The New York Mets seem to have zeroed in on Joey Cora to fill their Bench Coach opening.
According to Jon Heyman, Pirates Third Base Coach Joey Cora has emerged as a strong candidate to become Carlos Beltran‘s Bench Coach.
Joey Cora has emerged as candidate for Mets bench coach. Has ties to Omar Minaya and Carlos Beltran. Cora, Pirates 3B coach last year and interviewee for their managing job, is thought to be strong candidate for Mets. Other known candidates: Fredi Gonzalez, Jerry Narron.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 18, 2019
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. While Cora had only been on the periphery of the search he has too many connections to the team to ignore.
Cora got his first managerial job with the Mets. He managed the Kingsport Mets from 2001-2002, and the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2003.
In 2004 Cora left the Mets organization to become the White Sox Third Base Coach, and eventually the Bench Coach. He remained in that role until Ozzie Guillen resigned as White Sox manager and brought Cora with him to the Marlins. Cora’s lone experience as a major league manager came during a five-game stretch when Guillen was suspended in 2012.
Following the 2012 season, Cora was brought on as an analyst for MLB Network. A position he held until 2016 when he joined the Pirates organization as manager of their AA affiliate Altoona Curve. Since 2017 Cora has been the Pirates Third Base coach.
Cora is considered by some in baseball to be a rising coach and a future manager. He was a finalist for the Brewers managerial job in 2010, a job that eventually went to Ron Roenicke. Cora is still under consideration for the Pirates managerial opening, but the prevailing thought is they want to go out of the organization to fill the role. They want to completely clean house after firing the manager, GM, and president.
Cora and Beltran do have a connection in Joey’s younger brother Alex. Alex Cora was the bench coach on the 2017 World Champion Astros that Carlos Beltran played for.
Cora is less experienced than the other Bench Coach candidates mentioned, Fredi Gonzalez and Jerry Narron, but more experienced than Luis Rojas. So, if the Mets are looking for a mentor for Beltran Cora wouldn’t seem to be the best fit for the job.
However, the thing that really matters is communication. The manager and Bench Coach need to be on the same page and working as a unit. If Beltran felt comfortable around Cora and feels they could work well together that might be all it takes.
The Mets love to sign former players and coaches, it looks like Joey Cora could just be the next guy to make the homecoming.