Confirmed: Mets to interview Jose Oquendo for managerial vacancy

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Terry Collins, Clint Hurdle and Bob Melvin remain the favorites in the Mets’ managerial derby, but one wildcard candidate has emerged in the past 24 hours. As hinted by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com earlier this afternoon, the Mets will indeed interview Jose Oquendo next Monday in Orlando before the GM meetings get underway, according to David Lennon of New York Newsday.

Oquendo confirmed the upcoming interview to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Managing in the big leagues is something I hope to do. The opportunity to interview with the Mets is exciting,” Oquendo said.

Oquendo, an ex-Met, has spent the past 11 seasons as Tony La Russa’s third base coach with the Cardinals. He has previously interviewed for manager jobs with the Mariners and the Padres, who were then led by, you guessed it, new Mets GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets are expected to settle on someone with previous experience — hence the favorites listed above — but the La Russa connection has to help his chances.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.