Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Wally To Washington? Backman May Bolt To Join Johnson
It is being reported that Wally Backman, who is the front runner to replace Tim Teufel as manager of the Mets AAA club, the Buffalo Bisons, might leave the Mets to join his former manager and present Nationals manager, Davey Johnson.
After losing Chip Hale as 3B coach and not retaining 1B coach Mookie Wilson and bench coach Ken Oberkfell, the Mets have some open positions. While the 1B coach and bench coach positions have not yet been filled, Teufel will become the Mets 3B coach. Backman is not a candidate to coach on the Major League level.
Elvis has said "Wally has a history of motivating his players and having success," and thus seems likely to be the AAA manager.
Backman might not be willing to wait if an opportunity arises elsewhere, especially if it is to work for his former skipper. Backman might have an opportunity to be a bench coach under Johnson, who has not yet confirmed if he will return. If Backman is chosen for (and accepts) a position under Johnson, he could indeed be a likely replacement for Johnson when he retires.
It would be a shame if the Mets lose Backman, whom I believe will be a solid Major League manager. That being said, if a great opportunity does arise, one can't blame Backman for jumping at the chance. Leaving the Mets might be his quickest route to manage a Major League franchise. Unfortunately, Backman's departure could hurt the Mets deeply in the future. He has bled orange and blue since the early 1980's, and has proven his fiery personality as a player has followed him as a manager. I can't believe that the Mets can't use him as a 1B coach at the very least. If he does bolt for Washington, the Nationals gain will surely be the Mets loss.
Sources: ESPN NY, NY Post