Tim Bogar is walking in two beautiful worlds right now, trying to be part of a World Series champion for the first time and trying to land his first major league managing gig.
“This,” the Nationals first base coach said pointing toward the Minute Maid field 24 hours before World Series Game 1, “is the most important thing right now. This is the job at hand.”
Nevertheless, in the off-day between Games 2-3, when the series heads from Houston to Washington, Bogar will divert to New York for his second interview as he seeks to replace Mickey Callaway. The Mets have kept publicly tight-lipped about their process. Word is that Eduardo Perez has interviewed well. That Mets ownership could work with Carlos Beltran, who they feuded with when he was a player. That Joe Girardi’s experience is attractive. And that quality control coach Luis Rojas has admirers within the Mets hierarchy.
Bogar has received the least public notice of those known to be getting second interviews or thought to have a strong shot. But there are those with Mets ties who say Bogar actually has a chance, that he might have a background and personality traits most similar to Brodie Van Wagenen’s pal, Houston manager A.J. Hinch.
In addition, both Jeff and Fred Wilpon know Bogar from when he played with the Mets in the 1990s and Bogar described a pleasant relationship with both. Bogar knows the NL East having worked the last two years for the Nats. He has a lot of minor league managing experience and managed the Rangers on an interim basis for 22 games in 2014. And he worked as a coach in Boston when Allard Baird, now a key Van Wagenen lieutenant, was in the Red Sox front office.
“I don’t really want to go too much into [the interviews],” Bogar said. “It was a normal process, getting to know people.”
He said he did not previously have interaction with Van Wagenen, but said the comfort level was strong in the interview. And Bogar certainly has his supporters.
Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long said without hesitation, “that is who the Mets should hire.”
Long was the Mets’ hitting coach from 2015-17 and interviewed for the managing job to succeed Terry Collins that went to Mickey Callaway. Long, who also was on Girardi’s staff in New York, has worked with Bogar the past two years. Long actually compared Bogar to Collins, noting the ability to be “both low key and fiery. His preparation and knowledge are great. New York would love his fire.”
Washington second baseman Brian Dozier said: “Bogey is an exceptional human being. A great man, a family man. All the guys gravitate toward him. Baseball related, he’s very knowledgeable. … The biggest trait you need [as a manager] is to be a leader of men. That seems easy, but it is difficult. You have people on this team from ages 20 to 43. You have to have a distinct personality in which you are fun, but also respected. When you have someone who is well-liked, well-respected, knowledgeable and that people gravitate toward, that is what you want in a manager.”
Is Bogar that?
“One hundred percent,” Dozier said.
Astros bench coach Joe Espada has interviewed for manager jobs with the Cubs and Giants, and is seen as a strong candidate to land a job this offseason.
Is he ready?
“He qualifies on so many different levels,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He has had varied jobs from Miami [third base coach] to New York [both special assistant to the GM and third base coach] to here. It has really broadened his perspective on the job. He’s one of the best workers I’ve ever been around. He has handled every challenge put in front of him whether it is the front office in New York or being the bench coach for an extreme analytic team like the Astros.”
Atlanta’s Nick Markakis (2,114 games) and the Yankees’ Edwin Encarnacion (1,916) were in these playoffs, but remain the active players with the most games without ever appearing in a World Series.
The last teammate Hinch, who retired after the 2004 season, has still playing in the majors is Fernando Rodney. The 42-year-old is still throwing upper-90 mph fastballs for the Nationals.
They were together on the 119-loss 2003 Tigers.
Asked if he were more surprised that Hinch became a manager or he is still pitching, Rodney laughed and said, “That I am still playing
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