Melvin and Jauss Begin the Proceedings

According to the REAL Sandy Alderson on Twitter, the first two candidates to be interviewed for manager of the 2011 Mets are Bob Melvin and Dave Jauss.

Excuse me if my heart rate drops rather than races at the hearing of this news; I’m human, after all.

Remarkably, I have not been invited to participate in the evaluation proceedings — so I won’t have the benefit of the interview process. But, I’ll provide my analysis as best I can with the facts available to me.

Melvin, of course, is the former Arizona Diamondbacks manager who led the team to an NL West title in 2007. As MetsBlog astutely points out,

… he hits on all notes connected to Sandy Alderson’s ideal candidate in that he’s smart, a good soldier, a good communicator, he knows New York, he has experience and a track record of a success, and he’s called ‘the mad scientist.’ Melvin “knows New York

Yes, Melvin is smart, he is purported to be a good communicator (though I have no evidence to prove nor disprove that point), and his track record of “success” is based on a .493 winning percentage. Though, he did once lead the D’Backs to a 90-win season and postseason appearance; he also led the Mariners to a 93-win, second-place finish in 2003. I like him because he is a former catcher, and therefore must be both intelligent and tough.

As for “knowing” New York? Well, he played 9 games as a backup catcher for the Yankees at the tail end of his career and he has made NYC his home during the offseason; he’s a frequent customer at my favorite bar in America, Shaun Clancy’s Foley’s Pub (if you haven’t been there, you MUST get there at some point in your lifetime — it is a mini version of Cooperstown’s HOF).

Oh crap, I hope that frequenting a bar didn’t give you the wrong idea — it’s not like he’s a boozer, not by any stretch of the imagination. Alcohol sales and consumption have been legal in the USA since 1934 so I assume taking a drink on occasion and acting responsibly when imbibing has no negative effect on his candidacy. Though, I state this with some selfish motivation — my day job is working in marketing / PR for a wine company.

Dave Jauss is an intriguing candidate, considering that he is one of the only MLB coaches with zero professional experience as a player (maybe THE only). Before you get the idea that I think this is a negative, remember that I myself never played pro ball yet believe I know more than some “professionals”. Hey, how many NFL or NBA head coaches have pro playing experience?

Jauss was a standout at Amherst College, then was a head baseball coach at two nondescript college programs. However, while at Amherst he was a teammate of Dan Duquette, and when Duquette became Director of Player Develpment for the Montreal Expos, Jauss was hired as a minor league manager by Field Coordinator Jerry Manuel. Whether it was really Manuel or Duquette who hired Jauss is moot; the point is, Jauss and Manuel developed a close relationship that led him to Manuel’s dugout in Flushing. Jauss eventually followed Duquette to Boston, where he built a firm relationship with Grady Little.

How would Jauss perform as an MLB manager? I have no idea, since we don’t have much to go on. He spent three years as a minor league manager in the mid-1990s and then served as either a first-base coach or bench coach at the MLB level in 9 different seasons from 1997-2010. His most recent experience is under Manuel, which isn’t exactly a positive point. Before that he spent two years as bench coach with the Orioles (again, not glaringly positive) and was a bench coach under Little with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007 and with the Red Sox in 2001. Basically, he is a trustworthy guy who has made the most of his friendships. People say he is smart and I don’t doubt it. Considering that he has gotten as far as he has without pro playing experience (it is an incredible feat to coach in the pro ranks w/o pro playing experience), he must be loyal and easy to get along with. Those attributes can go far in managing men toward a championship. Whether it’s enough to make him a great manager, nobody knows, but if nothing else it would be a great story.

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. john November 4, 2010 at 8:30 am
    LOL. Excellent writing. Maybe you or I could manage the Mets? With an anachronistic GM who will strong arm the manager anyway, what difference does it make? We Mets fans are in for another five years of bad baseball.
  2. TeufelFan November 4, 2010 at 11:27 am
    “Oh crap, I hope that frequenting a bar didn’t give you the wrong idea — it’s not like he’s a boozer, not by any stretch of the imagination. Alcohol sales and consumption have been legal in the USA since 1934 so I assume taking a drink on occasion and acting responsibly when imbibing has no negative effect on his candidacy. ”

    No Joe, there is nothing wrong with having an occasional drink and acting responsibly. The problem comes when you have more than one drink and act irresponsibly, like trying to operate an automobile, and getting arrested for driving under the influence. We can all agree that this is not responsible behavior at all for a managerial candidate, right?

    • Joe Janish November 4, 2010 at 11:42 am
      You mean like Tony LaRussa did? When he was managing the Cardinals?
      • TeufelFan November 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm
        So Tony LaRussa driving under the influence while he was manager makes it OK for other managers to do the same? Really, you’re using the “two wrongs do make a right” defense?
        • Joe Janish November 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm
          Not at all — quite the contrary. I was asking if you were referring to Tony LaRussa, since he was charged with a DUI while serving as manager of the Cardinals. If so it is an excellent point, since only a few months later he lost one of his players to drunken driving.

          But I get the feeling you are referring to someone else, who was charged with a DUI over ten years ago and who wasn’t managing a baseball team at the time of the arrest. If that’s your argument, then no, I don’t think that someone should be disqualified from a leadership role if he made a mistake a decade ago, served his time, and learned his lesson. Nobody in this world is perfect, are they?

  3. gary s. November 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm
    joe, speaking of perfect, i’m waiting for your column about the mets reducing ticket prices again!! i guess losing 700,000 customers last year indicated that prices were a tad on the high side.$490 seats behind home plate have been reduced to $440..meanwhile, down the pike in philly, the top seat remains at $70 and unless someone dies on a waiting list u cannot buy a season ticket plan.maybe a few more 4th place finishes at shake shack park will make tickets more affordable next year.
  4. Kenny November 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm
    I agree with TeufelFan. Minimum 20 year jail sentence for all DUIs. Throw LaRussa in jail!

    And that kid from Pace that was shot. Dig him up and throw him in the slammer too!

    20 years at least. And don’t even get me and Teufel started on smoking, pornography, cussing or general laziness. Put ’em all in work camps!

    Woohoo. Being an uptight jackass is fun!

  5. Walnutz15 November 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm
    What I found fantastic was, the prices of the “ludicrous” seats were dropped (to “ridiculous”…lol) — yet they still found a way to raise the cheapest seat in the house by $1 from last year.

    [They know what was actually selling, and what wasn’t. So – really, I can’t comment on anything in the ticket-selling department……I’d like to see Janish take a crack at that one, myself.]

    With regard to Jauss, I was initially fighting back the yawns…..but read an interesting piece on him over on BP:

    “Jauss: Our on-base percentage isn’t as bad as our slugging percentage. Even though we don’t walk that much, our batting average is high enough that we get on base, but our slugging percentage is awful compared to last year. That’s not a philosophy of the manager, it’s something that’s just not there. In the American League, you need to hit the ball out of the park. You definitely need to hit the ball out of the park. You also need to walk. The Angels might be an exception to the rule, but they steal a little bit more and still hit the ball out of the park. So, I don’t think there are any managers in particular who say they are along the lines of Earl Weaver. I think that Earl Weaver formed the philosophy for Billy Beane. Billy Beane just doesn’t want to admit it, or maybe he doesn’t know it. No, he knows it. He’s very intelligent and very shrewd. But Earl Weaver, on a cocktail napkin, figured out that a couple of walks, stay out of the double play—a strikeout is better than hitting into a double play—and then get some big boppers to hit three-run homers, is a great offense. You don’t always have it, so you can’t do it, but it may well be the best offense. Actually, it is the best offense, no doubt about it. ”

    Who knew we had alllll these managerial candidates within our own organization [Backman, Melvin] — hell, within the same dugout as Manuel [Hale, Jauss]…..ready to take over at the drop of a hat, or plummeting in the standings?!

    (Well, of course WE knew that any one of these men could have been capable of taking over at any point in time, but was anything done about it? “Why not”, is my question to the previous regime.)

    Thankfully, those days are over now…..and men will be held accountable for their performance/jobs.

    Jauss does strike me as a “friend of Jerry” though….and I’d like to get someone else into the clubhouse who has nothing to do with any of these players right now.

    Additionallu, I’m not really intrigued much by Melvin, but understand that he “fits” the stereotypical billing of what people are claiming Alderson wants in a “middle management” managerial candidate…..I don’t see it, though.

    Saw Dave Clark will be interviewed, too.

    1st thing that comes to mind? — Pittsburgh Pirate, Dave Clark……thanks, Papa Walnutz – for keeping the Pirates relevant in our household for many years. LOL

    2nd thing that comes to mind? — “Diversity” interview.

    He’s been a hitting instructor for years, and I think he’s actually managed a few successful teams in the Pirate system… addition to being named Interim Manager in Houston that year.

    I just don’t see how he’ll translate to our situation, though.

    Essentially boils down to: I haven’t a clue how they’ll go with their next hiring. I know who I want, but I’m not sure if he’ll be brought on……

    We shall see.