Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he hopes to continue managerial...

Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he hopes to continue managerial interviews at a normal pace despite the death of his father. Credit: Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. - The sudden death of his father will not decelerate Sandy Alderson's timeline for finding a new manager, the Mets' new general manager said Monday, and the second round of interviews will proceed here at the general managers' meetings, as scheduled.

"As far as the search is concerned, I'm hoping to maintain the same pace that we've had," Alderson told reporters. He said the second round would likely feature "three or four" finalists, sure to include Terry Collins and Bob Melvin, and perhaps Chip Hale as well.

John Alderson, 87, was struck by a car and killed Saturday night near his St. Petersburg, Fla., home. As circumstances would have it, the relative proximity of Orlando and St. Petersburg - it's about a 1-hour, 45-minute drive - will allow Alderson to travel back and forth to deal with both his family and his job.

He planned to wrap up the first round by meeting last night with Jose Oquendo, the former Mets player and longtime Cardinals coach. Then he was heading back to St. Petersburg for the night, and would be back in Orlando Tuesday.

"I expect to be here about a half-day each day this week," Alderson said, with a memorial service for his father scheduled for Saturday. While most teams brought smaller parties than in past years - Yankees GM Brian Cashman came by himself, for example - the Mets sent assistant GM John Ricco and new hires Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi to aid Alderson.

When a reporter asked Alderson how difficult it was to balance his personal and professional obligations, Alderson choked up a little before regaining his composure.

"If I could focus on the game, I'm fine, and so forth," he said. ''I told you, I didn't want to be diverted here. It's tough, but I'm here, and we're working on it. If I keep focused, I'm fine. My family is gathering. I feel good about that."

Collins and Melvin, each of whom has held two big-league managing jobs, are the clear favorites for the job. Clint Hurdle also was set to be a finalist before he accepted the Pirates' job.

"I talked to Clint several times before he made his decision," Alderson said. "I tried to gauge where he was in the process with Pittsburgh. I did tell him we felt he was a strong candidate, but we were not prepared to curtail our first-round process based on the timetable of another club. He made his decision.

"We wish him well. I'm sure it's right for him. There were a number of things he took into account. We wish him well in Philadelphia and Atlanta [when the Pirates play the Mets' rivals, the Phillies and Braves]."

Alderson reiterated that experience is important, "but it's not going to eliminate anybody." He added, "We're not looking for somebody who just pushes buttons."

While choosing a new field leader, the Mets also hope to make progress on player personnel decisions, although Alderson already has stated he doesn't expect to be a major player in this winter's free-agent market.

"We will have plenty of representation here, and so I expect by the end of this week a long list of discussions," Alderson said. "We'll know a lot more Thursday or Friday than we do now with regard to players, free agents and trade possibilities."

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