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Report: Robin Ventura and Kevin Long are early favorites for Mets’ managerial position

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Mets’ manager Terry Collins hasn’t been ousted from his position just yet, but there’s plenty of reason to think the club will be courting other candidates when his contract expires this offseason. Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the search for a replacement is expected to last into November, with former White Sox’ skipper Robin Ventura and current hitting coach Kevin Long as early favorites for the role.

Ventura, 50, hasn’t seen the inside of the Mets’ home dugout since he last suited up for them in 2001. He managed the White Sox for five straight seasons from 2012 to 2016, guiding them to a second-place finish with a 85-77 record in 2012 before watching the team stumble to four consecutive losing records. Despite his lack of success with Chicago, the Mets reportedly want someone with ties to the organization, and Ventura’s career .260/.360/.468 line with the Mets happens to meet that criteria.

Kevin Long never made it to the big leagues with the Mets — or any other club, for that matter. His professional playing career came to its natural end after an eight-year run in the Royals’ system, and he transitioned to a full-time role in coaching and managing in 1997. Well before he joined the Mets’ coaching staff in 2014, Long spent two seasons managing the Royals’ High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks and Short-Season Single-A Spokane Indians, leading the latter to their 15th Northwest League championship in 1999.

It’s still unclear who will gain an edge in the process, especially as the Mets haven’t officially severed ties with Collins. Former Mets’ infielder Alex Cora is also rumored to be in the running for the position, as well as former third base coach Chip Hale, bench coach Bob Geren and Rays’ third base coach Charlie Montoyo. Ventura and Long are the only named candidates with managerial experience so far.

Mookie Betts, Javier Baez leading off the All-Star lineups

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I can’t imagine what it’s like to fill out the lineup card for an All-Star team. Most of the guys are 1-4 hitters on their own teams, but you gotta slot most of them someplace lower. Egos are probably a consideration. Strategic stuff. “Which top of the order or middle of the lineup hitter is batting eighth?” is both a difficult and thankless question.

Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch have to do it anyway, and today they released the All-Star lineups. Seeing Bryce Harper batting sixth and Manny Machado batting seventh is just not part of the usual baseball experience:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, LF
7. Manny Machado, SS
8. Jose Abreu, 1B
9. Salvador Perez, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, LF
6. Bryce Harper, CF
7. Nick Markakis, RF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Willson Contreras, C

Not that this is gonna hold for long what with all of the substitutions.