Now that the Mets have locked up new general manager Sandy Alderson, it’s time to begin the search for a skipper.
Alderson is expected to lead the hunt and told Steve Popper of the Bergen Record on Friday that he is hoping for someone with a little fire and a decent level of independence.
“I think that we’re looking for somebody that fits intellectual requirements, but also intuitive and emotional ones,” Alderson said. “That manager may have experience. He may not have experience. We’re very open-minded about it at this point. But I do want to emphasize that whomever is selected is going to be the manager and making those decisions. Needs to have a certain level of independence, obviously, in order to accomplish what he needs to accomplish.”
The Mets have not yet begun speaking with candidates because of their search for a GM, but possibilities include Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle, minor league manager Wally Backman, ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine and current Mets scout Bob Melvin. Former Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu is also expected to get a look.
Managers have very little impact on the outcome of a game, let alone an entire season, but in New York it’s imperative to have a guy with thick skin and a guy that doesn’t mind the spotlight. The new Citi Field has yet to host a playoff baseball game and the Mets are hoping to change that under the guidance of new leadership.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.