Terry Collins is a nice man. By most accounts, he’s well liked by his players and respected by the organization. He’s already under contract for 2013. Taking into account both the putrid second half results of the team he’s leading, and the nature in which they’ve lost these games, extending Collins’ contract beyond the 2013 season simply makes no sense. That conclusion can be drawn before digging deeper. Let’s dig deeper.
As I and many others have pointed out before, Terry Collins’ lone positive attribute is his ability to lead. Over the course of the second half of this season (and to a lesser extent last season), it appears that he has been unable to successfuly motivate his players. Considering the makeup of the roster, it’s unfair to completely blame Terry Collins for the overall performance of the team. However, it’s entirely fair to not absolve him from all blame.
When players fail to run out groundballs, repeatedly make mistakes on the bases, give up at bats, forget how many outs there are, and display laziness, that’s a reflection on the Manager. The season is 162 games long. It’s understandable for players to have lapses from time to time. What isn’t acceptable, is what the Mets have displayed during the stretch they’re currently going through. Collins has done nothing to put a clamp on the disgraceful brand of baseball the Mets are playing. He hasn’t benched anyone for not hustling, repeatedly missing the cutoff man, failing to block the plate, trying to steal third base with two outs, or for any other inexcusable transgression. You know what? He should have.
If Collins is unable to adequately motivate his players or hold them accountable when their play is unacceptable, he’s unfit to Manage. He’s unfit, because he doesn’t do anything else exceptionally well, or even above average. He’s a sub-par in game Manager, a poor tactician, and a man who doesn’t make the other dugout anxious wondering what he has up his sleeve. Simply handing Collins an extension for 2014 so he won’t be a “lame duck” Manager heading into next season would be foolish. His performance hasn’t warranted it, and the Mets are clearly in no position to hand out any amount of money just for the sake of making their Manager feel comfortable.
This isn’t a call for Terry Collins to be fired, since he doesn’t deserve to be. The roster that has been built for him is sub-par. The uncertainty that hovered over the ballclub like a cloud during 2011 and has only now started to dissipate has certainly been an impairment. Rather, this is a call for Terry Collins to prove himself. To go through one full season overseeing a team that doesn’t curl up into the fetal position once the summer starts. Extending Collins through 2014 would mean rewarding him without that reward being justified. It would send yet another bad message to a fanbase that is clearly tired of the status quo.
Most are pegging 2014 as the year when the Mets should be able to legitimately contend. With $40 million coming off the books after 2013, they should be able to add significant dollars in order to bolster the roster going into 2014 and surround what should be an above average pitching staff with an offense that can actually support it. If Terry Collins warrants it, he should be here. If he doesn’t, he should be replaced. Deciding his fate now would be both foolhardy and a lazy move by the front office. Make him earn it. It’s as simple as that.