Wally Backman

Wally Backman could join the Nationals’ coaching staff

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Wally Backman was a finalist for the Mets’ job last season, didn’t get it and went on to manage Double-A Binghamton. He’s currently expected to be in line for the job at Triple-A Buffalo, but Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that he may leave the Mets organization altogether and take a job as Davey Johnson’s third base coach in Washington.

Such a move would get Backman back to the bigs, of course. And, given that (a) Johnson is not going to manage forever; and (b) third base coach is a pretty standard springboard kind of job, it could put Backman in line to be Johnson’s heir with the Nats.

I was critical of the Mets for considering Backman for the top job last year. But after a couple more years under his belt, some time on a major league coaching staff and with some closer tutelage by a guy like Johnson, it could make way more sense.  Besides: if his fiery, hard-nosed reputation is everything it’s purported to be, seeing him beat Bryce Harper into a major leaguer in a year or two could be great fun to watch. Though maybe not much fun for Harper.

Mariners will retire Edgar Martinez’s No. 11

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 6:  Edgar Martinez #11 of the Seattle Mariners gets ready to bat during the game against the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington on April 6, 2003 in Arlington, Texas.  The Mariners defeated the Rangers 11-2.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners will retire Edgar Martinez’s No. 11 in a ceremony to be held on August 12. He’ll join Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only Mariners players to have their numbers retired by the club.

Martinez recently fell short of induction into the Hall of Fame, receiving 259 votes (58.6 percent) in his eighth year on the ballot. Many are confident he’ll get the necessary push to get enshrined before it’s too late.

Now 54 years old, Martinez spent 18 seasons with the Mariners. He retired with a .312/.418/.515 triple-clash line, 309 home runs, and 1,261 RBI. Martinez was a seven-time All-Star and five-time recipient of the Silver Slugger Award.

Mets tell Jay Bruce they plan on having him start in right field

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jay Bruce #19 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.

With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.

Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.