I think there is one obvious manager candidate that no one seems to mention, Super Joe McEwing. McEwing was a Met fan favorite while with the team…. Baseball America named him one of their managers of the year the past two years (High A in the White Sox organization). And unlike Backman he does not come with the baggage and potential public relations nightmare….
But the real key is his relationship with LaRussa and Dave Duncan. Joe came to the majors with the Cards and was a favorite of LaRussa, who respected him so much he requested a pair of the Joe’s spikes when he was traded to the Mets (for Jesse Orosco). Why is this important, because Dave Duncan can have more of an immediate impact than any manager or GM the Mets can hire. The timing is perfect, he would have never left the Cards in years past, but now he is upset with the way the Cardinal organization, the local media, and fans handled the situation with his son.
– Reader Dan, via e-mail.
On the surface, Dan’s case is an interesting one. After all, if the Mets are serious about considering Wally Backman — currently a short-season A-ball manager — to helm their big-league club, why wouldn’t they be willing to hire a current High-A ball manager in Flushing? And Super Joe, like Backman, led his team to a lot of success in 2010, taking the Winston-Salem Dash to the Carolina League championship series, where they (it? Are we pluralizing Dash?) lost to the Potomac Nationals.
But I have a pretty strong feeling Joe McEwing, at 38 and with no managerial experience above A-ball, will not be the Mets’ next skipper. And if we’re going to campaign for such unlikely solutions, I might as well lobby for an WPA generator like some folks at Amazin’ Avenue keep advocating.
And maybe there’s a role for Super Joe on the Mets’ bench. Brooke from SNY’s Original Programming department just suggested they could hire him to be a roving bench coach, first-base coach, hitting coach and third-base coach all in one. I remember reading that he was a popular guy in his time with the team, and that David Wright especially was sad to see him go. But though we know the Mets love hiring ex-Mets, it does seem a bit random. Plus they keep saying all hires will be up to the new GM.
I will say that I was no fan of Super Joe during his time with the Mets. I recognize now that there’s some value in a guy willing and at least vaguely able to play absolutely anywhere on the field, but the combination of his inability to hit with the media’s tendency to fawn over him turned me off. But then that really has no bearing on his ability to manage or coach a team.