Mets Hire DePodesta’s Man

Paul DePodesta got his man to manage the Mets. The team hired former Angels and Astros manager Terry Collins over Bob Melvin and Wally Backman over the weekend, filling the void left by the deposed Jerry Manuel. In Collins’s six seasons as manager, his teams finished second five times and fourth once, compiling an overall 444-434 record. This marks the first major move by the Mets front office since Sandy Alderson and his high profile front office took over.

Collins most recently was in the running for the managerial position in Los Angeles in 2006, when DePodesta held the GM position. From Adam Rubin’s piece on Collins at ESPN New York:

However, owner Frank McCourt wasn’t thrilled with DePodesta’s managerial candidates. And four days after skipping a dinner/interview with Tommy Lasorda-backed candidate Orel Hershiser, DePodesta was fired. Ned Colletti succeeded DePodesta as Dodgers GM and hired Grady Little to manage the 2006 season. Collins had been what DePodesta labeled “an absolute star in player development” for the Dodgers while overseeing the farm system.

The fact that Collins is DePodesta’s “guy” invariably leads to the assumption that Collins must be a sabermetric darling. Given his extensive minor league history and his classification under player development, Collins is much more of a baseball lifer than a guy who buries his noses in spreadsheets or, perhaps a more touchy item in New York, binders. But it appeared that Bob Melvin, not Collins, was favored by Alderson. Despite his significance in Moneyball, Alderson is one of the preeminent “baseball men” around the league. The presence of the fiery fan favorite Wally Backman in the mix simply served as a wild card.

Given Backman’s popularity and DePodesta’s status as head nerd in the front office, there will likely be some fan backlash. That obviously hasn’t impacted the decision making process of Alderson and company and, as Rubin states, it shouldn’t:

You hire a GM to pick a manager, and expect him to know more about what he is doing than the media or fans. In fact, perhaps the anger about the potential choice is a good thing in a way, since it shows the Mets may not be following their familiar pattern of doing what’s popular in order to sell tickets the next day. In the end, sustained winning will take care of ticket sales.

That statement also applies to the assistant General Manager, and in DePodesta, I believe the Mets are in good hands. Collins doesn’t come without question marks – this piece on Amazin Alderson Avenue describes the disastrous 1999 Angels under Collins and how he may have been responsible for their downfall. But the respect Collins has around the game, and specifically from two smart people in DePodesta and Alderson, leads me to believe that the Mets made a sound choice in their first manager in the post-Minaya era.

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10 Responses to “Mets Hire DePodesta’s Man”

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  1. Dan says:

    There’s an old saying to the effect of that if you do what the fans want you do, you end up sitting next to them (i.e., you lose your job). Among my great hopes for the Alderson regime is that they’ll make rational decisions rather than respond to the bleatings of talk radio or the back pages of the NY Post.

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    • D4P says:

      I know what you’re saying, though it’s worth pointing out that “making rational decisions rather than responding to the bleatings of talk radio or the sports page of the LA Times” is largely what got Paul DePodesta fired from the Dodgers.

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      • Dan says:

        This is a good test case for the Wilpons. Will they let Alderson and the FO make good decisions that aren’t popular with the Francesa’s of the world?

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      • Dodger Blues says:

        Yeah, I’m sure his firing had nothing to do with 71-91 season from a squad whose cornerstones were J.D. Drew, Milton Bradley, and Jeff Kent. It was all talk radio and the F’ing LA Times’ fault.

        Is that you, ArubanPolice?

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      • Joe R says:

        Dodger Blues has some anger issues.
        I would have them, too, if I knew my franchise was on a fast track to mediocrity after one of the worst GM’d seasons in recent memory.

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      • Dodger Blues says:

        Joe R,

        I don’t know what your pot shot has to do with what I said about DePo getting his due for a 71-91 season, but that’s okay. I would be a douche, too, if my franchise is back to looking up at the Yankees in the standings.

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  2. Allen says:

    Alderson and DePodesta have been in town for what, a month, and they’ve already pissed off the Jersey Shore wing of the Mets fandom.

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  3. philly says:

    I think the many DePodesta lovers are missing the most interesting part of the article:

    [quote]However, owner Frank McCourt wasn’t thrilled with DePodesta’s managerial candidates. And four days after skipping a dinner/interview with Tommy Lasorda-backed candidate Orel Hershiser, DePodesta was fired.[/quote]

    I’ve never heard that before and frankly that’s a scathing indictment of DePodesta’s people skills. If the owner (ie your boss) and a longtime special ambassador to the team set up an interview/dinner with a “favorite son” candidate for a position, then you damn well better show up.

    I don’t care how “smart” DePodesta is or how many good idea he has to run an organization, that strongly indicates that he has no business running a high profile organization. His skill set is not so special that he can pull that kind of crap and keep one of the 30 GM jobs in the world.

    Focus all you want on the idiot LA media for running the golden boy out of town, put if he was pulling that crap behind the scenes, then he is largely responsible for getting himself fired.

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