Giants evoking ironic memories of Nolan Ryan's '69 Mets (cont.)
Well-respected longtime baseball man Sandy Alderson, the architect of the late 1980s and early '90s Oakland Athletics dynasty and a big player in baseball since then, is said to be going into his new job as Mets GM with his eyes open and with an understanding that there's a lot of work to do to bring the Mets to where they want to go.
The big first order of business will be to fill out his staff of executives and scouts (competitors say the Mets are understaffed for scouts), and people around baseball say that Paul DePodesta, a lieutenant of Alderson's with the A's, former Dodgers GM and current Padres exec, is expected to be a target. J.P. Ricciardi, another former A's exec who was recently the Blue Jays GM and is now a TV guy, is another possibility. As is Grady Fuson, an A's exec, though Fuson has suggested to some friends that he's remaining in Oakland. Ex-Mets GM Omar Minaya has a relationship with Alderson and a fondness for Mets owner Fred Wilpon, so there would seem to be a decent chance that he could return to the team in some facet.
Alderson is said to be composing a managerial candidate list of at least a half dozen or perhaps more, and those who know him suggest that they'd expect Alderson to put a big premium on experience. He was the CEO of the Padres when Kevin Towers made the wise call to hire a pitching coach, Bud Black, to manage that team. But nobody seems to expect Alderson to tab someone with no major league managing experience for the Mets job.
Alderson is also the mentor to Moneyball king Billy Beane and is believed to perceive the manager as a "middle management'' position that carries out the plans of the front office. So it appears that ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine would be a long shot.
Alderson could interview as many as five in-house candidates, including scout Bob Melvin, the ex-Diamondbacks manager; field coordinator Terry Collins; third base coach Chip Hale; minor league manager Ken Oberkfell; and minor league manager Wally Backman -- though people who know Alderson say that they would be shocked if he were to hire the popular Backman, who has a few off-field transgressions on his resume that cost him the Arizona manager's job four days after he was hired. Melvin and Collins have major league managing experience. Melvin has been a candidate in a few places, including the Brewers, and may fit Alderson's criteria as a smart, solid guy who follows instructions well. Hale impressed Mets officials, and Oberkfell has done a very nice job, as well, but their lack of major league managing experience is a drawback.
John Gibbons, the ex-Blue Jays manager and now a coach with the Royals, is seen as a possibility, as is Don Wakamatsu, the former Mariners manager who coached with the A's and Rangers. Clint Hurdle, the ex-Rockies manager who's been praised for his job coaching Rangers hitters, also could have a chance.
The Brewers appear to be seriously considering Valentine, who is said to have genuine interest in that job. The issue there will likely be whether they will pay Valentine what it will take. He made more than $2 million a year with the Mets 10 years ago and is believed to have a seven-figure salary with ESPN. While the Brewers are known to be a low-paying team for scouts and executives, owner Mark Attanasio is said to have a concern about ticket sales following two straight losing seasons and may want to make a splash with a dynamic hire, especially considering Milwaukee's TV revenues aren't commensurate with most other teams'. White Sox coach Joey Cora is said to have had a good interview there, but Valentine appears to be the favorite, provided they can work out the finances.
Curt Young seems to have an excellent chance to replace John Farrell and become Boston's new pitching coach, but the Red Sox will interview a couple in-house candidates, as well. The Yankees are also looking for a pitching coach now. One possibility there could be Rick Kranitz, who was the pitching coach for Girardi in Florida.
Josh Byrnes could wind up in San Diego whether or not DePodesta leaves for the Mets. Byrnes, who impressed Mets people but surely understood from the start that Alderson was the heavy favorite for the Mets' GM job, is believed to have several opportunities. He is on contract through 2015 with the Diamondbacks, and that deal was made between Byrnes and new Padres owner Jeff Moorad, who is still close to Byrnes.
Vladimir Guerrero did play 17 games in right field during the regular season, so Washington's call to use him there in Game 1 was not out of the ordinary. But Guerrero appeared to be in pain in the outfield, and some Rangers people think that he may have hurt his bad knees sliding early in the game.
Giants' Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria look like they've found the Fountain of Youth. Uribe is becoming a folk hero in San Francisco with his big home runs, despite a bad wrist that was heavily taped in the Giants clubhouse. Renteria suggested the day before the Series that he's likely to retire, and what a bookend this could be to a very nice career, considering it started (at least to the national public) with the Series-deciding hit in 1997 for the Marlins. Renteria and Uribe are providing startling offense as the Giants' Nos. 7 and 8 hitters and are also surprising scouts with their excellent defensive play.
Scouts say that Cliff Lee had no command of his curveball and limited command of his cutter in Game 1, but his eight-day layoff may not be at fault. Lee has a history of working well after a long layoffs, as he did in last year's postseason.
Longtime Rangers scout Tom Giordano said on WFAN-660 in New York that Texas believed going into the ALCS against the Yankees that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez had slowed down, and that their arms weren't what they once were. Jeter's shortstop play was solid this year, but some Yankees people are wondering whether Rodriguez's hip may be bothering him after watching his range diminish late in the year.