Hensley Meulens has spent nearly a decade waiting for his opportunity to run a team. He might finally get that chance thanks to a cheating scandal that has rocked the sport.
Carlos Beltran stepped down as Mets manager Thursday morning before ever managing a game for the team, and Meulens, Beltran's bench coach, should be in consideration for the job after 10 years with the Giants.
Meulens, 52, all of a sudden finds himself in an odd spot. He has interviewed for a half-dozen managerial jobs over the years and was among the first to speak to Farhan Zaidi and Giants management about the job that eventually went to Gabe Kapler. Meulens didn't gain much traction outside of that interview with the Giants and seemed headed for a job on Miami's staff, but the Mets called after hiring Beltran and he ended up with the No. 2 job in the country's biggest market.
That has thrown Meulens back into the spotlight, and he could find himself as a candidate in New York and Boston, where the Red Sox parted ways with Alex Cora.
Meulens has been ready for this opportunity for years. He was Bochy's bench coach for two seasons after spending the previous eight as hitting coach, winning three titles. Meulens is fluent in five languages, is popular with players, and possesses an easy-going attitude that could help ease the transition for the Mets, who all of a sudden find themselves in the middle of the biggest scandal the sport has seen in years.
Beltran, hired the first week of November, was named repeatedly in MLB's press release earlier this week that hammered the Astros for using electronics to steal signs. He was not punished by MLB because commissioner Rob Manfred decided not to impose penalties on players, but it still left the Mets in an awkward spot, particularly after the Astros fired manager A.J. Hinch and the Red Sox opted for a new direction with Cora facing his own suspension.
In a statement, the Mets claimed they mutually parted ways with Beltran, a former big league star who was traded to the Giants in 2011.
"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways. This was not an easy decision," the Mets said. "Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as Manager of the New York Mets. We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career.
"We remain excited about the talent on this team and we are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."
Meulens was one of two former Bochy coaches to interview with the Mets this offseason. Ron Wotus also was in consideration for bench coach before joining Kapler's staff as third base coach. The bench coach traditionally is the next man up when a manager is fired, although this is certainly a different circumstance for the sport. It's extremely unusual for any team to hold a manager search a month before spring training.
Right now, the Mets, Red Sox and Astros are all scrambling.