The Mets have nothing going for them right now. Their offense stinks, half the team is on the disabled list, they have arguably the worst owners in sports, their General Manager is as stubborn as a mule, and they have an incompetent manager. For now, I’m going to focus on that last part. That’s right I said it. Terry Collins is incompetent. And honestly, that is the nicest word I can think of to describe him right now.
I get it, he does not have much of a team to put on the field. I also understand that it is easy to make the manager the scapegoat when everything goes wrong. And yes, I realize he is not the one playing the games. But, man does he do a good job of screwing things up. In reality, the manager has only a few real jobs on a major league team.
Job 1: Managing the bullpen. The Mets managers never seem to get this right. But Terry Collins really never gets it right. He either leaves the pitcher in too long (Matt Harvey in Yankee Stadium) or takes them out too early (Jacob deGrom in Atlanta). He then becomes seemingly obsessed with using a certain reliever, and uses them repeatedly until they inevitably blow up (see Alex Torres, Carlos Torres, even Jeurys Familia this year). It just seems like he has no idea what he is doing out there.
Job 2: Making the lineup: Has Collins used the same lineup for any period of time this year? I mean, honestly, it seems like it is a different lineup every single night. Whether it is giving Wilmer Flores repeated games off, despite the Mets commitment to him at shortstop, and him being only 23, or not having Travis d’Arnaud play everyday coming off the DL, and instead giving .146 hitting Anthony Recker seemingly just as many at bats (lets face it: if d’Arnaud was not ready to play everyday, he should not have been on the roster yet). I’m trying to figure out why Collins refuses to commit to Flores or d’Arnaud (when healthy). Then, there is the refusal to put Michael Cuddyer down in the lineup. I do not care what he did in Coors Field the last two years. The way he is hitting, I would rather have Ruben Tejada in the cleanup spot.
Job 3: Managing the clubhouse/media: One of these he is actually not bad at, one he is downright horrible at. As a clubhouse figure, Collins actually is very well-respected throughout the game. The young players seem to look up to them, and he does a pretty decent job of handling all of the egos of a major league clubhouse. Well, except for Jon Niese, I mean those two probably should get a reality show on MTV. But, when it comes to handling the media, Collins is pretty awful. He actually admitted to making certain moves to avoid staying off the back pages. So, in other words, he is letting the media get to his head. Sorry, Collins, but this is New York, the media capital of the world. Nowhere else are the reporters, or fans for that matter, as bloodthirsty as they are here. If you cannot handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Again, I understand that Sandy Alderson has not given Collins much to work with. But, as frustrated as I am with Alderson right now, he doesn’t have much to work with either. Not for nothing, the Wilpons are misers and are terrible owners. So, as tied as Collins hands are, Alderson’s are just as tight. The best managers get the most out of their players. Guys like Bruce Bochy, Bob Melvin, and Clint Hurdle are perfect examples. All have had some pretty great players the past few years, but none had teams that really made you think they were title contenders. Well, the Giants have won 3 of the last 5 World Series, and the A’s and Pirates are regular playoff contenders. The king of this concept is Gil Hodges. Without him, I don’t know if the 1969 Mets win it all. They are the “Miracle Mets” after all.
When I was born, Bobby Valentine was the manger. And honestly, he seems to be the only one worth mentioning in my lifetime. Art Howe was only in Queens for two years, and managed some pretty unremarkable teams in a pretty unremarkable period in team history. Willie Randolph manged the rise, and downfall, of one of the most exciting teams in franchise history. But, Randolph was too much of a Yankee for the Mets. Everything from how he managed the clubhouse to the bullpen screamed “The Yankee Way,” and it ended his time in New York. The man really could not manage the bullpen. To exclude profanity I will not discuss Jerry Manuel and will only say that he was awful. Terry Collins appears to be just another in a line of guys who can’t get the job done. The Mets have the makings to potentially contend for a title in the next couple years. Is Terry Collins really the guy who is going to lead them to the promised land? Realistically, he has no place being mentioned with the likes of Gil Hodges, Davey Johnson, and Bobby Valentine.
I wanted Collins gone after last year, actually. I liked him when they hired him, but he just does not seem to do a very good job. So, as bad as the team is, they deserve a better leader. And do not put me on the Wally Backman bandwagon. If he is the next manager, that is great. But, he is not my first choice. I would prefer former Met, current White Sox coach, and regular manager candidate “Super” Joe McEwing. Or, as what seems to be a trend lately, picking a former player with only a little or no coaching experience. Hey, just throwing this out there, but Edgardo Alfonzo is a coach for the low-A Brooklyn Cyclones. Either way if Collins is cut loose, Bob Geren will probably lead the team going forward. But, honestly, I do not care who is the replacement. But the Mets have to do something. And maybe, just maybe, firing a leader will light a fire under these guys. Because they sure do need one.