Rising Apple Weighs In: The Potential Terry Collins Extension


Over the last month or so, it’s been widely reported that Mets manager Terry Collins is expected to be asked back to manage the team for 2014.  Sandy Alderson addressed the situation a few weeks ago, and noted that it’s still highly likely that the team will wait until after the season to announce Collins’ fate (even if some feel the decision has already been made).

Aug 29, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets manager

Terry Collins

(10) looks at his lineup card in the dugout before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York has reported that the team is holding back in the unlikely event that Collins says something outlandish or loses the clubhouse as the season winds down.  Today, it was reported that Alderson had accompanied the team to Cincinnati, and that he’ll be meeting with Collins at some point this week to discuss his future.  Writes Andy Martino in the Daily News:

"The general manager was set to hop on the team flight to Cincinnati, take in the final three road games of the year, and perhaps finally begin to make official the return of Terry Collins in 2014.  There have been no contract talks — zero, zilch, not one conversation — between the manager, his representatives and the team, according to sources (although the club has made clear to him that it is generally happy with his work). With Alderson and Collins in close proximity this week, that could change, although no meeting is formally scheduled.  None of the coaches knows his future, either, so most have not booked flights out of New York after the end of the season, not knowing if they will be asked to remain in town for meetings, or head home jobless."

Martino went on to note that the Mets haven’t made a peep regarding what the length of Collins’ extension will be (assuming he gets one).

With it appearing close to certain that Collins will return to manage the Mets in 2014, here are our writers’ thoughts on the matter…

Danny Abriano, Editor:

There isn’t a debate to be had regarding the product the Mets have put on the field while Terry Collins has been at the helm.  It’s ranged from putrid to mediocre.  While Collins hasn’t lost the clubhouse (save for a brief moment last year when he suggested the team had quit), and has been a good solider and a solid motivator, I don’t see why he should be rewarded with a new contract.  I also don’t agree with the notion that he “deserves” a chance with a better roster.

I like Terry Collins the person.  He’s fiery, open, and honest.  I like the way he’s been able to motivate his players, and how he’s dealt with the media.  I’m happy with the fact that they haven’t given up down the stretch this season.  Still, I don’t believe it’s in the best interest of the club to move forward with Terry Collins as its manager.

Collins doesn’t deserve to lose his job because he’s been operating with a roster that’s poor.  At the same time, he doesn’t deserve to keep his job for that same reason alone.  What Collins should be evaluated on is his in-game management.  There are many people who like to downplay the importance of a manager who knows what he’s doing while the games are in progress.  I’m not one of those people.

Since taking over in 2011, Collins has proven to be a poor tactician.  He’s in love with the bunt (something many managers are guilty of), shies away from hitting and running, and his bullpen management has been poor.  Additionally, he’s routinely been out-managed by the man in the opposing dugout when it comes down to late game match-ups and strategy.

Collins’ lineup construction has been both curious and haphazard, and he’s shown that he doesn’t look at statistics nearly as much as he should.  That trait has been exposed when Collins plays certain guys against right handed pitchers simply because they’re left handed, or vice versa -with Collins often ignoring or simply not knowing that the player he’s running out there has reverse platoon splits.

With the Mets expected to turn the corner in 2014, I want someone in the dugout who’ll routinely out-manage his counterpart.  That person isn’t Terry Collins.

Mike Lecolant, Senior Staff Writer:

I’m an unabashed Wally Backman supporter, and would like him to be the next manager of the Mets. Terry Collins was never my first choice. I have come to like and appreciate him though, and if Terry were retained as manager, I wouldn’t be overly perturbed.

Tim Teufel is the guy I absolutely do not want as next manager. Sorry Tim. Otherwise, the only off campus candidate I like who might be available, is Mike Scioscia.

Sam Maxwell, Staff Writer:

Terry Collins isn’t as bad as I’ve been saying he is all year long.

He’s just…not that good.

There is a plethora of over-managing throughout baseball. Tony LaRussa was certainly guilty of it, but not everybody can be Tony LaRussa (and he certainly benefited from an organization like the Cardinals). Terry Collins seems to take over-managing to the full extreme sometimes, and it gets on my nerves beyond belief – as I know it has many other Mets fans.

He has been great managing his players, something he was self-admittedly awful at during his last managerial job with the Angels. But I don’t think that excuses how poor of a job he has done in-game, regardless of roster issues. There have been too many times that this roster was in position to win but didn’t because of his poor in-game moves.

Has he been unlucky with all the injuries during these rebuilding years? Sure. But with 2014 pegged and marketed as the year the Mets make their comeback, the entire organization could benefit from new leadership at the field-managing helm.

Will DeBoer, Staff Writer:

Despite managing for three years, I don’t think it’s fair at all to blame the Mets’ struggles on Terry Collins. It’s hard to win when you don’t have the talent to do so. I would have liked to see the team play a little more upbeat down the stretch, but with the plethora of injuries and trades that make the last two seasons seem like flesh wounds, it’s hard not to fault them. Out of fairness, I would give Terry one more year leading the team, but his contract should be guaranteed just for next year, possibly with an option for 2015 but certainly not guaranteed.

Dan Haefeli, Staff Writer:

One of the toughest things to do in baseball is objectively assess a manager’s performance. For the glut of stats we have for hitters and pitchers, we don’t have much for managers beyond wins and losses. But consider this – we have a pair of objective metrics to assess a team’s collective performance: Wins Above Replacement and Pythagorean W-L record. Baseball-Reference’s WAR metric assumes a “replacement level” of 52-110 – that is, a 25-man team of 0-WAR players should produce that record and accumulated WAR would additively increase that record (a 36-WAR team should, then, go 88-74). Pythagorean Record uses a basic formula centered around runs scored and allowed to determine what a team’s record ought to be.

Using these two metrics (assuming the WAR “record” as a team’s talent level and the Pythagorean “record” as its on-field performance) we can attempt to judge how a manager has performed – after all, he should deserve the bulk of the credit for his team over- (or under-) performing its talent level. While we don’t have a true “replacement” level, we can also see how a manager performs relative to his peers on a yearly basis.

From 2011-2012, Terry Collins has accumulated 9.8 manager “wins” above average (wPYTH – wWAR adjusted to the league average). That ranks second-best in Major League Baseball, trailing only Arizona’s Kirk Gibson. It’s not the result of a one-year anomaly, either. Collins has earned 5.2 wins in 2011 and 4.6 in 2012, and will likely be near the top again this year, finishing somewhere between +5 and +6 this season.

Does this mean Terry Collins is one of the league’s best managers? No. What it does mean, though, is that perhaps our eyes are deceiving us. The problem with questioning decisions – especially with bullpens and lineups – is that we’re conditioned to remember instances that reinforce our beliefs (a term known as “confirmation bias”). We remember when a reliever blows a lead, or when Justin Turner is batting fifth, but not so much when these decisions work out (see Turner’s .794 OPS when batting fifth).

The Mets roster over the last three seasons has been deeply flawed – something not necessarily the fault of Collins or GM Sandy Alderson – but the results ostensibly could’ve been much worse under different leadership. Because of that, it seems clear that Terry Collins has earned a chance to show what he can do when not bringing a butter knife to a gun fight.

Rich Sparago, Staff Writer:

Terry Collins has not shown himself to be an outstanding manager in his three years at the Mets’ helm.  However, Collins also has been given a sub-par product to manage. This leaves the question of how he will do when given a bonafide major league team. The answer is that we simply do not know.

There is an argument to be made that this extension, if it happens, is coming too soon. Why not see if any other managers are released after the season? Then there’s the argument that Collins deserves the opportunity to manage a better team, since he’s endured and been a good soldier since 2011. Personally, I’m fine with the extension. The team seems to play hard for Collins, and I worry about the other options.

I’d rather have Terry, who can be effectively emotional and demanding, than an unknown quantity. Are the Mets missing out on possibly a better option? That may be the case. But there are many options worse than Terry Collins. Give him the extension, and a better team, and hold him accountable for the results.

Shannon Finkel, Staff Writer:

All season long, there has been a debate as to whether or not Terry Collins is deserving of a contract extension. I can see why fans do not think he should be brought back, as none of the teams he has managed have ever finished the season with a winning record.

That being said, the Mets are not simply a product of how they play under their manager. Sandy Alderson is the only who compiled these groups of players over the years, and through key injures and AAAA players starting, Terry has done a terrific job managing.

Despite some of his questionable in-game managerial decisions, Terry has fire, he has fight, and he will always stand up for his players. He knows how to handle an under-performing team and has done his best to keep the team motivated despite meaningless September games. Not once have I ever read a story that portrayed him in a negative light. For all of these reasons, Terry should be back next year as the manager of the 2014 Mets.

If he does return, I hope it is for no longer than two years, as the Mets begin to come out of their rebuilding and development phase. It will certainly be interesting to see how he handles a potentially potent roster for once.

Andrew Battifarano, Staff Writer:

As the Mets transitioned from the Omar Minaya/Jerry Manuel era to the Sandy Alderson regime, the team needed a new manager. Terry Collins seemed to be the perfect fit, as he was the Minor League Coordinator for the organization in 2010.

His knowledge of the young players in the farm system was seen as beneficial to being the team’s next manager. While he hasn’t had the best talent in the world, he also hasn’t exactly done the best job at the helm.

Collins seems to have the respect of his players, which is obviously a good quality. He seems to be a guy who knows how to get along with everyone and who can get the attention of the young guys.

Although Collins may be someone who’s adept as a coordinator, his managerial skills are just sub-par. He so many times just makes too many moves whether it be a bullpen move or a double switch. His moves can sometimes just be infuriating, and may have directly cost the Mets some games.

While he’s been adequate at the helm for the past few years, it would be wise to move on and look in another direction. While the manager does not have as much say as they used to, Collins’ style just is not something the Mets should want as they look to be competitive again.

Jason Mast, Staff Writer:

The news that Sandy Alderson is even meeting with Terry Collins likely puts an end to any speculation that the Mets will look for a new manager at seasons end. Despite all the struggles this team has faced, the front office has evidently placed that blame on themselves and a poorly equipped roster.

To some extent, this is true; Tonight’s lineup featured two players with negative career WARs, two career minor leaguers who have never come close to being considered a true prospect, a left fielder who was DFA’d by the last place Rockies, and a 36 year old pitcher who was recently released by the fourth place Mariners.

Yet, if this whole season was about development and an eye towards the future, one has to question Terry’s handling of the starting pitchers. Mets brass kept reiterating that Harvey and his pitch count would be handled carefully, yet fans watched numerous times as Collins let Harvey start innings with 95+ pitches and get blasted. Certainly he can’t be blamed for the youngster’s injury, but with so much of the Mets’ future predicated on the success of a group of young starters, Collins is going to have to be more careful. This franchise can’t afford a Dusty Baker like manager, and a Mark Prior, Kerry Would esque failure.

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