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.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.