To help preview our upcoming series with the New York Mets, I talked with Michael Baron from MetsBlog, one of the top blogs on the net, to talk about the teams recent moves and what to expect for the future.
TNB: There has been a lot of talk about Bob Melvin or Wally Backman inheriting Jerry Manuel's position. But what about third base coach Chip Hale? He has some managerial experience in the Diamondbacks system and knows the current set of Mets players.
MetsBlog: Yes he does know the current crop of Mets players, and he has recently been praised for his work with the Mets pitchers on their approach to hitting and bunting. I don't know much about him as a manager, but what I like about guys like Backman and even Bobby Valentine is they are no-nonsense guys and over the last few years in particular, the Mets have had some attitude and quality of play problems, and I think a personality like Backman or Valentine would go a long way towards unifying whatever clubhouse arrives in Port St. Lucie in February.
TNB: Like all owners in baseball, the main objective for the Wilpons is to put a product on the field that wins, but that has not been the case in recent years. Do you think they have too much power and influence over figures like Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel?
MetsBlog: It's hard for me to answer that question, because ultimately, I don't know how the Wilpons are conducting themselves in the team's baseball operations. At the end, the Mets belong to the Wilpons, and right or wrong, they have the right to conduct themselves however they want. As far as their influence is concerned, I think they have more of a direct influence on Omar Minaya, but I can't think of any other GM in baseball who isn't influenced and directed by ownership.
TNB: Jeff Francoeur is now a Texas Ranger after a up and down tenure with the Mets. What do you think Francoeur can bring to the Rangers as they prepare for October and where do you think his baseball career goes from here?
MetsBlog: At this point, Jeff Francoeur has demonstrated to me that he is nothing more than a defensive replacement. Now, he is a premier right fielder in baseball, with an intimidating arm with a lot of range in right field, and if you've noticed, the Rangers have emphasized pitching and defense this season with their acquisitions, although I think some of those moves haven't worked out for them as much as they would have liked to or expected.
I'd hate to say this, because I think Francoeur is a great baseball presence, but he is in trouble. He will likely be non-tendered by the Rangers in December unless he comes up big for them down the stretch and/or in October, and I can't think of a Major League team he can start on, given his problems at the plate.
I think Francoeur would be a great coach someday, as he is a positive influence and a great baseball mind.