One down, one to go. Now that Sandy Alderson has been selected as the Mets' general manager, next up on the agenda is finding a manager, and the early indications are that it is not likely to be Wally Backman.
Backman, a fan favorite, impressed chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon in his first season at Class A Brooklyn, which figured to be almost like a probationary period after his troubled past.
But a person familiar with the situation indicated that Alderson did not approve of Backman when asked about him during his interview. The new GM provided a list of potential managers, and was quizzed on others, but Alderson's philosophy suggests less volatile, lower-profile candidates.
Alderson had Tony La Russa and Art Howe in Oakland, then later, as Padres' CEO, replaced Bruce Bochy with Bud Black. His thinking is that the dugout job is more like a "middle-management" position that should merely implement the front-office strategy, and that points to candidates like Bob Melvin and Ken Macha rather than Joe Torre, who already took himself out of the running.
Another potential choice for manager is Chip Hale, the popular infield and third-base coach from last season. Hale, along with pitching coach Dan Warthen and bullpen coach Randy Niemann, are the only members of Jerry Manuel's staff that are likely to be retained for 2011.
Other than Backman, if the Wilpons nudge Alderson toward former Mets, he could look to hire Texas hitting coach Clint Hurdle, who spent eight years as the Rockies' manager and took Colorado to the World Series in 2007. Hurdle also managed in the Mets' minor-league system before the Rockies hired him in 1994.