COMMENTARY | Terry Collins wasn't supposed to last this long as manager of the New York Mets.
I remember back in April of 2011, his first year managing this team. The Mets hit a rough patch -- there would be many more to come -- and already we were hearing about how Collins was really just a placeholder. The 61-year-old hadn't managed in Major League Baseball in more than a decade, and his two-year contract did not provide much security.
The Mets turned it around temporarily in Collins' first season. But they fell apart after the All-Star break, and after an OK first half in 2012, they collapsed in the second half of that season as well.
Despite the fact that he won 77 games in his first year and 74 in year two, Collins had his deal extended through this season. (The Mets extended his contract at the end of the 2011 season.) He deserved that extension. Few managers in baseball have had to work with less talent, under tough economic circumstances, in a market where the media and fans hang on your every move.
The Mets will wait until the end of this season to make an announcement on Collins' future. Everything we hear, and everything we've seen as evidenced by the Mets' play this season, would lead you to believe that he'll be back. Just like Collins deserved another shot at managing when the Mets hired him a few years back, he deserves a new contract now. The Mets don't have to keep him here forever, but a two-year contract extension would be fair for all parties involved.
Going into this season, I think a lot of people, myself included, weren't convinced that the Mets should keep Collins beyond this year. Recognizing the lack of talent and the limited financial resources, the Mets still finished in fourth place in both of Collins' first two years.
But general manager Sandy Alderson has a plan in place and that plan started with hiring Collins three years ago. I have to believe that Alderson feels comfortable with Collins as his manager. Mets fans should, too. At the very least, the relationship between GM and manager seems to be one thing this organization has going for it.
This was a season where the Mets knew they weren't going to win, but what's been important is that Alderson has been able to infuse the roster with some young talent. Collins was in charge in the dugout and did a nice job working that talent into the lineup. They worked together to bring in Eric Young Jr. and bring up Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, and Travis d'Arnaud. They knew when to get rid of Jordany Valdespin, when to give up on Kirk Nieuwenhuis, when to question Ruben Tejada, and when to try to fix Ike Davis.
The fact of the matter is that this is one of the toughest managerial situations in all of baseball. Collins has handled the pressure, the losing, and the transitions very well. He deserves to be here next year when, hopefully, the Mets can add a couple of bats to a lineup that desperately needs some pop.
The Mets can change managers just for the sake of change. Or they can reward the one who deserves to be rewarded.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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