Randolph named Mets manager

Willie Randolph will officially become the new manager of the New York Mets in a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday, the team announced.

Willie Randolph will officially become the new manager of the New York Mets in a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday, the team announced.

Randolph, 50, had been a coach with the Yankees for the past 11 seasons, serving as Joe Torre's bench coach in 2004. He is remembered mostly as a Yankee, having spent 13 more seasons in the organization – including three World Series – as an excellent infielder.

However, Randolph has roots with the Mets as well: he grew up as a Mets fan in the Brownville section of Brooklyn and ended his career with the team in 1992.

Financial terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, but it is believed to be a three-year contract worth approximately $2 million. That will double up on the Mets' ongoing payments to fired manager Art Howe, who lasted for only half of his four-year commitment and is due $4.7 million through 2006.

When Randolph officially accepts control of the team on Thursday, it will represent his first managerial experience in professional baseball. He will also become the first African-American manager in New York baseball history.

GM Omar Minaya met with Randolph and two other finalists, Rudy Jaramillo and Terry Collins, on Wednesday before making his final recommendation to team ownership. The choice would be Randolph, who had unsuccessfully interviewed for 11 or 12 managerial openings by his own account – including the Mets job in 2002 – before finally landing a job this week.

After Thursday's press conference, Randolph's first order of business will be to assemble his first coaching staff, sans a pitching coach – Rick Peterson was the only coach invited back after the Mets' 71-91, fourth-place finish in 2004.

While Howard Johnson and Tim Teufel have been mentioned as internal candidates for promotion – Johnson's friendship with emerging star David Wright from when the two were at Double-A Binghamton together is considered almost like a father-son link – Randolph may opt to go outside the system for his staff.

If so, Don Zimmer could be a possibility. The former Yankees bench coach left the organization last year after an ongoing spat with George Steinbrenner and latched on as a non-uniform advisor with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.


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