Second Round Set: Melvin & Hale Today, Backman & Collins Thursday

An article by posted on November 17, 2010

Things are starting to move rapidly, and it won’t be long until a new Mets manager is named.

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Adam Rubin adds,

Bob Melvin has arrived at the GM meetings, and will kick off the final-round managerial interviews later Wednesday. Chip Hale also goes later in the day. On Thursday, Wally Backman will interview midday, followed by Terry Collins wrapping it up.

As we reported yesterday, last night the Mets confirmed that the four managerial finalists are Terry Collins, Bob Melvin, Chip Hale and Wally Backman.

Speaking from Orlando, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said that we could expect an announcement about a new Mets manager before the holiday next week.

“I would say it’s very possible that we have a manager announced by Thanksgiving.”

He also made it clear that all the finalists are on equal footing with no front runner or favorite.

“I think the field is wide open,” Alderson said. “Certainly it’s not a foregone conclusion or we wouldn’t be wasting our time with the number of candidates.”

Here is a quick bio on each candidate.

Terry Collins, 61, is coming off his first season as the Mets’ Minor League field coordinator. He was 444-434 in six seasons managing the Astros (1994-96) and Angels (1997-99), finishing in second place in five of those six years. Helping his status with the Mets is the fact that he worked closely in the past with Paul DePodesta, the team’s new vice president of player development and amateur scouting.

Bob Melvin, 49, saw marginally more success than Collins in seven years as a big league manager — two with the Mariners and five with the D-backs. Posting three winning seasons but an overall losing record, he guided Arizona to the National League Championship Series in 2007. More recently, he has worked as a scout for the Mets — and that familiarity with the organization could serve him well in the second round of the interview process.

Chip Hale, 46, served as third-base coach under manager Jerry Manuel last season. An accomplished Minor League manager in Arizona, Hale has never managed in the big leagues. The Mets plan to offer him another job in some capacity, if not manager.

Wally Backman, 51, led Brooklyn to a division title this year in his first season with the team. His lone Major League managerial experience lasted four days back in 2004, at which point the D-backs dismissed him amid reports regarding his financial and legal troubles. The former Mets second baseman and World Series champion later managed in independent leagues for 2 1/2 seasons before landing back in the organization.

As I remarked yesterday, it looks like we could have a new manager announced by Monday or Tuesday at the latest and maybe even before this weekend.

I have to applaud Alderson and his team for how diligently and quickly they have conducted this process.

I know there are many Mets fans out there who would have liked to have seen a manager named within a week of Alderson’s promotion, but that sounds to me like something Omar Minaya would have done.

So far, what I’ve seen from Alderson is a GM who doesn’t operate based on any presumed pressure from ownership or the fan base, and makes his own decisions based on a philosophy he believes in. There will be mistakes along the way, but one thing is certain and that is that we finally have a leader who is actually leading.

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