After managing the Mets to three years with a losing record, the Mets have decided to extend Terry Collins. The talent level has not been high during Collins’ tenure, but Mike Vorkunov (of the Newark Star Ledger) reported that Sandy Alderson has praised Collins for his ability to keep the team playing hard and have players playing at a high level. Although Collins has had periods of success, it does not make much sense to keep him around.
Remember when Juan Lagares was on fire earlier in the season and was benched for a couple of games? In a six-game stretch, the free-swinging Lagares went 5-25 with two RBIs, and Collins considered this a slump. Considering his average at that point in the season was .296, it did not make too much sense to bench him. This decision caused many fans to become critics, and soon enough Collins started putting Lagares in the everyday lineup. The decision to sit Lagares out because of a “slump” was not one of Collins’ brightest moves.
With top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud struggling after coming off the 7-day disabled list, he was sent down to the minor leagues, where he found his swing and confidence. The level of play in AAA is not like the majors, but why couldn’t this be done at the MLB level? It isn’t too far of a stretch to think Wally Backman and his coaching staff turned around d’Arnaud’s season, as they told him to move closer to the plate in order to hit the outside pitches. MLB.com has d’Arnaud finishing the year with 14 homers and 46 RBIs. That’s not too bad of a season considering how much he struggled early in the year. Due to the failure to recognize what was holding the catcher back, Collins shows that he struggles with helping players to bounce back.
Even the questionable use of Josh Edgin and Wilmer Flores has left people scratching their heads. Edgin has pitched extremely well this season, having a 1.64 ERA, striking out 19 batters and walking three in 22 innings. With stats like these, it would be nice to see Edgin pitch to more than one batter per outing. Let’s see if he can be more than a lefty specialist and get righties out. The Mets need another left-handed pitcher as the past few lefty relievers have not faired so well. “Perpetual” Pedro Feliciano didn’t pitch in the majors from 2011 and 2012, and is not in the majors this year, and Tim Byrdak pitched eight games last year and is not playing in the majors this year. Scott Rice is missing this season with an elbow injury. Edgin needs to be used correctly, and that means not pitching everyday and given breaks. Hopefully Collins lets him get more outs and uses him in the most productive way possible.
As for Flores, there is high offensive upside with question marks on the defensive side. It would only make sense (if the Mets really wanted him as their shortstop) to call him up and start him immediately. Give him more than a week to see what he has, instead of playing him sometimes. If the plan is to continue playing Tejada, then keep Flores in AAA to continue playing shortstop. This may not have much to do with Collins, but the Mets management in general. It’s nice to finally see Flores get a chance, as he is hitting .286 over his last 35 at-bats.
While Collins may not have had the talent before, there is talent coming up, and results are going to be expected. After a while, the manager needs to lead his team to the playoffs in order to be successful. The rebuilding process has gone on for the past couple of years, and the Mets are close to competing. Alderson’s goal of winning 90 games this year will not be met, and with Collins returning next year, 90 wins may be too high of an expectation.