A Breakdown of Terry Collins’ Open Letter to Mets Fans


If you haven’t read Mets manager Terry Collins’ open letter to Mets fans on MLB.com yet, then you haven’t missed much. Realistically, is the Mets manager going to write anything but glowing reviews of his players and the franchise on a well-read outlet prior to the season? Collins’ letter, if anything, just proves one of two things: that he somehow thinks Mets fan will blindly accept his “we’ve got a really good team here” rhetoric, or more scarily, that he really doesn’t comprehend the astounding amount of “ifs” playing for him.

"“With our 2011 opener tonight in Florida, I want to make this pledge to Mets fans — our team will play the game the right way. We will always hustle on the bases, run balls down in the outfield and never take anything for granted, no matter the score of the game.”"

Is Collins insinuating that the Mets haven’t played the game the right way before taking over the dugout duties?

"“We had a great Spring Training. From Day 1 my message has been look ahead, not backward, and not to worry about what the people outside the clubhouse are saying. If we pitch and play defense like I know we can, we will surprise a lot of people, a lot of people.”"

I think the only people that would be surprised are the plethora of fans who decided to give-up their long-time season tickets.

"“I stack our lineup against anyone else’s in the league. Getting Carlos Beltran back and hitting cleanup is really big. The way Carlos handled his move to right field was one of the classiest things I have ever seen. Angel Pagan is coming off a great season. While we had a little setback this week with Jason Bay — who was swinging the bat well — going on the disabled list, he shouldn’t be out too long. We believe with the three of them on the field, we have one of the top outfields in baseball.”"

This is the first specifically delusional statement by Collins. I agree that having Beltran in the lineup is better than, say, not having him in the lineup–but it certainly doesn’t, all of a sudden, make the lineup rank among our rivals. Has Collins not reviewed the Phillies, Braves, Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers lineups? The Mets hitting is far from the worst in the league, but it’s also far from the best.

"“Our infield is anchored by the two All-Stars on the left side: David Wright at third and Jose Reyes at short. I think David will add on to his numbers from last year and Jose is ready to have a tremendous season. He is one of the most dynamic players in the game. Ike Davis will continue to develop at first base and Josh Thole is one of the fine young catchers in the game. Brad Emaus, a Rule 5 pick, got better and better as the spring went on and won the second base job.”"

I agree, and hope he’s right about David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Josh Thole.

"“On the mound, sure, we are going to miss Johan Santana until he comes back, hopefully in mid-year. But this spring, I think we established a solid rotation with Mike Pelfrey, followed by R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese. Chris Young and Chris Capuano proved that they are healthy, and they really strengthen us on the back end.”"

The Mets rotation is solid, but Collins is hesitant to use the word “if.” How can he honestly say Young and Capuano, who pitched a combined 86 innings last season due to injuries, have already proved their health before the season has started? Merely stating, “If Chris Young and Chris Capuano prove that they are healthy […]” would have given the statement a heck of a lot more credibility.

"“We remade our bullpen and we think we have quality arms who throw strikes to get to closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod has just had a fantastic spring and I never have seen him throwing better. People like Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz, Blaine Boyer, Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato — another Rule 5 selection who is from Queens — will give us a solid ‘pen.”"

There is no doubt Francisco Rodriguez has been a great pitcher (when he’s not punching family members), but the rest of the bullpen is a coin toss. Parnell looked excellent for the Mets in 2010, but I’m skeptical he can maintain his uncharacteristic, and career best 2.1 BB/9 ratio heading into 2011. Buchholz had a very promising Spring Training, but he also sat-out all of 2009, and only pitched 12 innings in 2010 due to injuries. Boyer made the team by the skin of his teeth, and his tenure in the majors suggests he’ll become the new bullpen scapegoat before, inevitably, getting kicked-to-the-curb.  Beato has yet to pitch above Double-A, and even though it was the right move to keep him (Rule 5 status), it’s predictable there will be a giant learning curve. Carrasco and Byrdak are a little more stable than the above, that is, assuming Collins uses them properly. The overall point here is that the bullpen is not “solid,” it’s a giant “if.” Take a look at the Padres bullpen–now that’s a “solid” ‘pen.

"“I believe we have fortified our bench with the additions of Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Ronny Paulino (who will begin the year on the disabled list) and Chin-lung Hu, along with Daniel Murphy.”"

I agree here, assuming we get Ronny Paulino back soon as Mike Nickeas is not a legitimate Major League backup catcher.

"“It’s been 12 years since I have started a season as a Major League manager. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be leading the New York Mets and am very excited about the season ahead.”"

I hope for your sake you’ll finish the season as the manager too.

"“Thanks for your support and see you at Citi Field.”"

You will always have my support–and if not for the players, coaches, or management, then for the delicious tacos in Citi Field.