Wally Backman

Report: Byrnes and Alderson have Backman on short list for next Mets manager

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The Mets’ GM search is marching towards its conclusion, as former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes and former Athletics GM and Padres CEO Sandy Alderson appear to be the finalists for the position.

It’s all speculation until the team names a general manager, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has an interesting piece of information regarding who may be on the short list to be the club’s next manager.

Both Alderson and Byrnes presented lists of four or five managerial candidates in their initial interviews. Each of their lists included Mets Class A manager Wally Backman, sources said.

I can see how some people may have a problem with this. And I’m not even talking about his history with domestic violence. I’m talking about the perception battle. By now, we know that the Mets like Backman. He appears to be in good standing with the organization after leading the Brooklyn Cyclones to a division title. It’s very possible that Byrnes and Alderson value him too, but should Backman end up getting hired, the public perception will be that ownership led the new GM to their first significant decision. That’s probably not a good idea.

The full-autonomy tag is silly anyway, as I realize that ownership is in on almost every significant decision, but the Mets have been losing this perception battle for years now. Part of this offseason facelift must be about attempting to change that perception, perhaps more than the actual players on the field.

Report: Teams have inquired with the Angels about Hector Santiago

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 20:  Hector Santiago #53 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Monday that the Angels have received inquiries from multiple teams concerning starter Hector Santiago. He adds that the club is willing to listen to offers. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Marlins are among the teams that have inquired.

Santiago, 28, has pitched to a 4.32 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 47 walks in 110 1/3 innings. Sabermetric statistics such as FIP, xFIP, and SIERA think the lefty has pitched even worse than his ERA indicates however, pitting 2016 as his worst performance to date.

Santiago is earning $5 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility going into 2017.

We also learned earlier that, in an effort to bolster their starting rotation, the Marlins have also shown interest in Wade Miley of the Mariners and Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies.

Prince Fielder will undergo season-ending neck surgery this week

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 10: Prince Fielder #84 takes a swing during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 7-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Rangers placed DH Prince Fielder on the disabled list last week due to more neck discomfort. On Friday, Fielder met with Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed spinal fusion surgery on Fielder in 2014 for a herniated disk in his neck. Dossett has recommended another procedure, so Fielder will undergo season-ending surgery this week, Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports.

Fielder was having a rough season, batting .212/.292/.334 with eight home runs and 44 RBI in 370 plate appearances. He played in only 42 games in 2014, but returned in 2015 looking more like his old self. Unfortunately, neck and back issues are notoriously difficult to fix. Hopefully, this upcoming procedure does the trick for Fielder.

Fielder is owed $24 million per season through 2020, with the Tigers paying $6 million of it per season.