Now that the Mets have locked up new general manager Sandy Alderson, it’s time to begin the search for a skipper.
Alderson is expected to lead the hunt and told Steve Popper of the Bergen Record on Friday that he is hoping for someone with a little fire and a decent level of independence.
“I think that we’re looking for somebody that fits intellectual requirements, but also intuitive and emotional ones,” Alderson said. “That manager may have experience. He may not have experience. We’re very open-minded about it at this point. But I do want to emphasize that whomever is selected is going to be the manager and making those decisions. Needs to have a certain level of independence, obviously, in order to accomplish what he needs to accomplish.”
The Mets have not yet begun speaking with candidates because of their search for a GM, but possibilities include Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle, minor league manager Wally Backman, ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine and current Mets scout Bob Melvin. Former Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu is also expected to get a look.
Managers have very little impact on the outcome of a game, let alone an entire season, but in New York it’s imperative to have a guy with thick skin and a guy that doesn’t mind the spotlight. The new Citi Field has yet to host a playoff baseball game and the Mets are hoping to change that under the guidance of new leadership.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.