Wally Backman Gets To Manage Again

29 Nov

Wally Backman

Wally Backman is back where he wanted to be all along — the New York market. Backman, a member of the 1986 world champion Mets and a longtime manager in the Mets’ minor-league system, will manage the Ducks of the independent Atlantic League next season, the team announced Wednesday morning.

“I’m excited about it,” Backman, 59, said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “I’m back in my old stomping grounds. I’ve always showed my interest in being in the New York area and, with this opportunity coming available, I thought it was a great opportunity to be back where I really wanted to be, and that was New York.”

Backman played for the Mets from 1980-88, hitting .283 with seven home runs and 165 RBIs. He coached in the Mets’ minor- league system from 2009-16, managing at all three levels. His time with the organization ended in 2016, resulting in a public dispute regarding the nature of his departure.

Backman said he would still like to manage in the major leagues someday but is completely focused on the Ducks and bringing another championship to Central Islip.

As many no-names and guys who didn’t deserve second chances to manage in the major leagues, but got them anyway have come and gone since Backman blew his shot with the D’Backs all those years back, you’d think some GM out there would take another gamble on him.

The Mets Interest In Robinson Cano Is Concerning

28 Nov

Robinson Cano


Earlier today, we reported that the Mets and Mariners were both “aggressive” in Robinson Cano trade talks. Since then, we’ve been able to gather more specifics about the structure of a potential deal.

Per major league sources, here are the basic parameters of what the teams are discussing: Cano would go to the Mets, and Seattle would pay approximately $10 million annually of the $120 million owed to Cano over the next five years. That would take Cano’s annual salary down to about $14 million.

The Mets are also trying to get Seattle to take on a burdensome contract like Jay Bruce‘s, and obtain a player like Edwin Diaz or Mitch Haniger.

If this all seems too good to be true for the Mets, it might be. It all depends on how desperate Seattle is to move Cano.

Cano just got an 80-game suspension for using PED’s last year, he’s 36yo and his lack of hustle has always been a concern regardless of how good of a hitter he is. Then too, we already have Jeff McNeil at second base and the Mets first two priorities this off-season should be relief pitching and catcher. I get that the new GM may be looking to make a big splash with his first move, but I don’t think this should be it.

Jim Riggleman Hired as Mets Bench Coach Under Mickey Callaway

27 Nov

Jim Riggleman


Jim Riggleman, a 66-year-old veteran of 13 seasons as a major league manager, has been hired by the New York Mets as bench coach for Mickey Callaway.

Riggleman was Cincinnati’s bench coach from 2016 until he became interim manager for 5+ months last season, and he led the Reds to a 64-80 record after the team’s 3-15 start under Bryan Price. David Bell was hired by the Reds on Oct. 21.

Riggleman, a native of Fort Dix, New Jersey, also managed the Chicago Cubs (1995-99), Seattle (2008) and Washington (2009-11). He has a 726-904 (.445) record as a big league manager.

He replaces Gary DiSarcina, who is shifting to third base coach in a move announced earlier this month. Glen Sherlock moves from third to first and Ruben Amaro Jr. shifts from first to front officer adviser.

Mets Need To Trade Juan Lagares

25 Nov

Juan Lageres
Lagares is a great defender and hits left-handers really well, but he’s also injury prone. Still he’d be ideal for a team seeking a platoon option when paired with a lefty hitter could really use him in center field. Plus, with the surplus of outfielders the Mets have, I think you could trade Lagares for a quality reliever, knock out some payroll and have Michael Conforto and/or Brandon Nimmo handle left and center field until Yoenis Cespedes gets back.

Michael Wilbon Says Jacob deGrom had Cy Young ‘Hijacked’ for Him

18 Nov

Jacob deGrom Michael Wilbon

Michael Wilbon is somehow now even more cranky about Jacob deGrom winning the NL Cy Young award.

The “Pardon The Interruption” co-host went on another bizarre tirade against the Mets ace and all of baseball on Thursday, when he accused analytics of “hijacking” baseball and allowing deGrom to win the award, despite nearly being the unanimous choice (29 of 30 votes) for the award.

“You know, Tony [Kornheiser], I’m not with these people. I don’t respect their judgment, actually, because I don’t value what they value,” Wilbon said. “I value winning the damn game more than the ERA! And therefore, it is analytical hijacking. These people have hijacked baseball, they want to impose their will and tell you what’s important. I don’t share most of, maybe none of, their values, and it’s absurd.”

Wilbon and the San Diego Union-Tribune’s John Maffei (who placed the Nationals’ Max Scherzer first and deGrom second in the Cy Young vote), are receiving a lot of heat for putting so much emphasis on wins. But baseball purist that I am and missing the days of 20-game winners, I’m just of the ilk that wins should matter…somewhat, because they display both achievement and mettle. Then too, it’s just incredible when you look back and see how continuously inept the Mets offense was almost every time deGrom pitched. Still, I could care less that deGrom came one vote short of winning the Cy unanimously, I just wanted him to win it period. Because he deserved it. And while wins do matter (I’m on record hoping for deGrom to at least reach double-digits in wins), deGrom did not ‘hijack’ anything, he won on merit and that alone.

Kris Bryant for Noah Syndergaard?

12 Nov

Kris Bryant Noah Syndergaard

Coming off a down year where he was limited to just 102 games because of a shoulder injury, the Cubs are open to trading 3B Kris Bryant, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney.

According to Olney, The Cubs — who have failed to agree on a long-term extension with Bryant, who is repped by Scott Boras — could trade Bryant this winter.

With Bryant and Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard both 26 years old and both arbitration-eligible through 2021 before being eligible for free agency, a swap of the two could make sense…

Ugh. Listen, I’m fully aware that you have to go big to get a player the caliber of Bryant and the Mets could use another big right-handed bat. But damn if seeing Noah in another uniform wouldn’t be super hard. Sure, we could put Seth Lugo back in the rotation and Bryant’s price tag right now isn’t bad…yet, I’m still of the belief that starting pitching wins us our next championship, not a better offense. So I’m a no on this one.

Mets Interested in Free-Agent Reliever Andrew Miller

8 Nov

Andrew Miller

New Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s “win-now” approach could include a significant addition to the bullpen, as a source tells MLB.com’s Jon Morosi that New York is interested in free-agent reliever Andrew Miller.

Miller is familiar with Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who served as the Indians’ pitching coach from 2013-17. But the landscape has changed for Miller since Callaway’s departure, as the lefty threw just 34 innings and endured multiple stints on the disabled list this past season while battling ailments in his right knee and throwing shoulder. Miller finished ’18 with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP — both his highest marks since he was primarily a starter with the Red Sox seven years ago — and he will enter his age-34 season in ’19.

Still, the Mets could use quality relief help as they enter a new era. SNY’s Andy Martino reported Tuesday that the club is thinking about pursuing a high-profile reliever such as Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, David Robertson and Adam Ottavino.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Sure, everybody talks about that great year Miller had in 2016 and he’s had a great stretch from 2013 to 2018 as a reliever. But last year Miller was injured a lot and had a pretty down year at 34 when he did pitch. So concern about his age and body should be at a premium. Plus too, knowing how bad the Mets need bullpen help, I think that Robertson and/or Familia would be more reliable for the Mets and a better fit.

Ray Knight Just Lost His Broadcasting Job

6 Nov

Ray Knight

From Most Valuable Player to Most Volatile Personality.

Ray Knight, the MVP of the Mets’ victorious 1986 World Series, will not return to pregame and postgame Nationals coverage for MASN, the Washington Post reported. Knight, who helped cover the Nationals since 2007, had been pulled off the network in mid-September after a verbal altercation with a MASN employee.

According to the report, the 65-year-old berated a member of the MASN production team in a curse-filled rant. It was unclear what the blow-up stemmed from.

Knight, who scored the winning run of Game 6 when the ball went through Bill Buckner’s legs, has had his share of run-ins in the past. He was arrested a year ago this month and charged with assault and battery for an altercation at his Virginia home with a 33-year-old.

Ray Knight was always a feisty guy and this isn’t the first time he’s gotten in trouble for his temper after retiring. But he was also a huge part of that ’86 team and it’s no coincidence the Mets haven’t won since they stupidly let Knight go after winning it all.

Mets Should Go All-In On J.T. Realmuto

3 Nov

JT Realmuto
To me, this is a no-brainer. Realmuto, who had a line of .274/21/74 last year, has made it clear he wants out of Florida. Then too, the Mets haven’t a decent year out of a catcher since the days of Paul Lo Duca. And I for one, am tired of waiting out Travis d’Arnaud’s next injury much less the ‘real’ Kevin Plawecki. Besides the bullpen, catcher is where the Mets need help the most help and Realmuto fits all the check boxes (defensively too).

Mets Finally Give Up On Rafael Montero

3 Nov

Rafael Montero

Once a rising star in the New York Mets organization, right-handed pitcher Rafael Montero was outrighted by the team Friday and elected to become a free agent.

Montero, 28, missed the entire 2018 season after suffering a complete tear of the unlar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow during spring training.

This just goes to bad scouting, because Montero rarely if ever displayed the type of talent needed on the big league level to be considered a possible ace of the future.