Sandy Alderson May Choose a Former Met to Manage

It’s not yet official but Sandy Alderson as Mets’ GM is as good as a done deal. So next we move on to who will be the next Mets manager?

If you are a loyal reader of MetsToday then you know who my choice is — Wally Backman. But it doesn’t matter who MY choice is, it matters who Sandy Alderson wants. Is Wally on the list?

Yesterday, MetsBlog reported that Wally Backman’s (and Bobby Valentine’s) chances were “dwindling“. Today, the same blog cited a tweet by Mark Healey of Baseball Digest that stated Backman was a “leading candidate“. So what gives? Does Wally have a chance, or doesn’t he?

Being part of SNY, Matt Cerrone has access to fairly reliable “inside sources”, and yesterday’s post supports the same thing that Jon Heyman has been hearing. Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY is hearing the same thing. Heyman also has a strong argument in this tweet:

will be shocked if alderson hires wally back as manager. will show right away he isnt running things, and i dont see him doing that.

The notion behind this is that Wally Backman is Jeff Wilpon’s choice, and therefore, in order for Alderson to make it clear that he isn’t Jeff’s puppet, he has to hire someone other than Wally.

Now, if that’s actually the main reason behind not hiring someone, does it make any sense? What if Wally is actually the best man for the job?

The interesting thing about this latest drama is that MetsBlog linked to the wrong tweet by Baseball Digest — there is another one posted earlier that is likely to be more accurate:

I think #Mets will be going outside the organizaton for MGR candidates, think Hurdle and McEwing could get interviews

That’s right — Clint Hurdle and Joe McEwing. It’s too perfect, isn’t it?

Hurdle is a former Met, has 8 years of MLB experience as a manager, is a God-fearing family man, once won a pennant, and has the reputation as a company man who does as he’s told. In other words, a dream choice for both Alderson and the Wilpons. (Never mind that he has a career losing record of 534-625; Alderson and the statheads know that the manager has no effect on a team’s winning or losing — so get on board with it.) In other words, he’d be “Art Howe Redux”.

McEwing is also a former Met — and a huge fan favorite at that. “Super Joe” was loved for his grit, hustle, determination, scrappy play, and team-first attitude — all the things that Mets fans have been craving. Additionally, he was named the “Top Managerial Prospect” in the SAL by Baseball America after leading the Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox A-ball affiliate) to a 73-65 record in 2009. McEwing followed up that with an 81-58 record in 2010, again in A-ball. Sounds like … “Poor Man’s Wally Backman”. As if that’s not enough to qualify him, he’s a local guy, born in PA, played at the County College of Morris. Oh, and David Wright loves him — which pretty much seals the deal, doesn’t it?

Where does that leave Wally? Or what about his ’86 Met teammate Tim Teufel? Or Ken Oberkfell and Chip Hale, for that matter? We’ll soon find out, but if Sandy Alderson wants to make clear that he runs the show, the next Mets manager will come from outside the organization. However, it could still be a former Met.

How do you feel about the prospect of Hurdle or McEwing as managerial candidates?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Kevin October 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm
    Joe McEwing = Poor Man’s Wally Backman

    haha. 2011 is gonna be a loooooong season. we’re already trying to save money.

  2. Mike October 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm
    I’m sorry but who’s to say Wally isn’t Alderson’s guy? Who’s to say Alderson gives a flying F%#& what people perceive about who is running the show? If Wally is hired and Alderson talks about how Wally is the best man for the job, then why shouldn’t I believe him? I believe an organization can change immediately under new management. I keep citing the Jets. Many were tentative to believe so quickly, and rightfully so, but does anyone think they are the “Same old Jets” anymore? Not currently.

    Maybe I’m a fool but I am all in with this guy, drinking the cool-aid already. If he says Wally is not the guy, I will believe him. I’m not crazy about his theory on managers being irrelevant to wins and loses, but if Clint Hurdle is the guy I’ll give him a shot.

    I do think what he is saying has merit though. Art Howe won with him for heaven’s sake! If the manager just executes a plan put forth by upper management then why does it matter who the manager is? Just make players trust you, don’t make stupid decisions, don’t talk bad about players to the media, and things will work out. I have no problem with that. Alternatively a guy like Wally can inspire players to play above their heads and clean clean fundamental baseball. Also good.

    We’ll see what happens

  3. 86mets October 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm
    Joe McEwing isn’t a “poor man’ Wally Backman”. Wally Backman is a poor man’s Joe McEwing. Joe Mac comes without the personal baggage yet has the same qualities that endear people to Backman. I don’t have a personal choice of who should be the next manager. But I am uncomfortable with Backman jumping from short season A ball to the Major Leagues. A half season doesn’t prove that he has overcome his past demons and is worthy of a big league job. I do suspect, however, that Alderson may lean towards an experienced big league manager.
    • Joe Janish October 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm
      You’re uncomfortable with Wally jumping from short-season A ball but OK with McEwing jumping from A-ball? What’s the difference?

      McEwing has two years of managing experience. Backman has almost 10. Five times more experience as a manager and one more World Series are at least two reasons why Super Joe is a poor man’s Wally.

      As for demons, I feel the same way about Ron Washington. Just because he’s in the World Series doesn’t prove to me that he’s over his cocaine addiction. And the point is?

  4. gary s. October 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm
    imho, any hire is an improvement over jerry manuel.if jason bay and carlos beltran both hit 25 homeruns and knock in 90-100 runs each next year, anybody they hire is going to look good.if both of these guys are missing in action like last year we are going to be a 79 win team again in 2011.that said, i’m looking forward to what the new gm can get done next year.i just hope he’s more like tannennaum of the jets than donnie walsh with the knicks ..
    • CatchDog October 28, 2010 at 9:15 am
      Well said, Gary.


    • Mike October 28, 2010 at 10:46 am
      I almost feel like something is wrong with this post because it’s gary s and I almost never agree with him. But I can’t find anything. Well done.

      Now if we can just work on your grammar…

  5. Joe D. October 28, 2010 at 12:19 am
    Joe Ive been pushing Ryne Sandberg on my site since August before Manuel was fired.

    If we had to absolutely choose a Met, I’d take Hurdle, but I was wondering what your thoughts were on Sandberg though? He’s my first choice.

    • Joe Janish October 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm
      I don’t know anything about Ryne Sandberg as a manager.

      Was he on a reality show or documentary or some other place where I can see him in action and judge for myself?

  6. mic October 28, 2010 at 7:43 am
    I am thinking Mazzilli and Backman teamed together…
  7. CatchDog October 29, 2010 at 8:48 am
    How about a platoon of Wally and Tim Teufel as managers ?