In what could be a set up for the future the Mets have named Wally Backman as manager of AAA Buffalo. Many people scoffed at the fact that Backman wasn’t named to Terry Collins’ staff on the major league level last month but being at AAA is probably good for his chances at a major league managerial position.
In his capacity at AAA Backman will be looked at as an heir apparent to the major league job but his continued managing could also make him more attractive to other teams who may have been scared off by his being fired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004. For those who don’t remember, Backman was fired just 4 days after being named the DBacks manager after the New York Times reported in the article announcing his hiring in Arizona that Backman had a criminal record and financial trouble. (How this information didn’t come out during the hiring process is anybody’s guess but that’s a different discussion.)
Backman has bounced around the minors ever since the Arizona episode finally finding a home in the Mets organization he played for. He’s worked his way up the ranks to now become manager of their AAA affiliate just as his friend and former manager Davey Johnson did. Whether he ends up replacing Collins after Collins’ contract runs out or not remains to be seen. But being a manager at some level will allow him to prove himself in that capacity for all major league teams to see.