Bob Melvin an intriguing Mets’ what-if after Buck Showalter hire

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The Mets will introduce Buck Showalter as their new manager on Tuesday.

If the timing had been different, perhaps it would have been Bob Melvin.

Melvin left Oakland for the Padres — with permission from the A’s, despite still being under contract — this offseason and the 60-year-old said he might have had interest in the Mets job if the team had tried to hire him to replace Luis Rojas. However, the Padres beat them to the punch, as the Mets searched for a new head of baseball operations earlier in the offseason.

“Maybe at some point,’’ Melvin said when asked if he would have been interested in the Mets job if he’d been contacted. “But I sat down with the Padres and liked what I heard. It hadn’t really gotten to potentially starting the process with New York.’’

Melvin interviewed for the Mets managerial job in 2010, when Sandy Alderson went with Terry Collins and Melvin got the A’s job.

Bob Melvin is the new Padres manager
Bob Melvin is the new Padres manager
AP

In October, Melvin was given permission to interview for the Padres job by the A’s, with Oakland on the verge of another rebuilding process and looking to save money. 

San Diego hired Melvin on a three-year deal in late October, while the Mets were still seeking a big name to head their front office, with Theo Epstein, David Stearns and Oakland’s Billy Beane all on their wish list. All three declined to come to the Mets. 

Beane ended up staying in Oakland, but Melvin moved on.

The Mets eventually hired former Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler to be the new GM in Queens. They’ve already made two poor hires, with Jared Porter and interim GM Zack Scott being forced from their spot for off-the-field issues.

Buck Showalter was hired as Mets manager
Buck Showalter was hired as Mets manager
Getty Images

Eppler, team president Sandy Alderson and owner Steve Cohen selected Showalter after a search that included second interviews with Houston bench coach Joe Espada and Tampa Bay bench coach Matt Quatraro.

Showalter and Melvin have similarities, with the 65-year-old Showalter having managed four teams previously over 20 years, while Melvin is on his fourth team in an 18-year managerial career.

Melvin’s teams have reached the playoffs seven times, Showalter’s five and they have nearly identical regular season success: Melvin 1.346-1.272 (.514) and Showalter 1.551-1.517 (.506). 

In discussing his new coaching staff in San Diego, Melvin spoke Tuesday about how different the hiring process is than it was earlier in his career, with hitting and pitching coaches speaking “different languages” and using “all the tools and technology available now.’’ 

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