Duquette originally set up Tosca visit

10/9/2004 - New York Mets

NEW YORK -- The Mets, who have targeted Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo as one of their top managerial candidates, received permission Friday to interview him, most likely next week at Shea Stadium. The Mets interviewed former Toronto Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca on Friday, the first candidate brought in to discuss their managerial opening following the firing of Art Howe.

Tosca met with new Mets general manager Omar Minaya and his top assistants, Jim Duquette, Gary LaRoque and John Ricco. The interview had been scheduled by Duquette when he was general manager and before Minaya was brought in Sept. 30 to take over.

"Omar and I have a history together," Tosca said. "I've known him since 1985. It wasn't a curveball at all."

Tosca said the Mets' mix of youth and veterans appealed to him. He was comfortable with the team's decision to keep pitching coach Rick Peterson, and he sidestepped a question about whether a manager should have input on personnel.

"In any successful situation, you use all your resources," he said.

While the Mets were 45-43 and one game out of first a day after the All-Star break, key players got hurt and the team finished fourth in the NL East at 71-91, its third straight 90-loss season.

Howe was dismissed Sept. 15 but completed the season. He was midway through a $9.4 million, four-year contract.

Minaya has not yet scheduled any other interviews, and several former major-league managers have been mentioned as possible candidates, including former Mets manager Bobby Valentine and Jim Fregosi.

Tosca was fired by the Blue Jays on Aug. 8 after a loss at Yankee Stadium dropped Toronto to 47-64. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who hired Tosca on June 3, 2002, said "the team showed signs of not playing hard" and replaced him with John Gibbons.

Toronto tumbled to last in the AL East at 67-94, the most losses for the Blue Jays since they went 67-95 in 1980.

"We had some things spin out of control there in Toronto," Tosca said. "Unfortunately, we had a lot of injuries to a lot of key players."

He spent 17 seasons as a minor-league manager before Toronto hired him. Asked what he had learned, he cited an expression of his father: "Experience is the accumulation of your mistakes, and I certainly have a lot of experience."