Showalter treated image, introductory news conference, blue shirt and blue Mets hat
Buck Showalter treated image, introductory news conference, blue shirt and blue Mets hat

Buck Showalter was always the frontrunner to land the Mets managerial post, but GM Billy Eppler and president Sandy Alderson made sure they did their due diligence first.

But, as Showalter held up his No. 11 Mets jersey along with his wife, Angela, on Tuesday during his introductory news conference, both leaders in the front office admitted he checked every box possible during their evaluation.

"Buck came as close as anybody in baseball possibly can to 10 out of 10. Buck’s been around for a long time. First managerial job in 1992. I actually tried to hire him as manager of the Oakland A’s before he decided to go to Arizona," Alderson told reporters. "But you don’t last as long as Buck has and you don’t remain as interested in a person who’s been out of the game for three years if that person isn’t adaptable, if that person hasn’t been curious, if that person hasn’t been able to evolve with the game itself."

The Mets had more than a few candidates to choose from, and Eppler broke down exactly what went into their interview process that eventually narrowed the list to three, which included Joe Espada and Matt Quatraro as well.

"Starting this interview process a few weeks back, we sought to look at a variety of candidates from various backgrounds and experience levels. We looked at a number of criteria, spanning from culture and connectivity with players and staff, to embracing new practices in both player performance and analytics," he explained. "We wanted to assess how the candidates problem-solved, how they communicated, and most importantly, how they would shape a culture with high operational standards.

"While the candidates that we talked to clearly made this a tough decision, and frankly I feel good about the future of on-field baseball leadership, it was Buck’s ability to connect to a wide range of people., his drive to compete, his curiosity blended with his experience, and his overall adaptability that led us to naming him the manager of the New York Mets.”

On the connectivity front, Showalter explained how he firmly believes in "adjusting to the needs of the team" instead of everyone adjusting to him. He also mentioned how he isn't trying to fix the Mets, who haven't made it to the postseason since 2016.

"Leaning on Sandy and Billy and a lot of people that are here, I think one of the mistakes people make when they come into a situation and think everything there isn’t good and needs to be changed. That’s a mistake," Showalter said. "That won’t be done. There’s some really quality people here that are going to be part of it. Slow down and don’t knee-jerk.”

A peek into Showalter's philosophy is what the Mets discovered when contacting some people who have been connected to the veteran skipper as well as the other candidates.

"I talked to a lot of different people, no active players in this process. I did reach out to some people that played for a lot of the candidates in this process," Eppler said. "Checked with coaches that have coached with people. General managers or presidents that have managed them. Really cast a wide net when we were looking into the candidates."

Eppler also mentioned "breakout sessions" with the different department implemented in the Mets' front office, including analytics, player development and performance science.

Showalter displayed what was needed from that connectivity standpoint and understanding what the Mets are trying to build.

But, as Alderson has seen throughout Showalter's managerial career, he is able to adapt and make his team win no matter the circumstances.

"A lot of these issues with analytics and so forth are interesting topics, but given what Buck has done in the past, relied on as much information as has been available to him and as adaptable as he’s been with how the game has changed over time and still be curious and energetic and motivated by the task at hand here in New York, he has come as close to 10 out of 10 as anybody possible can.”

Checking all those boxes is nice, but Showalter knows the fans will care about them when wins hit the record in 2022 and beyond. He knows what needs to be done -- he's been in New York before after all with the Yankees.

"It’s a great charge that we have ahead of us. I just want everybody to know it’s going to be a priority from day one to put a product out there that everyone can be proud of," he said. "There’s going to be people when we’re on the West Coast staying up to one or two o’clock in the morning to see how the Mets did or do. I just want everyone to embrace that responsibility."