Update: According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, his sources say that the Backman rumors are untrue.
The Washington Nationals are reportedly interested in adding New York Mets Double-A manager Wally Backman as a coach at the major league level, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
“The fiery Backman, 52, is considering the possibility of joining Davey Johnson’s coaching staff with the Nationals — likely as the third-base coach. The Nationals have not yet officially announced Johnson will return next season, but that is considered a formality.
The source said 68-year-old Johnson may look to groom Backman for the managerial job, much in the same manner Bobby Cox took Fredi Gonzalez under his wing with the Braves before retiring. Johnson was Backman’s manager with the Mets in the 1980s, a run that culminated with a World Series title in 1986.”
Backman had initially been a candidate for the Mets major league managerial job last winter before the team decided to hire current skipper Terry Collins. The former MLB middle infielder is well known for his fiery personality, one which helped spark one of the more exciting team’s in baseball history, Johnson’s own 1986 Mets.
Backman began managing in 2002 with the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A affiliate for the Chicago White Sox. He led them to a 79-61 record that year. In 2004, Backman was named the Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year after leading a High Single-A Arizona Diamondbacks squad to a 86-54 record.
Most recently, Backman led the Mets’ Double-A affiliate to a 65-76 record.
After being named Minor League Manager of the Year, Backman was hired as the major league manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was removed from the position before ever coaching one game, however, when it was revealed that the former Met had serious financial problems as well as DUI arrest in 1999. He held the managerial position for five days.