Earlier in the week, it was reported that manager Terry Collins will not be fired at the end of the season and could possibly receive a contract extension, depending on how the team performs throughout the remainder of the 2012 season. Now begs the question, does Collins deserve a contract extension? While fans may have different opinions when tackling that question, the impact Terry Collins has had on this organization must be taken into account.
After tonight’s 3-0 victory over the division rival Miami Marlins, Terry Collins’ record improved to 139-155. Although his record is nowhere near impressive, it would be completely unfair to judge his performance as manager solely from a win-loss perspective. One must remember the circumstances the franchise was in when the organization announced his hiring back on November of 2010. The New York Mets were coming off a very disappointing 2009 season and owner Fred Wilpon had been battling financial troubles.
Personally, when I first heard the news of Terry Collins being named the 20th manager in the organization’s history, I wasn’t by any means thrilled. With Collins being out of the league for an extended period, I questioned whether or not he was the right personality to inject a new attitude into this team. At the time, I was hoping for the Mets’ front office to hire Clint Hurdle or Bobby Valentine. However, I must admit during the 2011 Spring Training, I kept reading about how energetic Terry Collins was with his players. Throughout last season, I understood why Collins was chosen to take over managerial duties for the club. It was no secret Collins was a hands-on coach who believed in his players, while not accepting poor performances — as at times last season, he called out the team’s lack luster performances during post game interviews — it was clear this youthful team responded to his criticisms, as the team — for the most part — bounced back from poor outings.
Despite losing Jose Reyes during last off-season, Terry Collins did not give in to the belief of many that New York was bound to be one of the worst teams in the majors for the 2012 season. With his positive attitude — as well as the added presence of Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey and Ike Davis — New York saw itself in contention throughout the first half of the 2012 season. At the time New York was six games over .500 and only 4.5 games behind the division leading Washington Nationals. However, the second half of the season was a completely different story of the Mets, as Collins has watched his team go 15-30 after the All-Star break, ending any hopes of remaining in contention for a potential playoff spot. Furthermore, what is even more frustrating about the terrible skid was the poor performances against current last place teams, such as the Colorado Rockies, who swept a four-game series against New York at Citi Field.
To take it a step further, Collins had changed his tone when discussing the team’s recent struggles. In a obvious state of flux, Collins has tried to point out some positives out of the team’s recent poor performances — such as some players having good at-bats — when normally Collins would do the opposite, stating that his team’s overall performance has been poor and is unacceptable.
Although Collins isn’t responsible for the players he is given — as that is Sandy Anderson and Fred Wilpon’s job — he needs to continue to instill the mentality on players that losing is not acceptable. It is obvious with the team’s first half success, Collins had instilled confidence in his young players believing that they belong in the Major Leagues and that his team can compete in the National League East.
Now, moving forward into the upcoming off-season, Sandy Alderson has a lot of work to do to put together a competitive roster for the 2013 season, as the team currently has multiple weaknesses in a number of different positions. The bullpen, outfield, and catcher positions are among the team’s most dire needs. The bigger problem lies with Fred Wilpon. With reports stating the Mets’ payroll will most likely stay the same — or increase slightly — Alderson wouldn’t have much financial flexibility to make improvements to the multiple holes New York currently has. While a $90-100 million payroll is a significant payroll for an organization to have, most of that payroll is committed to a select few players, such as David Wright, Johan Santana, and Jason Bay. Those three players alone are scheduled to make a combined $57.5 million in the 2013 season. That leaves little to none wiggle room to financially acquire significant players to fill out an entire Major League roster, even if Alderson will be looking to make improvements via trades, instead of acquiring players via free-agency.
To turn the attention back on Collins, does he deserve to stay? In my opinion, absolutely. However, does he deserve to receive a contract extension? No, at least, not at the moment. I understand he can only try and make the best out of the roster he is given, but he must go back to his original roots and make it clear to his players that poor performances and losing is not acceptable, instead of trying to take some positives out of the negatives. Fans have heard that style of tone before from former manager Jerry Manuel. Obliviously that did not cut it here in New York.