Terry Collins has been at the helm of the New York Mets for the past three seasons, boasting a 215-251 record (as of last night’s loss to the Nationals) during that time. Now the question is: will he be back in 2014?
Well, this is a two-part question. Because there is a strong difference between will he be back and does he deserve to be back. All signs point to Terry Collins being back in 2014, although Sandy Alderson won’t comment on talks of a contract extension. But, Terry Collins isn’t the guy to take the Mets back to the postseason.
For a team that has praised 2014 as the year they return to spending money and return to contending, it would seem that would need a manager to help them get there. The injury to Matt Harvey may derail what is known as “The Plan”, but that shouldn’t stop Alderson from making a much-needed change at the manager position.
Collins is a great fit to teach rookies and the younger guys on the way to play, it’s his forte. And he has done a good job coaching Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey. He seems quite the man to be a player development director or some prospect position, as he has handled the Mets youth quite well.
He also does a good job dealing with the circus that is the New York media. Besides a comment about him not having to answer to fans (which was overblown, by the way), he has handled the media the way any GM wants.
But that’s where Collins good fortunes come to an end. The in-game decision-making by Collins is questionable at best and he seems to leave his players out to dry out on the field.
The way Collins has handled the bullpen and pitching staff, this season in particular, is really where fans have gotten on his case. It appears that Collins leaves his starter in too long or takes him out earlier than he should. Multiple times during the season, Collins has done this to Dillon Gee, where he seems to not have a gauge on Gee and how much he has in the tank.
Then when he turns to the bullpen, it doesn’t get better. Collins is very lefty happy, evident by the number of appearances Scott Rice has made this year (73). Rice is now undergoing surgery for a sports hernia and will miss the rest of season. He also tends to play the matchup more often than not, and the results are quite mixed. Now in fairness to Collins, he isn’t using a word-class bullpen. The pen contains: David Aardsma, Scott Atchison,Vic Black, Gregg Burke, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano, LaTroy Hawkins, Carlos Torres. Let’s just say Collins doesn’t have the greatest choices, but he still isn’t making the most of what he has.
Another area of concern for Terry Collins is his lineup construction. It baffles fans as to how Collins creates his batting order for day’s game. Last night is a perfect example of this. Andrew Brown, a career minor league, was hitting third while Travis d’Arnaud (touted as one of the Mets best hitting prospects) was hitting 8th. Adding to that, Justin Turner and Lucas Duda were both hitting in front of d’Arnaud.
d’Arnuad has been stuck at the bottom of the lineup for weeks, being placed behind Turner, Josh Satin and Omar Quintanilla. For a team out of contention, wanting to get a look at prospects, it is the perfect time to see how d’Arnuad handles the pressure of being hit 3rd or 4th on a daily basis.
The last huge gripe that makes fans annoyed with Collins (or at least gets me annoyed with Collins) is that fact that he rarely stands up for his players. A perfect example would be an at-bat Juan Lagares had against the Dodgers in LA. The game was 3-2 at the time, and two questionable calls were made against Lagares, causing him to strike out on a pitch that wasn’t even close.
Where was Collins during the matter? In the dugout, chewing on his pen. While no one is advocating for Collins to get tossed every game, it would be nice to see some emotion out of the skipper. Any time he does come out to file a complaint with the umpires, rarely is there emotion behind. He just files his grievances and goes back to the dugout. Getting tossed a couple of times shows the team that he cares and will spark them to care as well. A little fire and emotion out of the skipper can go a long way.
Terry Collins has done well with the hand he’s been dealt, but it isn’t enough to warrant a return in the 2014 season. As much as he makes Mets fans pull his hair out, all indications point to Collins being back under the helm when camp breaks in Port St. Lucie next spring. With that, it’s time to focus on getting Collins a quality roster to work with. Maybe then, he will prove the fans wrong.