Is Terry Collins Right For The Mets’ Future?

Just before Thanksgiving 2010, the Mets hired Terry Collins to shepherd the Mets into their new era. The talk at the time was based in GM Sandy Alderson’s history – apocryphal though it might be – of disdain for the position. There isn’t a copy of Moneyball handy, but the quote was something about the man in the dugout being nothing more than a “middle-manager,” a replaceable part entrusted with the day-to-day operations of a ballclub. That’s why most Mets fans were unsurprised when Alderson bypassed available “name” options like Bobby Valentine or Wally Backman. It was clear that what was needed was, indeed, a “caretaker,” someone who would fumigate the Citi Field clubhouse, clearing the fumes from the attitudes of the late-Minaya era. At the time, I called Collins’s hiring a “tenting operation,” similar to the practice exterminators use to rid a location of pesky vermin.

Three years later, it would appear Collins has fulfilled his mandate. It would appear that the sense of entitlement – that particular brand of hubris that has existed in Queens clubhouses since the 2006 playoffs – has dissipated. With the lowering of the team’s median age comes a commensurate lowering of expectations and assumptions. The room is mostly kids, not aging superstars. Like newborn colts, they are still getting their legs underneath them, testing their abilities and limits. This, it would seem, also plays into Terry Collins’s strength. These guys are still young enough that their attitudes are malleable. Their respective characters can still be molded to reflect the image ownership and the Alderson front office desire: a youthful group who enjoys each other and “plays the game the right way.” As for the veterans – David Wright and Johan Santana, in particular – it has taken a kind of “finesse” job from Collins. The trick was to let them in on the thought process, top to bottom: if they buy into Collins and Alderson, the rest of the room will, theoretically, follow suit. That’s all great.

For now.

It has been reported that Terry Collins would very much like a contract extension, so he can see his work to its final fruition – the inevitable playoff appearance/World Championship that ownership and Alderson assure us fans is on the horizon. No such offer seems to be forthcoming. According to Metsblog this morning, Collins is appearing more “antsy” than in camps past. His answers to simple questions seem curt and impatient. He addressed the players yesterday, and the take-away was that his voice rose steadily as the talk progressed, leading Wright to quip to a writer “Same old Terry.” To your intrepid columnist, that’s a red flag. It’s hard to comment on something when you’re not actually in the room, hearing it directly, but it sounds like Wright et al have started tuning Terry out. Bad, very bad. Remember that Collins screamed himself out of solid gigs in Houston and Anaheim, alienating player, fan, beat writer and executive alike. He “lost the clubhouse,” in the parlance, both times. If he’s as on the verge as he appears, it’s a foregone conclusion that someone else will be manning the con during the crucial 2014 season. Tradition would point toward AAA skipper Backman being that guy. And wouldn’t that be fun for everybody concerned?

This might be a year-long conversation. Better buckle up.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

14 comments for “Is Terry Collins Right For The Mets’ Future?

  1. February 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Interesting article. I have been both frustrated and inspired by him. I hope he is around long enough to see a pitching staff second to none, and a solid infield…and…

    an OF!

  2. Joe Vasile
    February 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I think Terry Collins has done the best job possible with the hand he was delt. He knew coming into this, that it was going to be a long rebuilding process, with Alderson pretty much disassembling Minaya’s mess and reconstructing it brick by brick. Things are finally starting to look brighter with d’Arnaud and Wheeler on the horizon, but there is work to be done still. He seems to have learned a lot from his negative experience with the Angels and is much calmer in New York. Also he served as the minor league coordinator in the Mets system before becoming manager, so he has worked with a lot of the team’s youngsters before.As a short-term option I like him.

    For the long term, Wally Backman is the guy for me. He’s fiery, has had success managing in the minors, and of course, it would be fun to see an ex-Met manage the team.

  3. Name
    February 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I think everyone here knows my opinions on Terry Collins so i’m not going to repeat them.

    I find it amusing that this guy is asking for an extension when the debates among fans are whether this guy should be fired or not.

  4. Craig
    February 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I have never been a TC fan because he has tunnel vision and his loyalty to his older players
    are both admired and over kill! When he was asked a week or so ago about his closer without
    skipping a beat he named Frankie even though he was coming off surgery and had not pitched
    since last year and when Frankie was hurting last week he named Parnell his closer! Nothing
    against Parnell but I believe TC should have the bull pen compete for the spot and light a
    fire under Parnells ASS instead of just handing him the job!! Lyons,Edgin,etc are all possible
    closers(Lyons has 70 something saves in his carrer) and all of them should be givin the chance
    to compete for the spot! Wheeler may be ready now but TC has already said he’s going to AAA
    and if wants to be in the ML’s show us! How about waiting till the end of spring training to
    deside? I ‘m sure SA has alot to say about this but give the kid a chance in spring games to
    prove he’s ready or not ready now? Imagine if Davey Johnson had said the same thing about Doc
    Gooden! I think TC’s to quick to open his mouth and I don’t think he is that good a manager anyway, how many times did he leave Young in the game last year after the fifth inning even though time and time again he got hit in the sixth? He doesn’t learn! I could give you many
    more examples but I don’t think there is enough room!! I’m really hoping that SA doesn’t offer
    TC a new contract and Wally Backman is our new manager!!

    • UNCLE AL
      February 20, 2013 at 9:32 am

      WATCHING TC IS LIKE WATCHING BOBBY VALENTINE ALL OVER AGAIN. DAY AFTER DAY,WEEK AFTER WEEK,I HAVE TO WATCH THE STARTER TAKEN OUT AFTER THE 6TH AND SEE COLLINS BRING IN HIS PARADE OF BUMS FROM THE BULLPEN AND GIVE THE GAME AWAY.
      WE WOULD HAVE WON 15 TO 20 GAMES MORE IF HE JUST LET THE “BULLPEN” SIT AND GROW THEIR TOMATOES IN THE PEN.

      • February 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

        Appreciate you commenting on my piece Uncle Al, but you don’t have to shout…

  5. Craig
    February 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I want to make one more point! Flores should be givin a chance to win the RF spot! Everybody
    says hes to slow to play RF but does Baxter, Turner, Lutz, etc have speed and Is Duda fast?
    I don’t think so and we will never know if he’s not given a chance and now that Murphy is
    side lined even if its only a week or two let Flores play 2nd base until Murphy comes back
    and lets see what he can do at both positions? He played well in winter ball and after
    Wheeler and Travis D is our best hitting prospect and lord knows we could use offense in RF!

  6. Chris F
    February 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    TC is the “breakup relationship.” It serves a purpose, even a real important one. But, it wont have the legs to turn into the real thing. I dont see TC as the guy that can lead the charge and develop the full ceilings of the young guns coming up. That task will be for someone else. TC has helped to fumigate the clubhouse, and now, really I see the Mets as Alderson’s team. I expect a nearly full clean sweep of the present Flushing coaching staff, as they are not up to the task. As much as he wants to stay is about as much as we dont need his services for a serious run. I like him as a person and I can see that players would like him, but lets face it: hes not Washington, Bochy, Leyland, or Maddon…

  7. February 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t care if Collins alienates the beat writers. He’s not there to enhance their careers. I do care if the leaders of the Mets tune him out and his message. Why give Collins an extension now? We all know that the Mets are probably not going to be a .500 ball club. If Terry can bring this group of kids and achieve a wildcard then you may alter your opinion of him as a caretaker and perhaps consider an extension. I was wondering if and when the Mets do decide that Collins is not the answer they must have someone in mind ready to replace him. Who is it going to be?

    • Name
      February 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      “I don’t care if Collins alienates the beat writers. He’s not there to enhance their careers”

      It is his job to talk to the beat writers. He is the “leader” of the squad and is responsible for providing information to us fans.
      It is akin to the a president or some elected official giving news conferences.

  8. Metsense
    February 20, 2013 at 7:34 am

    TC got the original extension too soon. His results the second half of 2012 should have resulted in him not being hired for 2013, that extension saved him. He has been given so little to work with and is a loyal employee but based on his body of work I would prefer someone else as manager in 2014.

  9. February 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I agree with Metsense. I also agree with something Name said awhile back – that Collins’ best role is most likely in player development.

    I’m not sure who I want the Mets’ next manager to be. But I’ll support anyone who doesn’t insist on carrying multiple LOOGYs and I’ll campaign for anyone who just wants to take the best pitchers, regardless of which hand they use to throw.

  10. February 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Who could be the next Met manager? I don’t want somebodies reject or a rookie manager. So your options are going to be limited. I think Collins would be better suited developing players in the minors. Whoever Sandy chooses needs to be the right choice to lead the team to the next level.

  11. Chuck
    February 21, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Terry Collins is and always will be a place holder. He did a good/average job, but he cannot take the Met’s all the way. That should be Wally Backman

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