On Thursday, the New York Mets parted ways with manager Carlos Beltran. The 42-year-old, who was hired over the offseason and hadn't yet overseen so much as a scrimmage, is the third manager to lose his job in the fallout of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, joining A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora (Boston Red Sox). Major League Baseball opted against punishing the players involved in the scheme, so Beltran will face no further discipline for his role or contributions.
The Mets, meanwhile, will now have to appoint a manager for the second time since dismissing Mickey Callaway after two so-so seasons. Unlike with the Astros and Red Sox, we have a feel for who the Mets might pursue based on their previous search this offseason.
Let us then hit on five candidates who figure to be in play.
1. Eduardo Perez, ESPN analyst
Perez was believed to be one of the finalists for the job, with some reports handicapping him as the frontrunner during the process. He's never managed at the big-league level, but he has managed in winter ball and as part of the World Baseball Classic. Additionally, he's served as the bench coach for the Astros for a season, and as a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.
2. Hensley Meulens, Mets bench coach
If the Mets want to keep things as simple as possible, they could hand the reins to Meulens, their bench coach and a legitimate managerial candidate. He nearly landed the New York Yankees gig over Aaron Boone, and gained a good deal of experience in other roles throughout his time under Bruce Bochy with the San Francisco Giants.
3. Luis Rojas, Mets quality control coach
Rojas, whose father is former big-league skipper Felipe Alou, has managed in the minors throughout the Mets system. He's on the younger side for a big-league manager (he turned 38 last September), but that seems to be less of an issue these days than, say, a decade ago. Rojas, too, would represent the Mets taking the path of least resistance.
4. Pat Murphy, Brewers bench coach
Murphy was not believed to be one of the finalists for the Mets' opening over the winter, with now-Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton instead filling out the triumvirate alongside Beltran and Perez. It's possible the Mets reconsider their stance on him, but our guess is that it's not likely he lands the job.
5. Tim Bogar, Nationals first base coach
Like Murphy, Bogar was reportedly eliminated from consideration before the finalist round. Maybe the Mets have experienced a change of heart, or would try to add him on as a bench coach if they promote Meulens. Otherwise, Bogar seems likely to remain in place.