Today, at a 12 PM press conference, Mets GM Sandy Alderson formally announced a two year extension for manager Terry Collins.
“Terry has done an outstanding job for us,” Alderson told reporters. “We’re not happy with the win/loss record we had this year….on the other hand, we had a winning record on the road. And, if you look at the last 100 games of the season we played .500 baseball.”
Collins, 64, was signed to a two year contract before the 2011 season and led the team to a 77-85 record that year, prompting the team to exercise his option for the 2013 season. The Mets then went on to go 74-88 in consecutive season, bringing his Mets managerial record to 225-261 (.463 winning percentage).
Collins had previously gone 224-197 with the Astros and 220-237 with the Angels, although he left both positions in poor standing, losing the clubhouse and the respect of his players each time.
Although the record is rather unimpressive, the front office is evidently placing the blame on themselves. The roster that Collins has had to work with has not exactly been teeming with stars, and expectations for the Mets have been universally poor during his tenure. In fact, the 74 wins this season, 20th best in baseball, can be viewed as an accomplishment considering many, from ESPN to Sports Illustrated, predicted the Mets to be the third worst team in the league.
Collins himself ceded that the team’s record hasn’t been ideal, but seemed optimistic about the future. “We’re very excited about 2014. We’ve got some outstanding young pitching coming – we think that’s gonna lead us,” Collins said. “It’s time to put some wins on the board.”
The contract is reportedly worth $1 million dollars annually, and includes a club option for 2016.
I suppose this is probably for the best. With tens of millions of dollars coming off the books, and Alderson attempting to re-haul the lineup, rebuild the rotation, and bring in a veteran starter, trying to find another manager could just detract from the overall plan.
Collins’ game management may be suspect, but he certainly leads the clubhouse. He has commanded the respect of the veterans since the moment he walked through the door. That trait will be particularly important this offseason as the Mets look to bring in a series of talented veterans. Having a manager who can coral them all and not let Flushing fall into the Queens version of the 1977 Yankees’ Bronx Zoo will be a valuable asset going forward.
More important, though, is the fact that Collins has led the youngsters. He has had to deal with a massive influx of youth from the minor leagues, from Juan Lagares, to Josh Satin, to Matt den Dekker, and even Zack Wheeler. He’s been able to get the most out of them and channel their ability into wins over the last couple of months. There is a lot more talent bubbling under in the minors, and Collins has shown he can successfully blend youth and veterans.
My only concern is Collins’ handling of young pitching. At times this season it seemed that Alderson and management were discussing limiting Matt Harvey‘s innings. While that was being discussed, though, Collins was letting the Mets’ 24 year old ace start innings with 99+ pitches. Collins obviously can’t take the blame for Harvey’s injury, but young pitching is the lifeblood of all future Mets teams, and each pitcher has to be handled with absolute care. We can’t have a repeat of Generation K or the the mid-2000’s Cubs.