Bob Melvin chatted in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando after a 90-minute interview with Mets brass, which included chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.
Melvin also interviewed with the Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs this offseason.
Here's a partial transcript of what he had to say:
How did it go?
"I thought well -- good dialogue. Probably different than some of the interviews that I've been through in the past -- a lot of smart people asking a wide range of difficult questions, but ultimately good baseball talk."
Obviously you've spent the past year as a scout for the Mets. But being in uniform is your passion?
Were any options other than a managerial position discussed?
How did you get familiar with the team, since you were working for the Mets looking at other teams?
"They brought me in enough to where I saw the Mets enough to have a pretty good handle on what was going on, plus some spring-training stuff. I saw the A-ball team a little bit in Port St. Lucie. I went and saw [Carlos] Beltran when he was rehabbing. I saw the Triple-A team. I went and saw four, five or six games of theirs. So I have a little bit of an understanding of the system as well."
Their analytical-approach emphasis has gotten a lot of attention. Do you feel you mesh with their beliefs?
"I do, but they're deeper than that. They really are. There were philosophical questions. There were questions about game management. There were a whole host of things. It wasn't just looked at as an analytical perspective."
Have they given you a sense of when there may be a resolution?
"Not the one that I probably could say. In respect to the process, I probably wouldn't go there."
You were in New York. Came down today? Headed out tomorrow?
"That's it. I lost my home-field advantage. I was at home in New York for the first one. They're making me play on the road."
I know when you were with the Diamondbacks you spent your winters in New York. Now, you're in the city full time except for scouting obligations?
"After being let go from Arizona, a couple of months after that I became a New York resident."
How close are the Mets to winning?
"You know, there's a lot of talent there. There's no doubt about that. It's getting everybody going in the right direction, keeping everybody healthy. There's enough talent on the field to be very competitive. No question."
Can you put a finger on why it didn't work out last year for the Mets?
"I was a scout. They brought me in to be familiar with the club. But I wouldn't say that was part of my job description -- to evaluate the team."
How did it go?
"I felt like it went fine. It was a good, engaging baseball conversation with smart people. I enjoyed it."
Did you give them any idea who you might want on your coaching staff?
"In any interview those things come up, but I'm certainly not at liberty to pose that right now."
You have a strong relationship with Chip Hale from Arizona, correct?
"Yeah, he was my third base coach in Arizona for a couple of years."
Whatever happens here, do you think he's going to be a good manager at some point?
"Oh, there's no doubt about that. Absolutely."
Is it strange to be going up against him?
"Well, I try to look at it individually and not who you're competing against because I don't have any say in what they do. I'm just looking at my own situation. But I always wish the best for Chip, and that will never change."
How did the first round differ from this round? More on-field questions?
"Just probably a little more in-depth. Some of the questions where maybe I was a little bit vague the first time they were right on top of the next time and wanted specific answers to it. There was maybe some more questions outside of just what goes on in the baseball field, which you'd expect in a second round. But it was conducted very well."
Seattle is a fairly large market. Arizona -- smaller. You're able to handle all the New York media?
"Sure, why not? Absolutely. There's a passion in New York like nowhere else. That goes for your jobs, too. And I totally understand that and look forward to dealing with you hopefully a lot more."
You know this Mets roster. Can this team compete next year? Or is this a rebuilding process?
"I don't look at it as a rebuilding process. I look at it as we have the pieces here with this club to compete. I don't think there's any doubt about that. Every offseason you look to tweak a little bit and make some changes if you think there were deficiencies the year before, but that's not unlike anywhere else. Certainly with the payroll this team has it gives you enough resources to be able to compete every year."
Is there enough pitching?
"Uh, you know what? Health has a lot to do with it as well."
How do you feel about your chances?
"You want to be positive, which I am. You let the process play out. There are some other good candidates that are going to be in that room as well. We'll see how it plays out."
If you are named manager, what's the first task?
"I think the mindset -- getting back to the confident mindset that this team needs to win and compete in that division. It's not a talent problem. Certainly I think they've just been beat down from injuries and losing some games and that can wear on you a little bit."
You ever hear talk Bob Melvin isn't fiery enough?
"If you got to know me a little bit, and hopefully that's the case, I think I might be able to change your mind."