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Who Will Manage The Mets? Handicapping The Field

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this week that he wants to have a manager in place by the winter meetings at the latest.

We certainly want to have a manager by the winter meetings” in early December, Alderson said Tuesday. “It would probably be helpful for us to have a manager by end of the month. Another sort of logical deadline is Thanksgiving I’m not sure we’re going to make that.”

Alderson conducts his ninth managerial interview today when he goes to the Dominican Republic to talk with Ken Oberkfell. With that in mind, let's handicap the competition to this point.

Leader In The Clubhouse -- Terry Collins.The former Astros and Angels manager has been considered by many to be the front-runner since Alderson was hired as general manager and said he does want a fiery leader on the bench. Collins has a 444-434 lifetime record as a major league manager. Strangely, though, Collins name has barely been heard since he had his initial interview with Alderson.

Coming Up On The Outside -- Wally Backman. The popular former Mets second baseman and most recently manager of the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones is the only candidate thus far known to be asked back for a second interview. When the process began few thought Alderson was doing more than extending a courtesy interview to Backman. If he is being asked back that becomes something much more than a courtesy being extended to the second baseman for the Mets’ 1986 World Series championship team.

Still In Striking Distance -- Former big-league managers Clint Hurdle (seven seasons with Colorado and five as a Mets' minor-league manager) and Don Wakamatsu (who managed Seattle in 2009 and was fired partway through 2010).

Not Dead Yet -- Oberkfell, DeMarlo Hale of the Red Sox, bench coach Dave Jauss, third-base coach Chip Hale and scout Bob Melvin. All of these guys have been interviewed, and no announcement has been made narrowing the field. So, they're still running. Even if it might be to nowhere.

One thing I can tell you for sure -- none of these guys is going to get the job.