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Buck Showalter, Joe Espada, Matt Quatraro finalists for Mets’ manager job

The New York Mets continue to work toward hiring a new manager, and now they’ve reportedly narrowed down the field of candidates to three finalists. According to Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, longtime MLB manager Buck Showalter and current Astros bench coach Joe Espada are two of the finalists, and Jon Heyman adds Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as the third and final name. Per Sherman, the Mets should make their final decision by the end of the current week.

Of those, Showalter, 65, is widely considered to be the favorite and reportedly the preference of GM Billy Eppler. Showalter had an initial interview last week. Showalter has more than 1,500 wins across 20 seasons as a big-league manager, and he’s led three different teams to the postseason.

Espada, 46, has no managerial experience at the highest level, but he’s a longtime coach who’s worked for the Yankees, Marlins, and Astros. Like Showalter, he’s previously worked with Eppler within the Yankees’ organization. Espada has been Houston’s bench coach for the last four years and has been a candidate for several managerial openings in the recent past. As for the 48-year-old Quatraro, he managed at multiple stops in the Rays’ minor-league system and has served as their bench coach since the start of the 2019 season.

Candidates reportedly under consideration for the Mets’ job at various points who didn’t make the final cut include former major-league managers Brad Ausmus and Bob Geren, Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, and Dodgers first-base coach Clayton McCullough. As well, the name of former Mets player Curtis Granderson reportedly came up in internal discussions.

The Mets are one of two teams without a skipper. The other, the Oakland Athletics, allowed incumbent manager Bob Melvin to leave for the same role with the San Diego Padres earlier this offseason. Reportedly, Espada and Quatraro have both interviewed for the Oakland job.

Whoever winds up getting the job will benefit from a roster that’s been heavily fortified by the winter spending of owner Steve Cohen, as the Mets spent aggressively to sign Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar. The Mets will have to continue applying the finishing touches to their roster once Major League Baseball’s owner-induced lockout ends. In the interim, focus is on finding Luis Rojas’ replacement in the dugout. Rojas guided the Mets 103-119 across last season and the abbreviated 2020 campaign.