5:52PM: Cohen told Tim Britton and other reporters that Stearns made the decision to fire Showalter. “When you bring in a president of baseball ops, they’re entitled to bring in their own people….It became clear [Stearns] wanted to go in a different direction. That was his right, and I gave him that right,” Cohen said.
1:35PM: Buck Showalter told reporters this afternoon (including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com) that he will not return to the Mets as manager in 2024. Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, Showalter was told he would be fired if he did not step down as manager. The Mets released a statement on the matter, confirming that Showalter would not return.
“We are heading in a new direction, with a new president of baseball operations and we let Buck know we’ll be parting ways. We will begin the search for a new manager immediately,” owner Steve Cohen said in the statement. “Buck is a generational manager, and we value what he has done for our team… The commitment and heart that Buck brings to the game will be felt by our organization for years to come. We wish Buck all the best in the next chapter of his career.”
The statement also noted that Cohen will be made available to the media tomorrow afternoon to address Showalter’s departure and announce the club’s new president of baseball operations. The club has reportedly agreed to terms with former Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns to take over baseball operations in Queens earlier this month. GM Billy Eppler also commented in the statement, while Showalter spoke to reporters before today’s game against the Phillies.
“I was honored to get a chance to manage a second New York team,” Showalter said (as relayed by DiComo), “I’m proud of what the Mets did. We won close to 180 games in two years. Especially last year, as much fun as I’ve ever had in the game. It reminded me of why I always loved this kind of work.” Showalter added (per Tim Britton of The Athletic) that he “wishes things could have gone better this season because Mets fans deserve that” and that he “still loves the city and the players” despite this not being the ending to his tenure as Mets manager that he hoped for.
Showalter’s first managerial gig was with the Yankees back in 1992. Since then, he’s spent a combined 22 years at the helm of a big league club, with stints as manager of the Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Orioles before joining the Mets ahead of the 2022 season. Showalter has won Manager of the Year four times in his career: in 1994 with the Yankees, 2004 with the Rangers, 2014 with the Orioles, and most recently in 2022 with the Mets. In 3,392 career games managed, Showalter has a record of 1726-1664, with a winning percentage of .509.
Though Showalter won 101 games with the Mets en route to his aforementioned fourth Manager of the Year award last year, this season’s club fell well below the lofty performance of the 2022 team despite the addition of future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander. The club’s struggles led the front office to deal away Verlander, fellow Hall of Fame-bound ace Max Scherzer and closer David Robertson prior to the trade deadline on August 1, with the Mets being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention six weeks later. With the Giants having fired manager Gabe Kapler earlier this week and Cleveland’s Terry Francona widely understood to be retiring following the 2023 campaign, Showalter’s departure in New York makes three managerial vacancies to be filled this offseason.