The New York Mets have announced through Sandy Alderson that Wally Backman will manage their Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas 51′s in 2013. Backman has been in the Mets managerial ranks from 2001 with A+ Winston-Salem until this year in Buffalo. While being hailed by many as a MLB-ready manager, Backman has not had an opportunity yet with the Mets and it doesn’t seem like other teams are knocking down his door. That will change in 2014, however.
I believe that Backman is just waiting in the wings for Terry Collins to get this team through a very tough 2013, and will be brought in to clean up the mess afterwards. The Mets were forced to go to Las Vegas after the Toronto Blue Jays moved their team to Buffalo, and the 51′s were the only remaining option. This is definitely not the scenario that Backman envisioned he would be getting into.
At the minimum, Backman should have been brought up to the big league club as part of Collins’ staff, but the friction might have become too heavy in what appears to be a lost season ahead. Once the Mets are able to clear some room on the payroll and Alderson will be able to spend more wisely, then they will be able to produce a winner on the field. That will not happen until 2014 at the minimum, however. That is when you will see the fire and steam coming from Backman as a leader from their dugout.
It is an inevitable situation, and that is why I feel that Backman even decided to stay around for one more year, especially in the heat and high elevation that Vegas offers. The Mets young pitchers will have their work cut out for them in Vegas and it is far from any type of ideal situation for the squad. But Backman has the knack and ability to pull them through and will make an enviable push to replace Collins eventually.
MetsNotes: The team also announced preliminary talks of playing an exhibition game in Las Vegas next spring at Cashman Field.
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