Darryl Strawberry Says Mets Should Have Hired Backman

As reported on The New York Times:

Darryl Strawberry said the Mets should have hired Wally Backman as manager instead of Terry Collins. Mr. Strawberry played with Mr. Backman on the Mets’ 1986 championship team. “Wally will be the next manager of the Mets,” Mr. Strawberry said Tuesday. “I thought he would have been the right choice for them at this point.”

Oh boy … spring training hasn’t even started and already Terry Collins’ job is being debated.

If the Mets perform as poorly as expected — i.e., not be in the running for a playoff spot — how many more times are we going to see news like this? In other words, will Terry Collins be constantly looking over his shoulder, and/or have his job publicly debated?

Loyal readers of MetsToday know that I supported Backman for manager. However, in a way I’m glad he didn’t get the job now, considering the uphill (and downhill) battle that appears ahead. With the tight budget of this year, the expected turnover / overhaul of the roster next year, and lack of young talent to count on going forward, the next 2 years are going to be difficult. And when things don’t go well, someone has to take the blame — deserved or not. What Terry Collins has ahead of him in regard to the court of public opinion is no cakewalk.

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. CatchDog January 27, 2011 at 10:22 am
    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. And mine is to give new Management quarter. Darryl should be smart enough to respect the process. But then again, the dude was never very wise at making the best decisions either.
  2. gary s. January 27, 2011 at 10:23 am
    i posted at the time that they should have hired backman or let him go.Keeping him in the organization will backfire on mgmt..When the mets are 10 under .500 and Binghampton leads the Eastern League by 4 games, everybody will want Collins fired and Backman promoted.I thought Alderson and his genius assistants were smarter than this ..
    • Joe Janish January 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm
      Agreed. As much as I’m happy Backman is still in orange and blue, I’m not sure how wise it was to keep him in the shadow of Terry Collins. But who knows, maybe that’s part of some master plan that makes sense to the FO.

      I wouldn’t have minded seeing Backman move to another organization, but in an MLB dugout as a bench coach or base coach — such as for Jim Leyland. But few of those jobs are available, so I guess he had to take what he could get.

  3. Neil January 27, 2011 at 11:17 am
    Do you really think Wally Backman would win significantly more games than Collins? 75 vs. 70? 80 vs. 75? Would Backman be OK with winning so few games after he’s spent so long becoming a manager? He might end up putting more stress on his shoulders over the win/loss column than anyone else in the fanbase or media.

    Would Backman’s resume look better when his first season is ~.500 with a $140 million payroll? We can explain it away now, but 5 years from now? People (fans and organizations) have short memories, and that resume will last a while.

    In two years much of the dead weight will be gone, the Phillies will have $60,000,000 dedicated to three mid 30s declining players (one of them a pitcher with back troubles before they hired him) and the Braves will still be the Braves. The Mets might have a shot at the Wild Card.

    Also in two years Collins’ contract will be up. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Collins also spent the last year up and down the Mets farm and knows the talent level and development of possible replacements for players on the field. Backman knows one level.

    You can make an argument that Backman is a better influence for teaching “fire” and “grit” to the young players. Reports indicate Collins stresses fundamentals above all else which this team desperately needs young and old. I doubt Collins will be so anti-”fire” that the young players get complacent and start thinking losing due to lack of effort is OK.

    I can certainly understand Backman being extremely pissed, but this isn’t really such a bad position. His “fire” and “grit” attitude might be more beneficial when the team has a worthwhile product on the field and might actually win a playoff spot rather than while it’s a team in transition with many key spots filled from the bargain bin.

    Strawberry has every right to voice his opinion, and I can certainly understand him being in his teammate’s corner, but this was an inappropriate time and place for such a comment.

    • Joe Janish January 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm
      Agreed on just about all, if not all, of your points.
  4. Walnutz15 January 27, 2011 at 11:36 am
    D-Straw was also advocating for “Mariano Rivera, Jr.” to break camp with the club last Spring in St. Lucie.

    Hard to envision what anyone was talking about (last year) with Mejia. It was clear to a majority of the Met population, sans Jerry Manuel of course – along with Straw, that he needed much more time to develop.

    I advocated for Backman, but really – at this point – it means very little in the grand scheme of things to see quotes from Straw.

    Hopefully, Collins can get something going to light a fire under these guys.

  5. mrtasan January 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm
    strawberry is also at least a 3 time drug addict…he’s entitled to his own opinion…but i dont think it should hold much weight
    • Joe Janish January 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm
      Our last two US Presidents were cocaine addicts as well, so …
      • mrtasn January 28, 2011 at 12:24 am
        exactly…
      • gary s. January 28, 2011 at 12:44 am
        Wilpon was quoted today saying minaya is a great guy and he wants to find a job for him with the mets.He must be using cocaine also ..
  6. wohjr January 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm
    Not sure where to put this so here it is, some confirmation of what some of us had suspected since at least last winter… Madoff torched the Wilpons

    http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/news/story?id=6068507

  7. argonbunnies January 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm
    Let an interim guy navigate the frustration of 2011. I assume we’ll want to have one more house-cleaning and bad-vibes-clearing before we become postseason regulars.

    Collins can be our Buck Showalter, and Wally can be our “guy who takes over a team that became good just as Showalter wore out his welcome”.