The Mets pushed Wally Backman out because of his “pattern of defiance”


As we noted yesterday, the Mets fired Triple-A manager Wally Backman. Or maybe he resigned. Everyone is being cagey about it. Today Marc Carig of Newsday has an article about the parting of ways which goes into detail about why the Mets canned him. Short version: Backman went rogue, defying the Mets front office’s directions on player usage, lineup construction and the like.

Carig cites numerous examples of Backman’s “pattern of defiance,” such as refusing to bat Michael Conforto against lefties, despite the fact that the Mets specifically sent him down to Vegas to work on that. Backman likewise hit prospects at the bottom of the order when the Mets wanted them at the top of the order so that they’d get more plate appearances.

Backman is no doubt going to fire back through his media surrogates. When he does so, expect the surrogates to use this incident as a means of taking shots at front offices for taking decisions away from so-called “baseball men” like Backman in order to centralize planning and development efforts, which are often seen as fueled by “new-fangled” or “sabermetric” philosophies. Never mind that the status of the minor leagues and the degree to which organizations exercise control over minor league affiliates has constantly evolved over the years.

And never mind that, refusing to following orders of your superiors tends to get you called something other than a “good baseball man.” At least when certain men in baseball do it anyway.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.