One of the most important decisions the New York Mets will make this offseason is deciding whether or not to give manager Terry Collins a contract extension. But another important decision is whether triple-A manager and Mets legend Wally Backman will remain with the organization as well.
Backman has been a manager in the Mets’ farm system for the past four seasons and led triple-A Las Vegas to a division title this season. It’s well documented that Backman interviewed to become the Mets’ manager in 2011 before Collins was ultimately hired, and that Backman does have aspirations to be a major league manager, a position he’s well qualified for.
However, it appears that after four seasons of managing in the minors, including the last two in triple-A, things between Backman and the Mets are coming to a head.
There’s no other team Backman would prefer to manage than the Mets, but if Collins is given an extension, which seems to be the more likely scenario right now, it would take that job off the table for Backman for at least a few more years, and he may not be willing to wait around in triple-A wondering if and when the Mets’ managerial job will open up again.
If he can’t be their manager next season, Backman may be willing to settle for a spot on the Mets’ major league coaching staff. If Collins stays, though, the rest of the staff will likely stay as well, and a spot may not open up for Backman to take. Even if there is an opening, there’s no guarantee that it would go to Backman, forcing him to stay in triple-A if he wants to stay in the organization.
With all that being said, there is a very real possibility that Backman will have a job with an organization other than the Mets in 2014, which would be hugely disappointing to a large faction of Mets fans that want him to be the manager. Backman doesn’t seem like he wants to stay in the minors any longer, and if he looked, there’s little doubt he could find a job on a MLB coaching staff for next year.
There’s even a chance that Backman could find a managerial job in the big leagues in 2014, which would be hard for him to turn down despite his desire to remain with the Mets.
Following the minor league season, the Mets chose not to promote Backman to the major league staff for the month of September, which could be a telling sign about his future with the organization. It appears to be manager or bust with regards to Backman and the Mets, and if the Mets decide to extend Collins’ contract, it could mean cutting ties with Backman — intentionally or not.