Could Valentine return?

The New York Mets started looking for a manager even before they announced Omar Minaya as general manager and president of baseball operations Thursday, lining up Carlos Tosca for an interview, according to the New York Daily News.

Tosca, originally scheduled to meet Mets brass this week, will meet next week with Minaya and other front-office officials. The former Blue Jays manager will be the first to interview for the job of replacing Art Howe, who's been fired effective at the final out of the season.

It's probable that Tosca won't be the last to interview, however, and the New York media are helping the Mets in their search. They've tossed the names of Jim Fregosi, Frank Robinson, Bucky Dent, Cito Gaston, Jim Riggleman, Grady Little and Buddy Bell out there in recent days.

On Friday morning, the New York Post presented ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine, now managing in Japan, as very possibly the next Mets manager.

The New York Times, meantime, had a column Friday extolling longtime Yankees player and coach Willie Randolph as Minaya's best possible selection.

And, it is Minaya's choice, according to his new bosses.

Minaya has full autonomy in the running the baseball operation, including the managerial search, according to owner Fred Wilpon.

At the introduction of Minaya to the media Thursday, Wilpon said that if Minaya wants to bring Valentine back, "It's his choice."

Minaya praised Valentine during the press conference and both Wilpon and his son Jeff said they would not object to a Valentine sequel, according to the Post.

"I think the world of Bobby," Minaya said. "I have a good relationship with Bobby. Bobby and I were together in Texas. He's managing in Japan, but if he were available, I would consider him the way I would consider other guys."

Valentine is managing the Chiba Lotte Marines, but has an out clause to return for an MLB managerial post, according to the Post. The paper reported that his agent, Tony Attanasio, says that multiple teams have contacted him about Valentine within the past 30 days.

The Post reports that you can rule out Tom Kelly. Currently an assistant to the Twins GM, Kelly told the paper he's not interested.