Plenty of chatter coming out of the Winter Meetings in Florida that new Mets manager Terry Collins is getting close to finalizing his staff -- which will include the promotion of Bisons skipper Ken Oberkfell to major-league bench coach.
This move has been rumored since Collins was hired but Mets beat writers are pointing out the team has said there are no outside candidates being interviewed for the job. Thus, all signs point to Oberkfell.
Oberkfell, the longtime Cardinals and Braves third baseman, has been a good solider in the Mets organization for 10 years and has been the Triple-A manager for the last six in Norfolk, New Orleans and Buffalo.
He endured the Bisons' 56-87 nightmare in 2009 and helped lead the team to a 76-68 mark last season, three games shy of the International League wild-card slot and his seventh winning record in the last nine years. He's very popular among the players and certainly will help Collins with some of the younger members of the organization he's had through the ranks. Oberkfell is currently in the Dominican Republic managing Escogido, a team owned by former Bison and longtime big-league player Moises Alou.
None of this is official yet and the Mets will move to work out the minor-league staffs when Collins' work is complete. The thinking here is former New York infielder Tim Teufel would be the favorite to come to Buffalo after managing last year at Double-A Binghamton with the other former '86 Met second baseman, Wally Backman, in line to go from Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League to Bingo.
How about Backman to Buffalo, especially if the Mets are grooming him to someday take over? Not yet. That would be an affront to Teufel. Stay tuned.