Buck Showalter already had the daunting task ahead of him in trying to help the Mets take that next step toward legitimate and consistent playoff contention. But Major League Baseball’s lockout is only making things more difficult. 

The veteran manager, set to make his debut with the Mets in 2022, has been unable to speak with his players and get accustomed to their tendencies. The league has prohibited management from speaking to — or even about — players.

As soon as the lockout is lifted by the owners, Showalter can finally put all of the Mets’ pieces together after spending the last five weeks piecing together a coaching staff alongside new general manager Billy Eppler. 

The Mets overhauled almost their entire coaching staff — the lone survivor from the Luis Rojas regime being pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner. Eppler and Showalter brought on Wayne Kriby to coach first base, Joey Cora to coach third, Eric Chavez to serve as the hitting coach, and Glenn Sherlock to perform as the right-hand man to the manager as bench coach.

Now comes the waiting game. 

The players’ union was expected to counter the league’s initial proposal on Monday in hopes of coming to an agreement on a new CBA, which would end the lockout. A resolution is not expected, however, and the continuous stalemate has cast doubt upon the start of spring training, which is scheduled to begin in less than a month. 

This winter, it’s all about preparing for “different timetables,” and the uncertainty that this lockout is bringing.