Coleman’s Corner: The Mets’ Final Four

By Ed Coleman
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Well, my choice for manager will be in one of my favorite parks, PNC in Pittsburgh, next season –  shanghaied by the Pirates over the weekend, unable to wait any longer for the slow and steady process (and proper, by the way) that the Mets are going through to select their new field boss.

Texas G.M. Jon Daniels – a local guy – was not going to secure the Mets G.M. opening because his club ended up in the World Series – timing is everything. And Hurdle was probably not going to get the manager’s gig in New York despite an impressive first interview and a certain callback for the second round.

The Pirates were slow to present an offer to Hurdle (he did not have one as of last Friday), but he was the guy they wanted all along. They waited over two weeks after their last interview (current Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca) to talk to the former Texas hitting instructor and Rockies manager, and the only other candidate left on the board was a Pittsburgh organizational guy named Jeff Banister (who? – exactly), whom the Pirates would have been tarred and feathered for hiring.

So forget the external candidates and bring on the in-house boys – the Mets’ Final Four is down to Terry Collins, Bob Melvin, Chip Hale and Wally Backman. Three of the four – Collins, Hale and Backman – were interviewed solely by Mets G.M. Sandy Alderson while he was in California. That means that during the second round of interviews – possibly to be completed by the end of this week – those three will also meet and be questioned by Paul DePodesta, J.P. Ricciardi, John Ricco and Wayne Krivsky, along with Mets C.O.O. Jeff Wilpon. Melvin was previously interviewed in New York at Citi Field.

Collins is believed to be the front-runner on most people’s scorecards. The Mets current minor league field co-ordinator is a no-nonsense, extremely organized individual who pays great attention to detail. Leadership, enthusiasm and motivation are traits that Alderson is looking for, and Collins possesses all of those and more. The Mets have been accused of diminishing professionalism over the last several seasons – insufficient preparation, not enough structure and a lack of discipline. The Mets believe the four they have selected for callback interviews can all change that syndrome and mindset. If you were to handicap the field after Collins, it would probably be Melvin, Hale and Backman in that order.

If Collins does indeed get the job, expect this year’s bench coach Dave Jauss to take over for Collins as the minor league field co-ordinator. Hale would likely remain the third base coach, while Tim Tuefel would probably be promoted to first base coach. and Dan Warthen would likely return as the pitching coach. Keep in mind that this process has dragged on probably longer than anyone would have anticipated, and it’s patently unfair to have in-house candidates strung along and then cast aside, while all the other major league jobs are gobbled up ( no Thanksgiving pun intended). Speaking of Turkey Day, there’s an outside chance that things could be resolved by then, which didn’t seem possible just a few days ago.

Trades and signings – the Mets’ National League East opponents have been busy. The Phillies have signed reliever Jose Contreras, whom several teams were pursuing hotly. The Marlins signed catcher John Buck, who broke out in Toronto this past season. And the Braves acquired 2B Dan Uggla from Florida in an intra-division deal for All-Star utilityman Omar Infante and young flame-throwing reliever Mike Dunn.

First take – the Marlins didn’t get enough for Uggla – Atlanta sold high on Infante off a career year (always good) and we’ll see about Dunn who has a high ceiling. Uggla will undoubtedly get you 30 & 100, but one of the Braves’ big problems last season was their defense, and Uggla doesn’t improve that at all. The Marlins do continue to do one thing well and that’s re-tool their bullpen – they’ve already added Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica from San Diego (for Cameron Maybin), Dustin Richardson from the Red Sox organization and now Dunn.

Here’s to having a manager along with the cranberry sauce next Thursday!

C U soon
Eddie C.

pixy Colemans Corner: The Mets Final Four
  • Craig

    Backman is only a diversion for the fan base to see his name in the final four. Collins would be the likely choice, but no matter who Alderson chooses at least it should be better than who the Mets have had the past 8 years. Alderson knows what he is doing and should be given the chance to handle the team as he sees fit. As long as Fred and Jeff stay out of the way, maybe this franchise can restore some semblance of credibility.

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  • lee hammer

    Give us Backman ,we’ve read that even Collins had at least a drinking incident years ago. Let’s recall Backman’s incident was of a domestic nature. Was there a credible unbiased witness ?.Years later it still seems Backman may still be getting the shaft .Put Backman in a major league uniform as a coach and this Met fan would would cheer and even Give the Wilpons a pat on the back .

  • Prince Edward

    dabooch, you’re right and I agree with you on the fans being disenchanted, but this not American Idol where the fans get to phone in and pick who they want the winner to be. This is a first for me where a team will pick a manager base on popular demand. It does not work way, never has and never will. No team will invest their millions because it’s what the fans want.

  • dabooch

    Prince Edward, the fans are disenchanted with the Mets hierarchy they have raked over the coals during the Manga Miniya era. If the Wilpons were smart, they would try to appease the fans somehow, and in this case if your hungry even plain bread is better than nothing.

  • JoRodd

    Backman would not be a good choice. He is an unknown quantity. Collins is likely the best of this group. Remember when Joe Torre was hired years ago? He only had a fair record and the papers were calling him “Clueless Joe”. Well, we all know how that turned out. I would be happy with Collins who is a no-nonsense type of guy. The lunatics will no longer run the asylum and the Mets will play disciplined baseball.

  • clemente

    these 4 candidates where in the system for a while, never once one of them opened his mouth on how faulty it was, now they think they can manage the club. it reminds me of David Wright complaning of fence distances. When he was doing all those commercials and workig next door never said a word.

  • Henry

    so what happened Mets fans. I thought Pelfrey was going to win the Cy Young Award, so much for wishful thinking, add that to your Mets will win the World Series this year, oh let’s also add Ike Davis as Rookie of the Year. He didn’t even make the top 5 list. By the way, is Valentine the Mets new manager?

  • Prince Edward

    dabooch, do you truly believe on what you wrote?. I guess you also believe in the Easter Bunnny. The manager will be Collins. Since when do fans go to see a manager or coach and not the players. You can’t be that stupid, or can you.

  • dabooch

    The Mets fan base must be speaking loudly to Alderson, with their wallets, that is why Backman is back in the mix, and will be the next Mets Manager.

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