Wally Backman Out Of Line On Wheeler Comments

Like everybody else, I am anxious to see Zack Wheeler with the Mets. Even if he’s half of what he’s been cranked up to be, he has to be some improvement, if not a gate draw, from what the Mets have now.

BACKMAN: Out of line.

BACKMAN: Out of line.

Yesterday, Las Vegas manager Wally Backman told a local radio station: “Personally, I think if he has a couple of more starts like his last start he’ll be headed to the big leagues, and rightfully so.’’

Huh? I don’t recall GM Sandy Alderson saying something like that.

I’m not saying Backman is right or wrong in his analysis or projection of Wheeler, just wrong in saying anything of that nature in the first place.

Backman manages Triple-A Las Vegas. He does not speak for the Mets’ organization, and his comments put undue pressure on everybody, from Backman, to Wheeler, to Terry Collins, to Alderson.

Once somebody from the organization, even Alderson, suggests a timetable, a clock starts ticking. So, what happens if Wheeler isn’t up in two starts? What then? Another timetable? You can’t keep teasing the fan base that way.

Backman is out of line in making such statements. But, could it be he spoke because the Mets don’t have a policy in place on how to publicly handle Wheeler?

There were no such conflicting messages with Washington about promoting Stephen Strasburg. Why aren’t similar precautions and guidelines in place for Wheeler?

There was more structure to Matt Harvey’s promotion this year in that everybody knew he would go north with the team coming out of spring training. There seemed more structure to Harvey’s promotion last year, primarily because Alderson did most of the talking.

The only structure with Wheeler is we knew he wouldn’t be up at the beginning of the year because of the contractual links to his arbitration and free-agency eligibility seasons. The best-guess estimate for that is the end of the month or early June, but either way that exceeds a couple of more starts.

At least the Mets made a determination, although there was the caveat of “if we really needed someone,’’ that could be waived. Wheeler wasn’t pitching well enough early in his season to warrant a promotion, but he has been good his last two starts. Perhaps, two or three more and he’ll be ready, but that’s Alderson’s call and not Backman’s.

It’s confusing when not all the parties are on the same page. It is Alderson’s responsibility to define that page, and Backman’s to follow the guidelines.

There should be no loose cannons here, just one voice. That’s the case with winning organizations.

Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

57 thoughts on “Wally Backman Out Of Line On Wheeler Comments

    • Shame on you Wally, they should promote You to the Bigs with Wheeler (and bring a pitching coach with you).

      • I think is exactly what the fanbase is sick and tired of; politically correct statements from the ‘management’ (not you John) instead of brutal honesty. I feel, as I suspect many other fans do, that we’ve had our fill of vanilla, corporate puppets that lack emotion and the players fail to respond to (i.e, Torborg, Green, Howe, Manuel, Collins, etc.). I also feel that if this column is indicative of the current management, Wally will never manage in the majors for the Mets; a state I find sad. Especially since I can easily see Davey Johnson offering Wally to become his heir apparent in Washington next year if there is no room for his advancement in a Mets organization. Like it or not, a team will only go as far as their leader and right now, nobody’s at the wheel.

    • Sounds to me like John Delcos works directly for the NY Mets with his article. when did it become so wrong to express an opinion on a player. To me, John is worng for having written this post and i see a lot of people agree with me. Last year we heard Wally refer to Matt Harvey not being ready, which he wasn’t, yet we did not write that he was wrong to say it. Honestly, i think we need to take it for what it is, an opinion. At the end of the day, it is always the call of the front office. So tired of all the fan sites trying to reign in professional opinions because it was not said by Sandy, Paul or JP. ugh!

  1. This Marcum signing looks like a disaster

    I still don’t know why they didn’t resign Young.

    Young pitched well the second half and since no one signed him would have been just as expensive.

    Time to bring up McHugh or someone.

  2. Take it easy already!!! A couple more starts does not necessarily mean 2. Could mean 2, could mean 3 or 4. Today is 5/11, 2-3 good starts would put us at the end of May, pushing into June. That’s if he has 2-3 good starts in a row. Nothing wrong with what Backman said. Who knows Alderson didn’t tell him to say that anyway as motivation for Wheeler? Worrying what Wally Backman says to local Las Vegas media is the least of the Mets worries. Don’t complain just to complain.

    • I personally think this is a big to-do about nothing. Wally said nothing out of line, nothing insubordinate, nothing undermining the New York front office. If we’re looking to start some sort of story why not start one about how Sandy Alderson could put this bad of a team on a major league field and expect people to spend rediculous amounts of money at the ballpark to watch them embarrass themselves night after night. I have been a Mets fan since mid 1962. I’ve gone to twenty or so games during the horrible late 1970’s ( you know those bad years of 77, 78 and 79 when you could call Shea and ask what time is today’s game and they would reply, “What time can you make it?” Today’s team is the first time this diehard can say they are unwatchable. If this is the best the Wilpons can offer us, it’s time to sell to people who give a damn about their fans and sell to people smart enough to know a Ponsy scheme when they see one!

      • Rob: I’ve written that several times and will again shortly. I’ve also written it isn’t Alderson’s job to put a quality team on the field. His job, the reason he was hired, was to cut payroll and keep costs down. … That’s why Wheeler won’t be here for another month or so. Backman’s comments do undercut Alderson. One thing to fault Alderson on is he wants him in the minors for Super Two reasons, but the door open a crack. Whether Wheeler comes up in June or in a week won’t matter for this season. Given that, keep him down until June for the money reasons.-JD

        • John: I understand what you said and have no argument with most of what you said except with your point that Alderson’s job is not to put a quality team on the field. He has the unenviable job to indeed put a quality team on the field AND keep costs low. We have a GM here who had a reputation for finding low-cost quality players that gave his fan-base reason for optimism and I have supported his efforts in the past, but the job done in this off season was amateurous at best. Given the fact that Fred Wilpon stated during Spring Training that “the money is there” to help build a winning product and now the payroll is much LOWER than last year defies credibility on the owners part. Now, do I think they are still on the right track to build a consistent winning major league team, yes. All I am saying is the job Sandy did this off season is proof of what we’ve seen so far this season. Somebody in this organization is not leveling with either the fans or the media about the financial soundness of the franchise and I further think Sandy is being a good company man in taking the heat for a situation he did not create. That being said he still could have done a better job putting this team together. Any honest person has to admit to date this season has been a step backwards instead of forward. I hope things get better, but so far the only hope I have is that the suffering Met fans are enduring this season will take time off my stay in purgatory. All my best to you!

        • John, Sandy’s job is not just to “cut payroll and keep costs down”, it’s also to get people out to the ballpark. You should have realized this when they held on to Reyes as he chased a batting title with no real intention of resigning him. In that regard Alderson has done a terrible, terrible job.

    • Dan: Nothing wrong with his assessment, as I wrote. But, the point is Backman does not speak for the organization. Alderson should have a policy on Wheeler’s promotion and it should be made known throughout the organization.-JD

      • John: Enough of the control. You are not the Mets PR person. Honestly, as a fan, i like to read what a professional player, now manager, has to say about players in our organization. Gives us hope. I would rather have hope than wonder all season what the heck is going on with a particular prospect and his readiness to come to the majors. At the end of the day, it is always Sandy’s call.

  3. Out of line? He’s Wheeler’s manager. If anyone should be critiquing his ability to pitch in the major leagues, it’s him.

      • This is foolish, quite frankly. As so many others have said, there is nothing wrong with Wally saying how he feels about a player. He isn’t speaking for the Mets or creating a timetable, he’s simply a coach who’s proud of his player.
        Let’s cut the crap already, the only person who interpreted that quote as a timetable is you. We’re in the middle of a season and the teach is playing like the bad news bears and scoring less runs than NY Rangers have goals. Get off your @ss and find a real story!

    • Darnell: In the hierarchy of any company, middle management doesn’t speak for ownership. It just doesn’t. If Alderson, right or wrong, has a timetable for Wheeler, Backman shouldn’t go against it publicly. Backman has been known as a loose cannon and this is another example. Don’t think for a second ownership doesn’t keep score on such things.-JD

  4. worry about the lame ass manager we have, instead of trying to make a story out of wally LAME ATTEMP FOR A STORY

  5. This is a bad article. There are plenty of other things you can write about. Who cares what Backman said. He has literally no say. He’s just offering up his opinion. Which it was. An opinion. He never said HE WILL BE UP. He said, and fact, that he believes he should be at the big league level. Come on John, stop reaching just to make your quota. Journalism. Look up the definition

    • Shawn: Backman has no say in the final decision. He offered his opinion, and I offered mine. You offered yours. You don’t agree with me; I don’t agree with you. However, I am grateful for your input and hope you’ll stop by again.-JD

  6. I had no problems at all with what he said… Not sure why this is such a big issue?

  7. What a pathetic whiny post. Is Delcos a shill for Alderson? And since when does anyone affiliated with the Mets care about what the fans think. Anyone with a computer…

  8. Wally prefaced his comments with “personally” so it’s his opinion.. Nowhere did he say it’s the opinion of the organization. Why even make this a story?

    • Because when you’re sitting at home with your balls in your hands you need to cook up something. Otherwise, writing a real story takes….well, real work…

  9. “Backman manages Triple-A Las Vegas. He does not speak for the Mets’ organization,”

    Which is exactly why he started his comments with the word “Personally.”

  10. Man, you’re really hurting for a topic when you have to make something out of a Wally comment.

  11. What a stupid stupid article. His AAA manager gave an opinion, starting it with “personally, I think”, and you have a problem with that?? Wow. Of all the things to have a problem with. Just a moronic post. Really? Really??

  12. This is not a story at all. Who does Sandy talk to when getting updates on his prospects when he, J.P. or DePodesta can’t make it all the way to Vegas? Wally. He was hired to be the manager there, wasn’t he? No different than Terry making comments about Harvey. So tired of people making big deals out of nothing with this team. Lets focus on how they cannot hit. How we have someone who can hit on a regular basis and do big things on the bases for us, but he is riding the bench because of his “flair”, even though Reyes also played with “flair” and this team defended him even when other teams publicly complained about it.

  13. I will say that I think Valdespin should get an extended look. However, I dont think that he has proven anything at all at the plate. Small sample size of career OPS so anything can happen, but it is .714. To give you an idea Luis Castillo’s career is .719. Plus Valdy’s OBP in those limited at bats is .287. Again, I think that he should get an extended look over people like Marlon Byrd, and there is without question talent there to grow. Also, I think that you can make a bigger arguement that when a player’s own team is not defending him, that speaks volumes to the player, more so than the team.

    • metsman: Absolutely right. David Wright defended Valdespin because that’s what a captain does. But, you notice how nobody came to him when he blew his cork. And, the camera showed several times the next say him sitting alone in the dugout. … At first, I thought Valdespin should get a long look starting. After this weekend, I don’t care about him.-JD

  14. Really? Shame on Wally??? LOOL!
    Our GM has ummm let’s see, brought in Rick Ankiel, Frank Francisco and Shawn Marcum… but hey, let’s depend on him to figure out what we should do cuz we’re doing great so far! LOL
    Backman WAS NOT OUT OF LINE….saying so is just stupid.

    • Pete: Who Alderson has brought up to date isn’t the issue. His job was to cut payroll and that’s what he’s done so far. Backman was totally out of line because it wasn’t his position to point out what should be done with Wheeler. Make your point to Alderson over the phone and not on the radio.-JD

  15. This article is pathetic, Wally is to blame for what? For speaking the truth? He said the same thing about Harvey. Are you trying to protect the Wilpons money and delay Wheeler for super 2 status? Most likely, shut up shill, cant take you seriously at all. TRY harder, and yeah i wont read another article you write after this debacle.

      • JD, you are the only person reporting this, it is a non issue. I think the only person out of line in regards to this is you, look at the readers reaction. Next time when you wanna break a story, have some stronger footing. Stop trying so hard as well, desperation gets you nowhere

  16. Wally needs to keep his mouth closed. There is a reason he has been a minor league manager for so long. Guy need to respect the people above him in the organization. Shhhh.

    • JJ: That was the total point. Backman’s comments puts pressure on the current manager who has to constantly answer questions about Wheeler. As I’ve said several times, Backman has loose lips. If he doesn’t get the chance to manage the Mets, it will be because of incidents like this.-JD

      • The questions about Wheeler are there because the Mets have 3 guys in this rotation that STINK!!! If you for a second think that those comments impact the frequency of wheeler questions asked to Terry or Sandy you’re a fool. Backman’s lips have nothing to do with the fact that Wheeler needs to be on the major league roster – and until he is the questions will continue and intensify with every loss.
        I really hate people that stir up garbage for personal gain. What did Wally do to you to make you like this??

  17. Its amazing how stupid America has begun. Did it ever dawn on you that the comments were blessed by the Mets to give fans something to hope for and if it doesn’t work out then it was just Wally’s opinion. How stupid are you

    • Paul: No way is that the case. Doing so would set the fans up to be disappointed if Wheeler didn’t work out. That’s the bottom line here.-JD

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  19. Nathan: I haven’t heard from you in awhile. Can’t say I missed you. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know I’ve been critical of Alderson, even in this post. But, you’re so obsessed in being negative that you don’t get it. … Personally, your ignorance knows no bounds.-JD

  20. Wally wasn’t under-cutting Alderson. He wasn’t making an organizational declaration at all. He was just saying that if Wheeler keeps pitching well, he’s going to find himself in the majors. That’s All. I’m pretty amazed you took it a whole different direction. When players play well, they make organizations consider them. It’s how it has always been. Good minor leaguers get promoted. Zach Wheeler isn’t any different and that’s Exactly what Wally meant. John, I really think you’re misunderstanding this whole thing.

  21. Please – if it was OK for Wally to give his opinion as an informed person when Wheeler was going bad with no backlash, it’s OK for him to comment on his progress – that is hardly loose cannon fodder – You would have fit in perfectly at the Salem Witch Trails or you should consider a career on the politically correct police – and to say Sandy’s job is not to make the team better – what planet are you living on?

  22. John…who really cares…and you know what…Good for Wally that he said what he did. I told anyone who would listen that when Sandy was hired that the Mets would turn into the Padres, and unfortunately they have.

    Wally saying what he did means absolutely nothing. All Collins has to say is ask Sandy, and Sandy should be held accountable. By the way, I hope that if the Mets were ever in a situation such as last year with Stasburg that they wouldn’t handle it like Washington. Keep in mind that the Marlins have won more World Series than the Braves in recent years.

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