NEW YORK -- Terry Collins has emerged as the favorite to become New York Mets manager, according to an organization source.
Collins, currently the organization's minor league field coordinator, has strong supporters in chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and newly hired VP for player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta, who once was prepared to hire Collins as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers before being pushed out as GM there.
The Mets have not yet even announced their finalists, but a source told ESPNNewYork.com that it was expected that Clint Hurdle, Bob Melvin and Collins would be callbacks. Lending credence to Collins' emerging as Mets manager is the Pittsburgh Pirates' hiring of Hurdle for their vacancy, which SI.com reported Sunday.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson has not yet officially completed first-round interviews. He is due to interview St. Louis Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo on Monday in Orlando, the site of the GM meetings.
Collins, 61, managed the Houston Astros from 1994 to 1996 and the Angels from 1997 to 1999, compiling a 444-434 record. He more recently managed the Orix Buffaloes in Japan for two seasons and managed Team China in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
"The only work I've done with Terry was getting down to spring training last year early, and he was kind of running things for everybody down there early," third baseman David Wright said Saturday, during a charity visit at Chelsea Piers. "From what I've seen, he seems like a great guy, and brings a lot of fire and passion to the game."
On a conference call to announce DePodesta's hiring, the ex-Dodgers GM called Collins an "absolute star in player development."
Said DePodesta: "First of all, he's done it before. I think any of us who have been in these jobs in various organizations learn a lot every step of the way. I've been through four organizations now. I'm hopeful some of the things I've been exposed to over that time will be helpful to the Mets, and I think the same could be said for Terry. He's been a major league manager a couple of different times. You learn an awful lot from that."