After it seemed all-but certain that Terry Collins would return for a fifth season at the helm of the Mets, recent reports say the team’s braintrust is debating whether to make a change for 2015. Does Collins deserve one more year?
If you go strictly by the record, the answer would be no. The Mets have won 77, 74 and 74 games in Collins’s first three years. They are on pace for a similar win total this season. But as it often has been said, Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre or Connie Mack could not win with the motley crew that Sandy Alderson has assembled over these past few lean years. So Collins really does not deserve the blame for the Mets overall performance. In fact, he deserves credit for winning as many games as he has with this bunch and keeping morale relatively high in the clubhouse.
However, Terry Collins has proven that he is not exactly a master tactician. Even the most casual fan has been left shaking his head over some of Collins’s moves. Matthew Cerrone at Mets Blog said it best when he wrote that if the Mets are going to be a low-budget, scrappy team going forward, they will need a manager who will be able to steal some games for them with shrewd moves. Unfortunately, Collins is not that manager.
The Mets might even be laying the groundwork for the ouster of Terry Collins with some public grumbling about him. As we have seen time and time again, the Mets like to badmouth their personnel before sending them out the door. This time, it is the handling of the Mets prized young pitching.
“We’ve got a lot of young pitchers, we’ve tried to be as competitive as we possibly can, so sometimes the tendency is to go with a couple of additional pitches on the part of a starter or another day out of the pen for a reliever,” Sandy Alderson said on Monday. Of course, he couched that by saying “but all in all, I think he (Collins) and Dan (Warthen) have done very good job monitoring the workload.”
It seems the Mets are concerned that Zack Wheeler is fourth in baseball for the most pitches per start, averaging 103. Jacob de Grom averages 102. This is insane. If a pitcher cannot throw 100-105 pitches per start, he has no business being in a rotation. And it’s not like we’re talking about 120+. It just seems like Alderson is preparing to throw Terry Collins under the bus.
One drawback to firing Collins is that he is under contract for 2015. You can bet the Wilpons would be loath to pay two managers. Although I’m sure Alderson can find a new one for near minimum wage; after all, all he needs is a yes man who will carry out his orders, not anyone who is savvy in the dugout.
Speaking of dugout savvy, I can imagine Terry Collins mimicking the line from Bobby Valentine after the Mets fired him: “I get fired and he (GM Steve Phillips) gets to keep his job?!” It would be fitting because the blame for the state of the Mets belongs to Sandy Alderson, not Terry Collins.