New York Mets News

Terry Collins: Four years, then a six-week audition

By Rich Sparago

Last week, multiple reports indicated that, barring a collapse over the last six weeks of the season, Terry Collins would return to manage the Mets in 2015. This was not received particularly well among the Mets faithful, many of whom believe that Collins’ body of work has been established over the last four seasons.

Aug 5, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) looks on against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

For reference, here are the Mets’ records under Collins:

2011- 77-85

2012- 74-88

2013- 74-88

2014- 60-68

The Mets are at an intersection right now. They’ve been through a painful dismantling process (with Collins at the helm), and now are seemingly poised to contend. The question is, do they have the right manager to lead them down the new road to competitive baseball, or do they need to look elsewhere?

The overwhelming majority of fans take the position that Collins was hired for a specific reason: to be the caretaker of a team going through a rebuilding process, and use his skills in player development to help nurture some young talent.

Now that these tasks are (hopefully) in the past, Collins can be dismissed. His skills were used, and now it’s time to find a manager with a winning pedigree to suit the new needs of the ball club.

There’s a smaller group of fans who feel that Collins has suffered through managing an inferior team, and deserves the right to lead a more talented roster. They also cite that Collins knows the younger players, and they seem to respect him, so Collins would be a logical choice to lead them into the next phase of organizational development.

I am, quite honestly, ambivalent about Collins. My biggest concern with Terry is that he’s never been associated with winning at the major league level (he’s previously managed the Angels and Astros).

However, there is a case to be made for continuity at the top, especially when the younger players seem to respect the manager. Tactically, many chide Collins for his in-game moves, particularly his use of the bullpen. However, I’m hard-pressed to find a manager who isn’t subject to that criticism. Joe Torre won four World Series, and was always knocked for his bullpen management (and he had Mariano Rivera).

The Mets Pythagorean record this year computes to 63-65. Therefore, an argument can be made that Collins is slightly less effective than he should be as a manager (a difference of three wins). My bottom line is that Terry Collins isn’t the best manager on the planet, but he isn’t the worst either. While I, like many, would love to see Wally Backman in the Queens dugout, we have to get over that. It’s not going to happen.

So we’re back to the question of what to do about Collins in 2015. My biggest concern is about the choice that might be made to replace him. Would the Mets be in worse shape with perhaps Tim Teufel or Bob Geren? Is that reason enough to keep Terry around, and give him that shot that some say he deserves?

As I said, I’m on the fence. How do you see it?