Sandy Alderson is beginning interviews to replace Jerry Manuel this week. He stated he wants to have a manager in place within 30 days. I hope it's much sooner. Below I give my take on the men that most feel will be interviewed and have a shot at managing the 2011 NY Mets. To me Wally Backman should be the clear favorite. I start with him, then list the others. I would love it if Wally interviews so well, the other interviews would be moot. I see Backman as a slam dunk for the 2011 team which will rely on youth and need an injection of energy and pride. Wally will do that for sure. So here's my take...
Wally Backman- He is coming in for an interview this weekend. IMO he is the best man for the job. Backman is a Met, has managed in their system and is a fiery guy who the players respect. He stresses fundamentals and is obsessed with winning. He'll fight for his players and we haven't see that type of guy in the dugout since Bobby Valentine. I see him as a Davey Johnson-type manager. I think he'll get the most out of the talent he's given and the team will play hard, smart and with passion. I also believe those who don't will be held accountable. IMO, he'd be a shot-in-the-arm to this team.
Bob Melvin- He's totally meh. He's a smart guy and has experience, but has won bupkus. Yawn. Bob is better scouting.
Chip Hale- He's 45 and has managed in the minors with Tucson(PCL) going 91-45 and winning a championship. He was highly regarded as the Mets 3B coach. Chip certainly has a nice resume, but again, I do see him as a spark that this team needs. Like Jauss, he may be best served to manage in the Mets system or stay 3B coach.
Terry Collins- He's managed the Astros and Angels, but has a pedestrian 444-434 mark overall. He's done a terrific job overseeing the minor leages and should stay in that position.
Ken Oberkfell- He's earned a shot at managing on the MLB level. The guy has won over 800 professional games and many titles. He's managed at every level and also in the Indies. He was a scrapper as a player and a champion(1982 Cardinals). He knows the Mets players since he's coached virtually all of the homegrown players. I wouldn't be upset if he got the gig, but IMO this team needs a guy to light a fire. Obie isn't that kind of guy. He's a pro though. I wouldn't mind him as a coach on the team however.
Dave Jauss- He's been a bench coach on 3 teams and has done some managing in the DR. He's a bright guy who knows the game, but like Obie and Melvin hardly lights up the room. I'd like to see him manage in the Mets system, just not the big league team. Maybe he goes to AAA while Obie comes to work on the MLB staff.
Clint Hurdle- He did take the Rox to the WS in 2007. He was a manager in the Mets system. He knows the game well. He has experience. However, Clint really didn't do much @ Colorado until that insane end-of-the-year run which carried into the post-season. His record besides that was subpar. He's ok, but this team needs better than ok. I like the guy, but don't want him as the Mets manager.
Bobby Valentine- Odds are he won't even be brought in. There is bad blood from his departure. He took shots at the Wilpon's through his ripping of Phillips. I don't see Sandy bringing him in because of that and the fact Alderson doesn't like spending big money on a manager and Bobby would want that to return. He's great with young kids and a low payroll so he'd be a good fit. I just don't see him as a viable candidate because of his past with this organization.
Lee Mazzilli- I shiver to think this dullard could even be a candidate. IMO, he's an arrogant meathead. He's another Randolph type. The players will not take to his style and he's never proven he can win. I also see him as a real jerk. I hated his work on SNY. He's a know-it-all who knows far less than he believes he does. I hope he stays far away from Citifield.
In the end, I think(and hope) Wally Backman gets the gig. He's the fan favorite and has ties to the organization. Alderson want to change the culture and Wally will certainly do that. He'll bring a spark which would allow Sandy time to methodically piece this team together and reform this broken organization that has crumbled since 2006 and especially under the reign of error of Minaya.