Buck Showalter and Bob Geren served as a doubleheader of sorts for the Mets on Wednesday, leaving team officials with one first-round interview to complete in their managerial search.
An industry source indicated the Mets’ candidate list remained at six after Showalter and Geren joined Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro and former Tigers/Angels manager Brad Ausmus among those who have interviewed. Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, originally a consideration for the job, has withdrawn his name, according to a source, indicating a mystery candidate has entered the mix. The Mets have an interview scheduled for Thursday morning.
Team owner Steve Cohen is expected to become involved in second-round interviews, which could begin as soon as this weekend or early next week. The Mets hope to have a new manager in place by the end of next week.
Initial reviews were strong on Showalter, who met with team officials on a Zoom call.
“They were pretty impressed with Buck today,” said a person with knowledge of Showalter’s interview. “It went really well.”
The 65-year-old Showalter last managed in the major leagues with the Orioles in 2018 and since then interviewed with the Angels and Phillies for managerial openings in successive offseasons. Showalter’s 20-year managerial career has also included stops with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers.
Showalter’s reputation is that of an old-school gunslinger, leading to questions whether he is the right fit for an organization that has branched deeply into analytics and technology since Cohen’s purchase of the club last year. But general manager Billy Eppler, in the same role with the Angels also thought highly enough of Showalter to want to hire him following the 2018 season. Eppler was overruled by owner Arte Moreno, who wanted Joe Maddon.
“I just know [Showalter] is so organized and with all the stuff available today, he is one of the guys who would use it all, sort it out and then make his decisions,” former Mets manager Terry Collins told The Post. “I know that he’s got great leadership in the clubhouse, he’s a no-nonsense guy — ‘The game is meant to be played a certain way and we’re going to go play it that way.’ And it might be time for that kind of attitude here.”
The Mets’ last two managers, Mickey Callaway and Luis Rojas, were first-timers who had to learn on the job. In between the organization had also selected a first-timer in Carlos Beltran, who departed without managing a game after he was implicated in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scheme.
Collins, who guided the Astros and Angels in 1990s, was the last Mets manager who arrived with such experience at the major league level. He suspects Showalter has spent the last few years, as Collins did between managerial tenures, reflecting on ways he can improve if he receives another opportunity.
Geren, 60, was a bench coach for the Mets from 2012-15 under Collins. His previous managerial experience includes a stint with Oakland. He’s spent the last six seasons as Dodgers bench coach.
“[Geren] has got a different approach, but he’s another organized guy who loves to research stuff and loves to come up with the new stuff and the new ideas and he likes to back his decision up,” Collins said.
— Additional reporting by Joel Sherman
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