It’s Time for Terry Collins to be Held Accountable

TerryI looked back at the Mets 52-year history to see if it confirmed something I believed to be true. It did. The Mets have never had a manager enter a fifth season after four full losing seasons. Not Casey, not Joe Torre, nobody. 2014 is Terry Collin’s fourth year as manager.

Now, personally, I don’t get too caught up in the everyday stuff with managers. A lot of fans get crazy over every double switch or pitching move, but I’ve never been wired that way. I’m not in the clubhouse, there is so much I don’t know. Even things that seem straightforward to fans, like when one pitcher is used in relief over another guy. Many times guys are unavailable that day, and teams are not going to announce that.

Also I have seen so many styles work, and not work. The type of manager that is effective depends so much on the situation.  Bobby V GettyBobby Valentine did tremendous work right here in New York. When he got to Boston, he was a train wreck and barely made it through a season. The next year, with Valentine gone, the Red Sox won the World Series. Managing is often about horses for courses.

But those numbers I mentioned above are real. Eventually, no matter what roster a manager has to work with, he needs to win or go. The idea is to win, and every stone has to be left unturned. Collins needs to win at least 83 games or it is time to find out if someone else can lead this crew to victory.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I like Terry. I think he is a good man who wanted to MLBcollins111210redeem himself for his earlier failures as a manager. And to his credit, Collins, who was fired twice for being too rough on players, is a different guy with the Mets than his reputation with the Astros and Angels suggests. But everyone doesn’t get a trophy in real life, and it’s the manager’s job to find a way to squeeze every last win out of his team. The Mets cannot afford to have losing season after losing season without holding the people in charge responsible. Before the guy buying all the groceries is shown the door, it’s only reasonable to first make sure the problem isn’t the cook. The New York Mets have already not made the playoffs in seven years, and have endured four straight losing seasons. If it becomes five, Collins needs to go.

And if this team struggles early and Terry does not make it through the year, that is fair too. I have long maintained that Terry Collins is not the problem with the Mets, but now, in 2014, that is not good enough.

It’s time to see results that indicate he is part of the solution.

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14 comments

  1. kranepool says:

    I commend Collins for redeeming himself after two awful stints as manager but to me, Collins’ strength is as a minor league coordinator or a bench coach not as a big league manager. Collins is very good with the media, an important part of the job and he has respect of majority of his players, but what has he done to improve the team overall?

    I’m in total agreement, the leash on Collins is very short as this team has to get off to a good start or the barbarians will be a the gates of Citi Field calling for his head, and the vast majority of those barbarians are not buying tickets to enter the gates, that is a big problem as well.

    • Ha, that’s kind of funny. The barbarians aren’t at the gates, they are muttering into their toaster ovens.

      I agree on Collins, that’s always been my feeling about him, best as a minor league instructor, coordinator. I am not a big fan, but I don’t blame him too much for what’s happened so far.

      However, I don’t think “accountable” is the right word for this. I see him as the first, next scapegoat, since he has little to do with the Mets overall success or failure. The problem is, you’ve got to get climb over his fallen body in order to touch the guys who are really making the decisions.

      To repeat myself: Sandy replaced LaRussa with Art Howe. He forced Bochy out of San Diego. He hired Collins for the Mets. Alderson’s vision of manager is corporate middle manager, he’s not going to hire an iconoclastic, free thinker like Joe Maddon.

      This is year four of Sandy Alderson’s time as GM. There have been positives and negatives. A mixed-bag, at best. He certainly hasn’t done anything rash. It’s not a thing that has to be debated. It’s time to start winning, to start making real progress on the field. Or else. Folks have different impressions of the job he has done, pro and con. What’s the line by Wallace Stevens: “Let be be the finale of seem.” In order words, the proof is in the pudding. In concrete things. Enough with the narratives and storylines and spins, positive or negative. Let’s win games, let’s allow the team’s record be the final arbiter. May he finally be held accountable to that.

      • The Three headed Wolf or Snake or Wolf-Snake.

        It’s funny to me, as I’ve matured through the years and watched the Mets as an organization. I was fortunate for a brief moment in time to see an Ownership, GM and Manager, generally in lock step but for maybe the seedlings of decorum that were rankling feathers of the smaller Ownership contingent.

        Then presto, the smallish Owners became 50/50 partners, the monster became constantly unbalanced.

        I used to hate Steve Phillips and thought him a terrible GM, but in hindsight, knowing now the traps he had to deal with, the man was a magician to get things done.

        I do however think, fundamentally, the worst thing that happened under Phillips reign (results not withstanding as I think that was less the action and more the coincidence) was the systematic management of the managers staff, and it has been that way ever since. The Manager is hired, and then his staff is hired for him. That is an impossible scenario to work under. Always operating on the implied to obvious that someone on your staff is probably directly reporting to the GM or worse the owners son.

        Then the Mets got even worse at that under Omar Minaya, by the owners son cozying on up to the Assistant GM.

        I don’t expect everyone to agree, I don’t expect everyone to even want to get along, but to be on the same page would be nice. And it is not possible given the way the Mets are structured. Everyone is basically playing Survivor Baseball Edition.

  2. wkkortas says:

    Frankly, I think the Mets’ accountability issues go much higher up the ladder than Collins–like, say the guys who start a whisper campaign against the incumbent shortstop, review (well, in theory that’s what is done) the internal and external options, and then decide that having Tejada as the starter–with the still-legendary Omar Quintanilla in reserve–is the way to go. What the Mets’ “brain trust” is doing is reminiscent of the Dave Littlefield era in Pittsburgh–do just enough to be mediocre today, and worry about tomorrow later.

  3. Reese Kaplan says:

    Collins is good with the media???

    Did you forget his Cowgill proclamation only to reverse himself after two games? How about his Flores will play SS then play Quintanilla ad nauseum?

    How many chances did he give vets at the expense of younger players? How many times dies he bat a young player 8th with no protection then bench him the day after he produces? It’s a winder Scott Rice even has an arm left after Collins did everything possible to destroy it. What’s the over/under on how many games d’Arnaud gets before Collins gives him the hook? Same question about Lagares. How he treated Valdespin was deplorable when the guy was the only one hitting. Keep that man as far awqt from young players as possible!

  4. IB says:

    Collins has had an extemely weak roster and, at least, has kept those bad teams playing hard. This year, I think, there’s a major improvement in the outfield, enough power and speed and enough pitching depth to expect results.

  5. I guess another way of looking at this is, if the Mets replaced Collins right now even before the season begins, would they have a realistic chance to be much better than they were last season, or do you still have a sub-.500 team on your hands? If you really think that an alternative manager (and whom might that be?) could wring an extra half-dozen or so wins out of this roster, so be it. Frankly, I think that even with the off-season signings, they’ve essentially held steady as far as the number of wins we should expect from this franchise in ’14. Though I’m not a big fan of Collins, the number of wins he will influence one way or another on the field is far less significant than the number of wins Alderson did not add by way of roster turnover.

    • Reese Kaplan says:

      Name me one offensive player who flourished under Collins’ hand. Byrd??

      • Michael Geus says:

        Reyes had the best year of his career and Beltran had a huge rebound year under Terry. Beltran in fact has always went out of his way to praise Collins, praise that never seems to extend beyond Terry.

  6. Reese Kaplan says:

    Wally Backman seems to be a good motivator and respects younger players.

  7. Eraff says:

    Several mentions of accountability above Collins. I agree!!! Here’s the thing…. when the “Coach” is Fired, the GM takes the Hot Seat.

    Firing Terry Puts his bosses On The Clock—- they’ve been delaying That.

    I believe he’s done a nice job as a “face”….Charlie Manual was a better Manager of men versus game strategy in Philly— different Courses for Different Horses….in the case of the Mets—- Not Enough Horses!!!

  8. Raff says:

    My observation is Collins has done everything pretty much exactly as dictated by his management, and they’ve rewarded him by keeping him on-board. Maybe his change in demeanor, versus his previous managerial experiences, has resulted from knowing that as long as he toes their line, he’s in pretty good shape. Many managerial changes are just a reshuffling of the deck- Some, like the Valentine episode in Boston are actually done with good cause. In Collins’ case- cutting him loose, just based upon the Mets record this year would be a charade. If he keeps the players playing hard, and they get something close to 75 wins- that would be about what could be expected, given the tools they have given him. Most of the professional analysis is that the team is positioned to replicate their 2013 record. I don’t think there’s a reasonable expectation that the players won’t play hard- Granderson and Wright are responsible professionals, and most of the rest of the roster are literally playing for their “baseball lives”. All that said- I expect the Mets will win less than 80 games, and they will replace Collins next year. With Harvey coming back (hopefully) in 2015, and the expected growth and emergence of the young pitchers and position players, this will allow them to “look smart”, as I expect that the 2015 team is very likely a 90 win team.

  9. Michael Geus says:

    I understand as much as anyone the point of view that Terry has not been dealt much of a hand. It’s why I argued all last year that he deserved an extension.

    Many managers of bad teams run badly end up fired without much of a fighting chance. Unfortunately, the only way to be sure the manager is not part of the problem when a team annually loses is to replace him.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      On the other hand, his credentials as a talent evaluator, versus talent organizational director can also be called into question.

      A LOT of the reason that Terry Collins was hired or at least the story we were fed in October of 2010, was he knew the system, and the players and he spoke of them with extreme positive prejudice. Tejada, Davis, DUDA!, Nieuwhenheis, etc, these guys were cast as pieces to the solution by Terry Collins and guys that would “surprise” the prognosticators.

      It did not take more than a season before he was pointing fingers about each and their commitment and or apparent lack there of. He went from effusive to dismissive rapidly.

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