This isn’t going well. I’ve been trying for hours to write some sort of post about the Mets managerial search, but it just isn’t coming together, because I have more questions than answers.
For instance, why 10 people? Seriously, 10? This seems weird to me. The Pirates talked to one guy, then hired Clint Hurdle. It seems most teams talk to four or five people. The Mets have doubled that, and are discussing more.
What’s also odd, when Sandy Alderson was hired, there was talk that the managerial search would move quickly. But, this hasn’t been quick. I’ve also heard Alderson shifted his view on the desired qualities of his field manager once meeting with reporters the day he was hired. They say communication and presence were always important to him in a candidate. However, that initial press conference was a bit of an eye-opener for him, and may have slightly adjusted his priorities.
The buzz among reporters seems to be that Terry Collins and Bob Melvin are the favorites. But, who is leaking this information, and why? There is a new Front Office in place, so what benefit is there in leaking premature information about a process that it is still very much underway? For instance, there are people close to Wally Backman who say he’s been kept abreast of the situation every step of the way, and he will get a second interview. Yet, most reports make it sound Backman is destine for Single-A. So, why the disconnect?
The little I can gather about the interviews so far suggest they were more meet-and-greet than hard talk any way, i.e., lots of discussion about experiences playing and coaching, personal lives, background, connections in the game, etc… whereas the second set of interviews will deal more with strategy, the current roster, information, in-game adjustments, and so on.
And again, I keep coming back to 10 candidates. My hunch is that this process might have less to do with picking a manager, and more to do with re-building the organization’s leadership. I mean, how better to figure who should coach first, coach third, be your minor league instructor, manage Double-A, manage the big-league team, etc., then to talk to every one under the sun. Despite what’s being reported, I still think there is as good a chance that Backman ends up manager, with Collins as his bench coach, as there is that Melvin gets the job, with Backman coaching in another minor league system.
From what I can gather, Alderson and his staff will meet with Jeff Wilpon today or tomorrow in Orlando, at which point the group will figure out how best to move forward. In the end, though, I get the feeling this first round of 10 interviews was less a tournament, and more about organizing the pieces of a gigantic puzzle before putting it all together.