Mets interview Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza for manager role

After four seasons as Aaron Boone’s bench coach, Carlos Mendoza is a managerial candidate on the other side of town.

The Yankees bench coach has interviewed for the Mets’ vacant managerial job, according to reports. Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns declined to comment when asked about Mendoza’s candidacy.

The 43-year-old has coached within the Yankees’ organization since 2009 after playing 10 seasons of minor league ball in the Bombers’ and San Francisco Giants’ systems.

Mendoza never reached the major leagues, but that hasn’t stop him from being a popular figure on the Yankees’ staff, especially among the team’s Spanish-speaking players. The bilingual coach is from Venezuela, which made it easy for him to connect with a handful of younger countrymen who cracked the Yankees’ roster by the end of the 2023 season.

While Mendoza has never run a big league team, he does have experience managing in the Arizona Fall League, the Gulf Coast League and at Single-A. He also managed the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League in 2021 and 2022.

In addition to interviewing for the Mets’ job, Mendoza is a candidate to replace Terry Francona in Cleveland, where he has already interviewed. Mendoza previously interviewed for managerial positions with the Red Sox and Tigers after the 2020 season and with the White Sox after the 2022 season.

The Mets are expected to interview multiple candidates for the position. Mendoza and Andy Green, the Chicago Cubs bench coach, are believed to have been the first candidates interviewed.

It’s also the first managerial search for Stearns, not only in his new position with the Mets, which he started a month ago, but as the head of a baseball operations department.

Stearns came to the Mets from the Milwaukee Brewers, where he inherited Craig Counsell in 2015. He first worked as the general manager in Milwaukee and was later promoted to the president of baseball operations. The Manhattan native and former Mets intern stepped down from that role last year and worked in an advisory role until coming aboard with the Mets at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Counsell is considered a top candidate for the vacancy. Counsell also interviewed with the Cleveland Guardians and is expected to interview with the Houston Astros as well. Other candidates for the Mets job are not yet known, but with the general manager meetings set to begin next week in Scottsdale, Ariz., that should change.

The Mets fired Buck Showalter after two seasons on Oct. 1, with owner Steve Cohen saying Stearns deserves the opportunity to hire his own manager. The search for the club’s 24th manager appears to be taking precedence over the general manager search. Billy Eppler resigned abruptly Oct. 5 in the midst of an investigation into improper use of the injured list. The investigation is still ongoing and the club is confident that Stearns can operate without a No. 2 for the time being.