Former Phillies second baseman Wally Backman will return to the Mets’ Triple-A coaching staff as manager and follow the team from Buffalo to Las Vegas. Why is this newsworthy on a Phillies blog, you ask? In addition to being a former Phil, Backman was among the candidates to replace Ryne Sandberg at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with Sandberg’s promotion to the Big Leagues for 2013. Andy Martino reported today that Backman had re-upped with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate but confirmed the Phils’ interest.
My take: Slow news day? No way. Backman would have been a nice pick-up for the ‘Pigs based on a strong record of Minor League successes, including winning the Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year in 2004 with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ High-A squad and leading the 2010 Brooklyn Cyclones to a 51-24 record and a division title.
Watch this story – Sandberg will undoubtedly be hard to replace at Lehigh Valley. It goes without saying Sandberg’s squads have competed with little more than Triple-A regulars but have posted a very nice 155-132 mark and guys who are ready to step in at any time at the Major League level, including Erik Kratz, Kevin Frandsen, and a stable of young bullpen arms.