The only thing that we know for sure about the Mets future skipper is that it will not be Jerry Manuel. The list of possible candidates appears to be changing on a daily basis. Names such as Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine have been dropped in discussions the past few weeks. The five candidates appear to be Bobby Valentine, Wally Backman, Joe Torre, Bob Melvin and Terry Collins. Still, there does not appear to be a clear front runner for the job.
Of the five suitors, Bobby Valentine or Wally Backman are best fitted for the Mets current situation. Either of these two can light a fire under them to get them going. Either one of them will demand respect and whip this club into shape. The Mets desperately need a leadership role in their system and they could fill that position with great success.
Backman managed the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones this season to a New York-Penn best 51-24 season record and their first division title since 2007. It is very possible that he was sent to manage the minors in order to get to know the farm teams and groom him for a 2011 major league debut. His fiery personality could very well ignite this team that is in dyer need of a spark.
Bobby Valentine could be another option for the job. He managed the Mets from 1996-2002 to the tune of a .534 winning percentage over that time. He is most famously remembered for a June 1999 game for sneaking back into the dugout wearing a disguise after being ejected. Bobby's abrasive personality could put some fight in the Mets and keep it going through the stretch run. Bobby’s “My way or the Highway” attitude could be just what the club needs. Bobby was fired following the 2002 season because of his personal conflicts with GM at the time Steve Phillips.
Joe Torre although given his extraordinary track record would not be a great fit for the Mets. He admitted last week that he can’t connect with younger players anymore. Although he is one of the best managers in history, the Mets are mostly a young team. With exceptions to Bay, Castillo, Beltran and R.A. Dickey, the Mets are for the most part 30 or younger. For a team that is relying on their farm system for their future, they need a manager that can see eye-to-eye with the younger players. Torre managed the Mets from 1977-1981 with a 286-420 record. Torre never managed a winning season with the Mets.
Melvin and Collins have no purpose being the Mets skipper other than just for the sake of change. It would be no improvement to Manuel. Even though Bob Melvin has had a postseason appearance with the Diamondbacks in 2007 and multiple 90 win seasons, He is infamous for constantly changing the lineups as does Manuel, (see batting Reyes 3rd). Collins can put together winning seasons but doesn't connect with players well. in 1999 he resigned from the job as Angels manager because the players were asking the front office to fire him. Melvin and Collins are working for the Mets as a scout and minor league field coordinator respectively.
While the choices are many and we don’t know what direction they will take, what we do know is that whoever gets the positions will take them in a new direction. We can only hope that that direction is to the top of the NL East come 2011.