There is another option being discussed by the team, from what I understand, which involves bringing in a well-known, high-profile, fan-favorite manager – I’m guessing Bobby Valentine – with Wally Backman acting as bench coach.
However, I wonder if that is something Valentine is interested in, and a) what will cost to get him here, and b) how much influence will he want over player acquisitions and roster management?
The buzz in baseball is the Mets intend to find out, if they haven’t already.
Valentine is still my top choice, not just for manager but for the team’s overall brand, or ‘The Mets Way,’ which I wrote about roughly one year ago here, saying:
“Yes, he is quirky, but he is also an underdog with local roots, he played for the Mets, he played hard, he manages hard, he is organized and different and constantly working to be the smartest person on the field, and, most important, he wants to win, but he also understands that baseball is a game and should be fun – these are all qualities I want the Mets to be.”
I realize there were some awkward moments between Valentine and Ownership and management during his time in Queens, not just during the bad times, but during the better times as well. However, that was 10 years ago. Things are very different, for better or worse. The way I understand it, Jeff Wilpon respects Valentine, and the two could most certainly develop a good working relationship. The key, I think, will be who gets the spotlight and when, and where does the GM fit in?
Obviously, I love the idea of a Valentine-Mets reunion, especially if Backman is on his bench, but my guess is, though I do think it is all very possible, it will take some serious conversations about power, money, roles, and job descriptions that might end up being road blocks more than bridges.
By the way, according to Wikipedia, Valentine claims to have invented the wrap sandwich, which is hilariously awesome… and I really hope it is true.