’s Jon Heyman reports the Mets are finally going to remove the interim tag from manager Jerry Manuel.  Hey, if the Amazins’ inability to get the job done against the likes of Florida, Washington and Atlanta this month was worthy of contract extension, can you imagine what actually making the playoffs would’ve earned the skipper?  Maybe an extension, plus a pair of old Shea seats?

Manuel is expected to be approached to hammer out a new contract in the next day or two. The Mets again failed to make the playoffs after losing 4-2 to the Marlins on the final day of the season. But Manuel’s bosses believe he did an excellent job under trying circumstances, including late-season injuries to closer Billy Wagner and starter John Maine and an overall bullpen breakdown. The Mets were 55-38 under Manuel after starting 34-35 under Willie Randolph.

“I told Jerry we’re going to have a decision sooner rather than later,” general manager Omar Minaya said. ‘He’s done a very good job, and we’re going to sit down and talk about it.”

The Mets lost 12 of their final 17 games last year to blow a seven-game lead with Randolph as manager. This year they were 7-10 over their final 17 games.

Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said, “I feel totally different than last year. I think last year we underachieved. This year we overachieved.”

I don’t have a problem with Manuel being lauded, far from it.  But it does feel as though the organization is trying to pre-empt criticism by putting a happy face on what many fans consider to be Choke : The Sequel. Everyone expects Jerry Manuel to be back next spring. Of greater concern might be whether or not anyone is accountable for Scott Schoeneweis being handed the baseball 72 times.