Now that Sandy Alderson is in charge, and we know he does not believe a manager has any impact on a team’s success or failure — provided, of course, said manager follows orders and executes the plan issued from the front office — then how do we go about choosing the next Mets manager?
Seriously — if you buy into this idea that “the manager doesn’t matter”, then, it doesn’t matter who is chosen; ergo, we can choose anyone we want, based on just about anything we want.
Further, it means that Jeff Wilpon can choose anyone he wants to be the manager, based on whatever he deems valuable, and in doing so, he’s not encroaching on Alderson’s “power” — because Alderson doesn’t really care who the manager is, so long as he is a good soldier.
So, if I were Jeff Wilpon, my three most important traits in selecting the next Mets manager would be:
2. Entertainment value
3. Ticket sales
Number one is a no-brainer; I want someone I can afford, who isn’t going to adversely affect the budget. Number two is partially for selfish reasons — I want to be entertained when I watch my ballclub — but also plays into number three, which is the Ultimate Value of anyone I pay to wear a Mets uniform.
Considering that, let’s quickly go through a list of potential candidates, and rank them from 0-5 in all three of those traits:
You may disagree with some of these numbers, and that’s fine — please offer your perceived ratings in the comments.
I could be wrong, but I believe that the Mets would not see much of an increase in ticket sales that directly resulted in the hiring of Ken Oberkfell, Clint Hurdle, Tim Teufel, Chip Hale, or Bob Melvin. They’re all fine men, but I just don’t see many people thinking “oh wow, now that Bob Melvin’s the manager, I’m going to Mets.com to buy a season ticket package!”. On the other hand, I think that a large number of casual Mets fans would take notice if Joe Torre were hired, and consider buying tickets. (Note I stated CASUAL Mets fans — i.e., not the type who read Mets blogs every day. Just about any casual baseball fan in the country knows who Joe Torre is and most associate him with success.) I also think that former fan favorites Lee Mazzilli and Joe McEwing could generate a modicum of interest. And obviously, I believe that hiring Wally Backman could directly result in ticket sales. There is a large number of fans who loved Wally when he was a player, combined with many more who would pay to see what he might do — whether it’s chew out an umpire or call for a suicide squeeze. Backman is a throwback to the days when managers had personality and color — maybe that means nothing in regard to wins and losses but it is entertainment value. And we’ve already decided that the wins and losses are the responsiblity of Sandy Alderson so what’s the harm in giving the people what they want when it comes to the manager?
About the Author
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.