NEW YORK -- Following yet another round of speculation that he might leave, Wally Backman will return to the Mets organization to manage Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014, the 51s announced on Tuesday.
Backman, 54, managed the 51s to a first-place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern Division finish in 2013, his second year at the Triple-A level. Since returning to the Mets organization in '10, Backman has managed Class A Brooklyn, Double-A Binghamton, Triple-A Buffalo and Las Vegas, twice making the playoffs.
After completing a 14-year playing career that included nine seasons and a 1986 World Series title with the Mets, Backman worked his way up the professional coaching ranks, accepting a job as the D-backs' manager in November 2004. But subsequent revelations about his legal and financial problems prompted Arizona to dismiss him within a week.
Backman returned to coaching three years later in independent ball, before the Mets offered him their Brooklyn job in 2010. He has made it clear that he would still like to manage at the big league level.
In recent years, annual rumors have connected Backman to the Nationals -- first as a potential member of former manager Davey Johnson's coaching staff, then as a replacement for Johnson himself. But a role for Backman outside the Mets organization never materialized in Washington or elsewhere.
Backman, a finalist for the Mets' managerial job that ultimately went to Terry Collins in 2010, would have been a leading candidate to join Collins' staff had the Mets made any coaching changes this winter. But they announced extensions for all six of their coaches immediately after the season, squelching that opportunity.
General manager Sandy Alderson said at the time that Backman had a standing invitation to return to the Mets as their Triple-A manager, if he wished to do so.