Mets manager interviews continue with Joe Espada, Buck Showalter up next

The Mets’ managerial search, fresh off a bye day Wednesday, will resume Thursday when Astros bench coach Joe Espada meets with Steve Cohen and company.

The strong favorite, veteran manager Buck Showalter, will close out the finalists’ round on Friday, and the Mets figure to make their decision by early next week.

Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro led off the proceedings on Tuesday, getting together with the Mets’ top leadership at a location said to be outside New York City (and not at Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management headquarters in Connecticut, either).

While Quatraro and Espada surely are not blind to the reality that Showalter, by virtue of both his experience and his popularity among Mets fans, stands as the most likely candidate to prevail, they can nevertheless use their access to leave an impression with Cohen as well as president Sandy Alderson and general manager Billy Eppler (who knows Espada well from their time together with the Yankees). Likewise, the Mets can learn more about Espada, the Astros bench coach, and Quatraro, the Rays’ bench coach, and their current employers, two of the more successful big-league clubs in recent years.

Joe Espada and Buck ShowalterGetty Images; Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Espada worked alongside Eppler with the 2014 and 2015 Yankees, the first season as a special assistant to the team’s general manager Brian Cashman and the second as a third-base coach. Eppler included Espada on his list of interviewees when…

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