Terry CollinsWith Labor Day nearly upon us and the Summer giving way to the falling leaves very soon, it seems a good time to evaluate this season and compare it to something tangible. The 2015 New York Mets season has been a story of the tides. A boat on the dock will rise and fall according to the tides. The only thing that it can do is remain tied to the dock and wait it out. The Mets are no different.

They are still in control of their own destiny and sitting atop the National League Eastern Division after another week of inconsistencies. They returned home and seemed to leave their offense in Philadelphia while losing two out of three to the Boston Red Sox and scoring a total of ten runs in three games. To put that into perspective, they scored 73 runs combined in the seven prior games or an average of ten runs a game.

With that dramatic dip in offense, the pitching needed to be even sharper. They weren’t. In that three game series, the bullpen was further exposed and as a staff, the Mets pitching gave up a total of thirteen runs. The next series didn’t start off much better.

After scoring only three runs and giving up one and earning a win against Philadelphia in their first game, the pitching imploded in the second game and gave up fourteen runs in a blowout loss. As this is being written, the third game still has not been decided.

Despite the ups and downs of the week, it seems to be just a microcosm of their entire season. They began red hot with an eleven game win streak to catapult them into first place. Then, the low tide came in and they entered their struggles while playing their way out of first with a six game losing streak in May and a seven game losing streak in June, respectively.

Then, came the high tide again, as the team peeled off winning streaks of six games and seven games in the month of August to catapult them back into first and take a commanding lead. With those good and bad streaks aside, this team has won more often than they have lost.

All the while, Terry Collins has been a model of calm and reassuring consistency. When they lost David Wright. When they’ve lost Daniel Murphy. When they’ve lost pitchers and had to plug in minor leaguers and bench players to fill in major roles. When they’ve added Uribe, Clippard, Johnson and Cespedes. When Murphy and Wright both came back. When Duda went down.

Through all of the highs and lows, there was Terry Collins at the helm guiding his crew through the storms and clear waters. Most likely, you’re thinking “so what, that’s what a manager does” and you would be right. What, then, makes the 2015 campaign so different? Expectations.

Despite GM Sandy Alderson saying this team has the chance to be a 90 win team at the beginning of the season, it seemed for the longest time that he would be proven dreadfully wrong. At 73 wins at the time of this article, they are just 17 away from making him right.

In addition, a 90 win season would have meant a wild card run at the time of Alderson’s prediction, however, with the flailing Washington Nationals a 90 win season could mean the division and avoiding the dreaded one game playoff game between the two wild card teams.

Collins has guided them through every challenge possible and still has them in a position to make a deep run in postseason. Many scoffed at his six-man rotation plan (I was one). Many second guess him every time he pulls a starter early in favor of an already overworked reliever (I’m one of those, too).

Given their record and lead in the division, “experts” have them slated to win the division and half of those same pontiffs have Terry Collins in the running for Manager of the Year. Is that possible? Could I have misread that?

Actually, no. According to ESPN NY, Joe Madden of the Chicago Cubs and Terry Collins are just about split. So, let’s say the Cubs don’t make the playoffs or are one and done, does Joe Madden get their vote then? With the offseason moves made and their preseason expectations while allowing the St Louis Cardinals to overtake them with the best record in baseball?

That doesn’t sound logical to this writer and most likely won’t to those writers that determine such things either. Then that leaves Terry Collins. His chances of such an accomplishment would be possible as long as a few things occur.

One, the Mets need to hold onto the division, if not extend the lead by the end of the season. This is very doable. With the end of the season a month away, they only face two teams that are above .500 (the Nationals twice and Yankees).

What remains is Philly, Miami, Atlanta and Cincinnai. All of these teams are playing for pride only. The division teams like Miami and Atlanta would love to ruin the Mets hopes. The team needs to be mindful of these potential spoilers.

Two, with that said, it brings up a painful, but relevant point. This is the same team that has been spoiled multiple times before by the Phillies and the Marlins within the past decade. To quote the late Yogi Berra, if the Mets are up by seven with 17 games left to play, the fans will be feeling “deja vu all over again” .The argument against this is two-fold.

First, Collins wasn’t the manager during those seasons. He brings a much calmer and player-friendly vibe to the clubhouse that Jerry Manuel didn’t. He keeps the players loose. This is a team that never feels out of a game.

Secondly, David Wright is the only player left from the previously mentioned collapses. In other words, no one in that clubhouse will be feeling the pressure to overcome those bad memories. They have a solid mix of playoff experienced veterans and youth that are too young to know that they should be nervous. That makes for a dangerous combination in the dugout.

Two, this team has all the capabilities of getting healthy players back at the right time and getting hot as a roster at the right time. For example, Stephen Matz is back and ready to go. A few starts from him could go a very long way for resting arms.

Meanwhile, Lucas Duda is beginning to swing a bat again and by month’s end, should be getting back into hitting hot again and shaking off the cobwebs of a slow start back from injury. That adds another potential power bat to the middle of the order. A lefty, no less. One that can add protection to David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes.

With all spots clicking on all cylinders, this is a lineup that could be geared for a deep run while playing their best ball at the right time. After all, isn’t that what wins championships? We’ve seen it time and time again in every sport, including baseball.

It’s not always the best team, but the hottest team that wins it all. With a strong and rested rotation, extra starters serving as long-men to sure up the middle relief and a balanced lineup, this team could make Terry Collins look like a genius in late October.

In closing, there have been many deserving managers that have been skipped over for recognition in the past. Many, like Collins who have done better than the team expected from them. Collins was brought in to develop this youth at the Major League level, not manage them to excellence.

Is he the best manager in the NL? Maybe not right now, but given all these reasons and a good run in October, he could be when it comes time for the writers to vote. How great, then, would it be for the Mets, their fans and Terry Collins, to end this season on the highest tide possible?

All we have to do is hold on to the dock to ride these tides out for the next month.

31 comments on “Is Terry Collins really NL Manager of the Year?

  • Name

    They might as well just rename the award: “Biggest surprise team” or “Team who exceeded expectations the most”

    Or they could just abolish the whole thing

    • Frank

      I completely agree. If your team wins 100 games or goes worst to first, as a manager, you’re a shoe-in. Nearly pointless award by those standards. You’re getting recognition for what your players are supposed to be doing in the first place. Make it a team award.

  • Brian Joura

    You can make a case for Collins. I think you can make a better case for the managers in St. Louis and Chicago.

    • Frank

      I think it comes down to expectations. As I mentioned in the article, Chicago was pretty much proclaimed WS champs after their winter moves. Now, they’re not only not the best team in their own division, but they’re fighting to even stay in the WC hunt. Anything short of a WS for them and they fall short of expectation. St. Louis has the better argument. Matheny has his team surpassing expectations. Collins does too, though. A deep postseason run can help TC surpass both.

      • Brian Joura

        I think you need to go back and check preseason expectations.

    • Lenny

      Totally agree Brian, but you can include the Clint Hurdle also

  • James Preller

    Voting is done immediately after the regular season and does not take into consideration the postseason.

    Keeps the playing field even.

    • Frank

      So if the Cubs falter, despite high expectations and the Mets exceed theirs with a double digit lead, you think that’s not going to sway voters? My whole point is he has a chance if the team continues to build off of this.

      • James Preller

        Frank, you wrote this:

        >> Maybe not right now, but given all these reasons and a good run in October, he could be when it comes time for the writers to vote. <<

        You also referenced a one-and-done scenario.

        I simply pointed out that, contrary to your article, neither would have any bearing on the voting.

  • jb hill

    ” to quote the late Yogi Berra ” ????

    last i saw, he’s looking pretty good for a dead guy…….

    • Frank

      Yeah, I meant the “great” Yogi Berra. But he’s like 150 years old, so you really can’t blame that lapse. Oops.

  • TexasGusCC

    The next article I read on Terry Collins’ strengths besides keeping veterans happy will be the first article I read on the subject. Can someone recommend one, please?

    I’ve read many covering his flaws but most of them only seem to cover about five or six at a time, never really a full list, but can we get an article on his strengths?

    • James Preller

      Watch the games and take note of the team’s “taking care of business” attitude. They are relaxed, professional, convivial and confident. Right now I’d say there’s zero bulls**t. A group on a mission.

      You may not want to give the manager any credit for that, but I do.

      • TexasGusCC

        James, I respectfully disagree. Do you think you need to motivate a team going for a pennant, that hasn’t won in years? My dad could make Collins’ moves, or just as good.

        His admirable act was making a “hit or sit” proclamation. Well, talk about obvious…

        • Name

          I’d also challenge anyone to point out what “calming” or “taking care of business” approach TC is doing different compared to someone whose team is not as successful this year, say, Matt Williams?

          Panicking is something only the fans and the media do. If there is any panic from the players or coaches, we almost never ever see it during the season.

  • Eraff

    Terriy’s done a great job “Taking care of the Team” over the past several years: Public Face, Clubhouse, etc. I don;t think that’s debateable, and it even goes against his supposed track record in other jobs.

    The “Taking care of Games” part of the Job??? Until Recently, the talent level was so low that it was hard to evaluate Terry on in-game moves. He’s done a very good job of integrating the recent talent supply and keeping the guys fresh and ready to perform—and optimizing the matchups, generally.

    He did have a recent game that he negatively impacted…inserting Parnell and then “O’Fer, the Human Gas Can”. Parnell belongs in a rehab assignment…so I cannot even guess why he’s even available—-ditto for O’Fer!!! The fact that he put them in that game!!!???? …it’s not Manager of the Year stuff!!!!

    • Brian Joura

      I’ll debate that Terry’s done a great job taking care of the team because this team essentially takes care of itself.

      First off, he’s got the most unassuming, low-maintenance star in the game in David Wright. Curtis Granderson is generally recognized as one of the nicest guys in the game. Bartolo Colon is well-liked. Michael Cuddyer has always been praised as a good teammate. Daniel Murphy will run through a wall for you. Juan Uribe fits in the Granderson-Cuddyer mode. Lucas Duda just wants to be left alone. Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud never make any waves. I never recall hearing anything bad about Kelly Johnson. I think it’s extremely safe to say that Wilmer Flores wants to be here and is not doing anything to rock the boat. There’s zero reason for Ruben Tejada to be upset with him. Rookies like Conforto and Syndergaard know better than to upset the apple cart.

      He has Matt Harvey to deal with, who just wants to pitch and win. It’s not really anything I’d call a problem. If you want to give Collins credit for keeping Cespedes happy, I’ll award him a point for that.

      The bottom line is it’s not a difficult roster to handle. Saying Collins is doing a great job here is like saying a kicker in the NFL does a great job on extra points.

      • Eraff

        I believe his “Team Management” over his years as a Met Manager have been outstanding.

        This roster, per your notes, is a bunch of very soild, “Good Guys”…. Omar’s best rosters had a buch of skunks—as dislikeble to most home fans as opponents.

        As for game management… better ball players make better managers. I’m not convinced that he’s a good game manager.

        • Brian Joura

          Really? I don’t believe that about his team management at all.

          I think he really bungled the Davis/Duda thing, he didn’t do particularly well with Jordany Valdespin, his handling of Colin Cowgill was poor and we all know about the bullpen issues.

          • norme

            Brian, I respectfully think it’s time to let the Colin Cowgill issue go.

          • Eraff

            Handling of Colin Cowgill?????…davisduda….. valdespin…..explain please

            • Brian Joura

              If you’re talking about reasons why TC should not be considered great at “Team Management” — I’m sorry but Cowgill is 100% relevant.

              Edit – this was a response to NormE

              • Eraff

                What was the Cowgill problem?

                • norme

                  As I recall, Brian thought that TC did not give Cowgill a fair shot at a regular job on the outfield. To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of talent on the roster at the time but Cowgill did not overwhelm.
                  I’m sure that Brian, if he wants to revisit the issue, can do a better job of explaining the situation.

                  • Brian Joura

                    Yes, I don’t consider one week — after you announce to the world that he’s your starter — as fair. Even though Flores was hitting a buck-sixty, with an OPS 115 points lower than Cowgill after one week this year, I thought he deserved a greater chance than that.

                    If TC backers are going to point to him being such a great clubhouse guy — it’s fair to point out when he screwed someone over

                • Name

                  Brian, you are being too generous when you say one week because it’s more like 1 series.

                  He started the first 3 games of the season.Then over then next 8 games he started only 3 of them, including sitting 2 straight after the first 3 games.

        • Pete

          I seem to recall the skunks Wright, Reyes, Beltran and Delgado were on Omar’s roster

  • Patrick Albanesius

    Collins has been a wonderfully steady, calm presence for his players. He’s also called them out when necessary. Kudos to him for both of those things.

    His managing tactics, however, leaves something to be desired. I can’t imagine him in serious contention for this award.

    • Metsense

      I agree that he has done quite a few things right. He still is poor on the x’s and o’s, handling the bullpen,and thinking on the fly. The three central division managers are better tacticians and they too are also able to keep their teams together.Any of those three rate higher in my book than TC.

  • Eraff

    “The Guy With The Best Team Award”

  • Pete

    Can you imagine how much better this team would be if Collins knew how to manage a bullpen? His fascination with LOOGY is beyond comprehension. With a manager like Maddon this team would be 10 games or more ahead of the Nat’s. The team plays well despite Collins’ short comings. No need to further burden the Met’s. Their injuries are difficult enough to overcome. The Met’s are in first place because the Nat’s are consistently imploding. I’m glad to see that the players are responding to the opportunity that the Nationals have provided them. Now let’s hope TC doesn’t screw this up..

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