Morning Briefing: Happy Backman Day!


FIRST PITCH: It’s Wally Backman Day!

Backman, who guided Las Vegas into the Triple-A playoffs for the second straight season, joins the Mets staff on Friday at Turner Field for the final nine games. Backman also was a September call-up in 2012.

A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets are mulling having Backman on the major league staff to open next season.

It’s unclear which current major league coach might be out in that scenario.

Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins are due to meet in Atlanta this weekend to plan for 2015. Both are expected to remain in their posts, with an announcement coming after the season.

In Friday’s series opener, Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61 ERA) opposes Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89) at 7:35 p.m.

The Mets’ tragic number for postseason elimination has been sliced to one with Pittsburgh’s win on Thursday night.

Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

• The Mets plan to scout Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas, 23, during a workout on Sunday in the Dominican Republic, although the power-hitting outfielder’s price tag figures to exceed the organization’s appetite.

• Paul DePodesta tells Mike Puma in the Post that the organization’s next top-10 prospects list should have more position players than pitchers, including Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Dilson Herrera.

As for why the Mets are not more active with signing Cuban defectors, DePodesta said: “The dollars to this point have been beyond our reach or beyond our appetite. But we’re going to continue to do what we’ve done, which is sort of be prepared proactively and when these guys do become available we’ll be there and see whether or not it’s something that makes sense for us.”

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests the Mets don't need to spend this offseason. Writes Madden:

So the case can be made for Alderson not raising payroll and the Mets, off their strong pitching and increased improvement and development from their young core position players, still emerging as legitimate contenders next year. For that to happen, though, they’re still going to need to (1) avoid major injuries, especially the season-ending type to their pitchers, and (2) assure the payroll remains flexible enough for Alderson to increase it by at least $10 million if that big bat suddenly does become available. And, oh yes, one other thing: They need to find a way to start beating Washington.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger reviews the blossoming of Wheeler into a frontline starter.

• Mets fans have it the worst of any MLB team, according to ESPN polling.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News assesses the possibility of Wilmer Flores as the No. 1 shortstop next season. Marc Carig in Newsday tackles that subject as well.

• Emma Span at SI.com calls out Bud Selig for his treatment of the Mets.

• Here’s footage shot from an interesting angle at Citi Field at MLB.com.

• PIX11 extended its agreement with the Mets and SNY through 2017. The network will air 25 regular-season games a season on free TV.

• Lloyd Carroll at the Queens Chronicle weighs in on the civil lawsuit filed against the Mets.

• Howard Megdal at USA Today tags along with Kevin Burkhardt.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear examines why a logo and a TV field reporter mean so much to Mets fans. … John Delcos at NY Mets Report suggests the Mets would be far more competitive in NL East if they improved their division performance in one- and two-run games. … Blogging Mets tackles the difficult task of naming the 2014 Mets MVP.

BIRTHDAYS: Randall K. Myers turns 52. ... The late Hall of Famer Duke Snider was born on this date in 1926. ... Jon Leroux, a Northeastern product who appeared in 28 games for Savannah this season, is 24.


YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets are deep in position-player prospects?