With the start of Spring Training only a few weeks away, plenty of questions remain unanswered when discussing the current state of the New York Mets’ roster. The bullpen and outfield are still two very big concerns and how the organization will go about replacing the 230-plus quality innings Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey generated last season remains to be seen.With fans maintaining their focus on all of these questions, another glaring question may soon take center stage during the upcoming season: Is manager Terry Collins the ideal man to lead the Mets towards their long-term plan?
July 14, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) argues with the umpires after being thrown out of the game in the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Shortly after the Mets’ front office decided to hire Collins, it was well noted that Collins was a manager who knew the Mets’ farm system well and seem to have an energetic personality. At that time, Collins’ fiery attitude was a trait the organization lacked. Coming into the 2012 season, many predicted the Mets to finish the season in last place within the National League East. After all, New York was entering its first season without fan-favorite, Jose Reyes, who signed a lucrative deal with the Miami Marlins in the offseason. However, the Mets managed to be one of the biggest surprises throughout the league for the first half of the season, as Collins’ team only trailed the division-leading Washington Nationals by 4.5 games at the All-Star break. Though still early in the season, Collins was viewed — at the time — as an early manager of the year candidate.
Then came the rest of the season, which unfortunately was a stretch any Mets fan would want to forget, as the club went on to compile a record of 28-48 in its last 76 games of the season. Furthermore, as if things weren’t at a new low-point, it was beyond frustrating to hear Collins change his tune with trying to take some positives out of his team’s lack luster performances. Throughout Collins’ tenure as manager, he has been known as a manager who doesn’t accept failure and poor effort. Yet, it seemed as if Collins was trying to sugar coat things.
On September 20th, following a dreadful 16-1 defeat against the Phillies at Citi field, Collins’ post-game comments irked the fan base — and even his own players — when he questioned whether or not his players had quit on him. The question was simply just that, whether or not he believed his players had quit on the 63-year-old manager. “Ask the players, if you want to know if they’ve quit,” responded Collins. He later claimed he made that statement with hopes of encouraging his team, but that statement clearly backfired on him. Collins later acknowledged the situation by apologizing for his remarks and later met with each player individually to explain his comments.
It is unfair to point the finger at Collins for the Mets poor second half struggles, but I will say this, it’s imperative for any manager to have control of his team. Whether his comments were a strategic tactic that just backfired or not, the influence a manager has on his players is critical to getting maximum production out of any roster. When it comes to the Mets’ roster, it can be said — to Collins’ defense — that in his tenure as Mets’ manger he has been given sub-pair talent, in large part to financial constraints, making it tougher for Collins to succeed. After all, it was general manager Sandy Alderson who stated he needed “an infusion of productive players,” during an interview on the Mike Francesca show in August. Yet, aside from getting a nice package of prospects in return for Dickey, Alderson and company (the Wilpons’) have done minimal work to improve the Major League roster. Alderson is entering his third season as GM and is at the point in his tenure where he should be held accountable for the decisions he makes. Yes, front office made a big commitment to David Wright, by signing the “face of the franchise” to the largest contract in franchise history, but clearly more work needs to be done to make this team competitive in the immediate future.
I don’t question whether or not the Mets are trying to build a foundation of talented, young players — with Wheeler, d’Arnaud, Syndergaard — to have a strong impact on the organization’s long-term success, but Alderson claims to not view the upcoming season as a wash. Judging from the front office’s lack of involvement to improve the roster, it’s hard as a fan to believe Alderson. As it stands, it can be argued this current roster is weaker than last year, with Dickey no longer atop the Mets’ rotation and no significant Major League ready talent available to offset the void created by Dickey’s departure.
Keep in mind that it was revealed by Wright at his press conference in December that Alderson met with him in Virginia, where they both discussed the front office’s plan moving forward. Whatever was said, Wright believed it enough to commit to the Mets. “After I heard the conviction, the plan moving forward, I was all in,” stated Wright. “From then on, I informed my guys that we need to get this done.” We, the fans can only speculate on what exactly are those plans, but it must have been a great sales pitch. Obliviously Wright believes in Alderson’s plan. With Collins entering the final year of his contract, one must wonder whether or not Collins is part of that “golden” plan. It’s obvious that Collins hasn’t done a perfect job by any means, but given what he has to work with, is it truly fair to judge his impact on this franchise? We will soon find out what Collins’ future holds, as the 2013 season is quickly approaching.
What do you believe? Will Collins continue to lead the Mets beyond the upcoming season? How will you judge whether or not he deserves an opportunity moving forward? Feel feel to leave a comment down below.