Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
Sandy Alderson will have a big decision to make when the season ends as October will signify the end of Terry Collins’ current contract to manage the Mets. At age 67 with already one health scare last year, it may turn out to be his final contract at the helm. I can foresee them offering him a new role somewhere in the organizationhe wants to continue working as such a job would be less stressful and minimize the media scrutiny.
From a purely baseball point of view, there’s probably no more polarizing figure in the game. His defenders will point out the mess that he inherited and the late season surges resulting in two straight post-season appearances. They will proclaim that the Mets have a chance to play October baseball for a third straight year – something that’s never before happened in the history of the ballclub.
His detractors will cite his losing record, his bullpen mismanagement, his predilection for veteran players at the expense of younger ones, and his surprising lack of passion on the ballfield. Gone is the fiery temper that got him tossed by both the Astros and the Angels. He seems a shell of his former self who regularly makes head scratching on-the-field decisions.
As is often the case when there are two clear factions the truth is probably somewhere in between both extreme ends of the spectrum. He often contradicts himself, such as declaring, “You hit or you sit” and then benched Wilmer Flores the day after he delivered a 6 RBI performance. Still, no one who has left the Mets during his tenure has thrown him under the bus on the way out. An Athlon Sports & Life article during 2016 had him ranked 10th among major league baseball managers, calling him, “good but not great.”
If the Mets were to entertain the idea of bringing in someone new for 2017, which direction would they choose to go? Would they want another seasoned veteran who won’t make himself into a bigger star than the GM? Would they seek to promote someone with a long track record as minor league manager or major league bench coach and him the reins despite having perhaps only done it as an interim manager in the big leagues? Would they take a chance on an unproven ballplayer whose on-the-field days are over? Let’s take a look at each possible scenario.
Clint Hurdle – Despite not making the post season for the last few years, he still sports a winning record and has tenuous past ties to the Mets.
Mike Scioscia – Several publications have him on the hot seat should the Angels once again fail to make the playoffs.
John Farrell – If you can handle the fans in Boston or Philadelphia, then New York should be a cakewalk. He’s another one with huge expectations that is listed as a possible guy to get fired if he doesn’t win it all.
Ron Gardenhire -- After 13 years at the helm of the Minnesota Twins, he’s now a coach with the Diamondbacks. He does have the fiery personality that this team could use as they too often look as if they’re sleepwalking through some games.
Interim Manager Types
Pedro Lopez – He’s done a great job working his way up through the Mets system and is taking over for Wally Backman in Las Vegas. He’s got a fair awful pitching staff and starting off with a rather lackluster outfield. If he succeeds then Queens might be the next natural step. Equally important in the Mets eyes is the fact that he’s a loyal company guy and his first MLB gig would come at a bargain price.
Joe McEwing – A hugely popular player when he was here, Super Joe was able to play every position but pitcher and catcher, so he has a great idea of what it takes to win. He’s currently coaching but was twice named Manager of the Year in the White Sox organizaton.
Alex Cora – He’s been coaching in various capacities for several years and also served a two-year stint with the Mets during his playing days.
Sandy Alomar – Often catchers become managers and Alomar was one of the best during his playing days. He’s had coaching gigs but not yet been handed the reins to run the whole show.
Edgardo Alfonzo – Another hugely popular Mets, he’s currently managing the Brooklyn Cyclones. His name value alone would make him a popular selection.
Dave Magadan – He’s had a bit of an up and down career as a hitting coach. He did have a .288 mark for his career, so whatever he has to say probably has some merit to it. He’s currently working for the Diamondbacks.
David Wright – You have to pay David Wright anyway. If it turns out his playing days are indeed finally over, one good way to keep him in the fans’ hearts is to let him transition to manager. He’s been here for the past several years and knows all the players. Everyone respects him. Other former players have gone straight into managing without any time spent coaching, including Robin Ventura, Brad Ausmus and Don Mattingly.
Curtis Granderson – If you want someone good with the media who also has the continuity of having been here with the current crop of players, perhaps persuading Granderson to shift to manager rather than trying a last gasp at playing once his current contract expires is worth considering.
Jeff Keppinger – Here’s a classic mistake the Mets made in letting him get away. He parlayed his steady bat into a highly credible career spent with several teams. He’s a great example of perseverance for younger players to emulate.
Does anyone else come to mind if the Mets wind up having to fill this role next year?