The four free-agent signings introduced by the Mets on Wednesday did not know whom they would be playing for.
Amid all the hype around Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar joining the club is the fact they do not yet have a manager to fill out the lineup card.
The Mets — probably comfortable knowing they 1) will not have much competition, as only the A’s also lack a manager, and 2) can decide upon the skipper during the lockout — are not rushing the search.
General manager Billy Eppler said he has a “pretty wide” list of candidates and should begin the formal interviews “very soon.”
“Definitely a conversation that I’ll be having with Steve [Cohen] probably later today or tomorrow morning and kind of walk through that with him,” Eppler, who officially has been the GM since Nov. 18, said in a news conference Wednesday devoted to Scherzer’s signing. “I’ve had a couple different volleys already with Sandy [Alderson] on the subject.”
The question had been offered to the owner or GM, and Cohen threw it Eppler’s way.
Though free agents cannot ink deals during the presumed lockout set begin Thursday, the Mets still can conduct their hunt to replace Luis Rojas, who is now the Yankees’ third-base coach.
Two of the most sensible candidates for Eppler to interview are Brad Ausmus and Joe Espada.
While he was the Angels’ GM, Eppler hired Ausmus before the 2019 season, but the former catcher lasted just one season. The 72-90 Angels underperformed, and, of greater concern, pitcher Tyler Skaggs died that season with opioids in his system, which a team employee allegedly gave him. The Post’s Joel Sherman has reported team owner Arte Moreno fired Ausmus against Eppler’s wishes.
Espada, the former Yankees coach, worked with Eppler in the Yankees’ front office in 2014. Espada, now the Astros’ bench coach, was interviewed by Eppler during the search that Ausmus won.
“Trust that Billy has the process to be able to find the next candidate, and I have my faith he can do that,” Scherzer said.