Carlos Beltran is 42 and has never managed so much as a Little League team. But he’s a legitimate candidate to manage the Mets next season.
Because why wouldn’t he be?
Now that the Angels have hired Joe Maddon, seven teams are still seeking new managers and the range of candidates is vast. There are recently fired mangers (Brad Ausmus and Gabe Kapler); managers fired last season (Jeff Banister, Mike Matheny, and Buck Showalter); and managers who were fired in 2017 (Dusty Baker, John Farrell, and Joe Girardi).
At least six bench coaches have interviewed with teams along with an assortment of first base coaches, third base coaches, hitting coaches, and three quality control coaches.
Two player development executives — Rangers field coordinator Jayce Tingler and Diamondbacks director of player development Mike Bell — are candidates with the Padres and Mets, respectively.
You also have television analysts Eduardo Perez and David Ross.
Beltran believes he’s just as qualified as anybody else. After retiring in 2017 following a standout career, Beltran is now a special assistant with the Yankees.
“I think I’m ready,” he said. “If it happens, I’m ready. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll continue to work, and when another opportunity comes up I’ll analyze it and see if it makes sense.”
Beltran, who played seven years for the Mets (2005-11) and three for the Yankees (2014-16), is only interested in the Mets because he wants to stay in New York. He declined overtures from other teams, including the Padres. “New York is the right fit for me,” Beltran said.
Beltran has the qualifications many teams are prioritizing in that he relates well to players, will embrace the use of analytics, and would serve as a good spokesman for the organization.
The Mets, who finished 86-76, have a roster that should contend in 2020.
“Every year they want to put a good team on the field. It’s a good position,” Beltran said. “You have to do your job and connect the dots in the clubhouse. You have to be truthful and be a good coach for your players and be a good coach for your coaching staff. You have to motivate your coaches to create a good environment where people feel good to come to work.
“Those are the things that I know are important in the clubhouse. When I was a player I wanted my manager to be honest. I wanted my manager to let me know when I do well and also let me know what I do wrong so I can fix it.”
Whether Beltran makes sense for the Mets isn’t certain. Mickey Callaway, a first-time manager, was fired after two seasons. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen may want an experienced manger to deflect heat from his decisions. That would be the safe route, and somebody such as Girardi would be a popular choice.
But with the success Aaron Boone, Alex Cora, Dave Martinez, and other rookie managers have had, Beltran has to be considered.
He was a savvy player who paid attention to details. In his final season as a player, Beltran did not hit particularly well for the Astros but was considered instrumental to the team winning the World Series because of his presence in the clubhouse.
“He was important for a lot of us,” shortstop Carlos Correa said. “If he wants to manage, he would be a good one. He picks up on the little things.”
Beltran, who is Puerto Rican, pushed back against the idea that his ethnicity is a selling point in what is an increasingly diverse sport. “Forget about the bilingual stuff,” he said. “It’s about bringing your experience as a player and making sure that you reach the clubhouse with a message that is important to the players.”
But Beltran does feel it’s important to embrace the platform of managing if it’s presented to him.
“I’m not afraid to promote people,” he said. “If you have a good position in life and you have people around you who are professional and bring something positive to the table, it’s a good opportunity for you to promote those people.
“I make my living in baseball. If you can help somebody to a better job or a better opportunity, that’s significant. That’s how I see it. I want to be part of the game.”
Beltran has spoken to Cora about his experiences with the Red Sox, particularly in his first season. He also has sought feedback from Boone and Astros manager AJ Hinch.
“I know what I haven’t done and I want to be prepared,” Beltran said. “I know I’ll need a good group of coaches. I want to create an environment where we talk baseball and everybody wants to contribute.
“I played with Mike Matheny. I played with AJ Hinch. Then they became managers. I feel like I’m ready to be the next one.”
All remains quiet with the Red Sox
Sunday marks 42 days since the Red Sox fired Dave Dombrowski, and they have yet to name a new general manager.
But that’s still 10 days short of the franchise record set in 2005. That was the time Theo Epstein quit his post on Oct. 21 and the Sox waited until Dec. 12 to name Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer as co-GMs.
Epstein eventually returned on Jan. 19, 2006. But Epstein isn’t walking back through that door and it’s not clear if anybody else wants to.
On Sept. 27, Sox ownership said its hope was to hire a chief baseball executive from outside the organization who had experience running a team. They also said their goal was to trim the payroll by approximately $34 million to get back under the luxury-tax threshold. To accomplish that, the Sox could have to trade Mookie Betts.
As one National League executive said, nobody wants it on their résumé that they traded Betts. There’s also industry-wide caution about the stability of the job considering that Dombrowski was fired less than 11 months after winning the World Series.
“I haven’t heard about anybody who wants that job. It’s been very quiet,” another executive said.
Principal owner John Henry said last month the Sox were “starting the search looking outward.” But they ultimately could turn to one of the four vice presidents now running the team or let them continue indefinitely as a group.
Raquel Ferreira has said she wouldn’t pursue the job. But Brian O’Halloran, Eddie Romero or Zack Scott would be worthy choices.
With the GM meetings (Nov. 11-14) and winter meetings (Dec. 9-12) coming up, the Sox will need to clarify their situation at some point.
A few other observations about the Red Sox:
■ Former Red Sox head athletic trainer Paul Lessard is going back to the World Series after a 12-year gap. Lessard, a Northeastern graduate, was with the Sox from 2006-09. He joined the Reds in 2010, then the Nationals in 2016.
■ The late Ray Boone, who spent more than three decades scouting for the Red Sox, would have thoroughly enjoyed this postseason.
His son, Bob, is vice president of player development for the Nationals and a senior adviser to general manager Mike Rizzo. His grandson, Aaron, manages the Yankees.
The Boones were the first family to have three generations play in the All-Star Game. Aaron Boone joked this past week that he wasn’t talking much baseball with his father in case their respective teams faced each other in the World Series. Even a recent birthday party for one of Aaron’s sons was a bit stilted. “It was reserved,” Aaron Boone said. “We didn’t talk much about baseball.”
■ Did you know that Rawlings presented Gold Gloves to minor league players? Red Sox righthander Matthew Kent got one this season. The 26-year-old appeared in 28 games for Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket.
SETTING A TONE
Scherzer showed drive in spring
As Max Scherzer prepares for the World Series, it’s instructive to remember Feb. 27. That was the day Scherzer drove 2½ hours across two-lane roads in Florida so he could spend the night in Fort Myers and pitch against the Red Sox in a game at JetBlue Park the next day.
It was his second start of spring training and Scherzer was scheduled for only three innings. Had he asked, the Nationals would have happily set up a minor league game for him at their complex in West Palm Beach.
But Scherzer insisted on making the trip and had catcher Kurt Suzuki join him. Facing a Red Sox lineup that included Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr., Scherzer pitched three shutout innings. He gave up one hit without a walk and struck out four.
“I want to come over here and face the Red Sox,” he said after the game. “These guys are champs. I know if I come here I’m going to face their [regulars] because they want to play here at home. I’ll drive anywhere to get a chance to face these guys.”
Scherzer went on to post a 2.92 ERA in 27 starts during the regular season and in the playoffs has given up four earned runs over 20 innings.
Scherzer probably would have been just as successful had he not made the drive to Fort Myers. But once you cut one corner, it’s easier to do it again, and at 35 Scherzer is still going about it the right way.
There’s also a lesson there for the Red Sox, who cut back on the workload of their starters during spring training coming off the World Series, then saw them underachieve once the season started.
What to do about Greinke?
Here’s the transcript of Zack Greinke’s interview session after Game 1 of the American League Championship Series:
Q: Were both home runs mistake pitches?
Q: How’d you feel in comparison to your last start?
A: Different, I guess. In some ways it was worse. In some ways it was better.
Q: There are no breaks in the Yankees’ lineup. How difficult is it to work your way through it?
A: They’re a good team. Good pitches are better than bad pitches.
Q: Did you have to pitch perfectly with no offense behind you?
A: I don’t like that question.
Q: You said in some ways it was better. How was it better for you?
A: I threw more innings this time than last time.
That was it, five questions and 41 words of response. Greinke spoke in a low monotone the entire time while looking down and occasionally scratching his head.
Greinke has a social anxiety disorder, so there’s nothing funny about any of this. But he’s capable of providing thoughtful answers. He does it relatively often during the season. Greinke also has a wife, two kids, friends, teammates, and coaches he interacts with all the time. He has pitched in the playoffs going back to 2011 and knows how it works.
As Major League Baseball presents its best teams to a national audience, Greinke’s inability or unwillingness to answer questions is uncomfortable for all involved and doesn’t serve the sport very well.
MLB briefly considered other avenues — such as having one reporter interview Greinke and share his comments with others — but doesn’t want to single him out or invite other players to request the same special treatment. So reporters go through the drill of asking questions and Greinke barely answers them.
The Rays fell a game short of the ALCS. But 24-year-old shortstop Willy Adames took a step forward in his development. His defensive play improved significantly to a point where he’s reliable. “From last year to this year it’s been a lot,” teammate Blake Snell said. “Honestly I thought he was probably going to go to second base because his throws were pretty bad all the time. And fielding-wise he was just OK. Then he came to spring training and he looked pretty good. I still had my doubts. And then to see what he did throughout the season and then every day, I mean, every day this man takes ground balls, and he wants more. His whole game has turned around.” . . . St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina has played in 98 postseason games, the most for a National League player. The overall record is 158 by Derek Jeter . . . Daniel Hudson of the Nationals can thank Aaron Loup for being granted paternity leave during the NLCS. In 2015, Loup was with Toronto for the Division Series when his wife, Leighann, had unexpected issues with her pregnancy. Loup was away for the team for much of the postseason and the Blue Jays could not fill his spot on the roster. That led to a postseason paternity policy being approved later that fall at the GM meetings . . . Houston right fielder Josh Reddick said playing right field at Yankee Stadium in the ALCS was borderline dangerous with the objects being thrown on the field. “It would be a very ugly scene for baseball, a very ugly scene for the Yankees, if one of our guys was hit by something from the upper deck,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “Something tragic could happen and nobody wants that.” . . . Marcell Ozuna had an .804 OPS, 29 home runs, and 89 RBIs in 130 games for the Cardinals this season, so he’s a solid player. But Ozuna’s performance in the NLCS — 3 for 16 with eight strikeouts, no RBIs, and several blunders in the field and on the bases — will hurt him in free agency . . . With the Nationals advancing, the Seattle Mariners are now the only franchise not to make the World Series. And that’s with having had Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, and Ichiro Suzuki on their roster at various points . . . The Sports Museum will hold its 18th annual gala, The Tradition, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 20 at TD Garden. The event will honor Manny Ramirez, Zdeno Chara, Michelle Kwan, Paul Silas, and Matt Light, among others. For information on tickets, go to sportsmuseum.org/events/the-tradition . . . Happy 26th birthday to Trevor Kelley, who made his debut with the Red Sox this season and pitched in 10 games. He was a 36th-round draft pick in 2015. The Sox have had undrafted free agents reach the majors before, but Kelley is the first player taken that low in the draft to make his debut with the Sox. And best to Juan Marichal, who is 82. The Hall of Famer was with the Red Sox in 1974 and went 5-1 with a 4.87 ERA. Marichal also signed the cover of my game program on Aug. 17 that season after my dad prodded me to ask.