Terry Collins: Sandy’s Best Move?

An article by posted on May 21, 2011

You know, a lot of people have tons of opinions about who the Mets should have acquired, or what they should have traded to get talent. If you’ve read my stuff, you know I’m in the camp of people who recognize Alderson has a 4 year contract, so I’m willing to give him 3-4 years before coming to a conclusion on all of┬áhis moves.

When you consider the financial state of this franchise, and the mess of contracts and lack of true star quality prospects left for Alderson, you can’t really expect him to have turned the team into a contender right away.

Still, the team has serviceable big leaguers in the farm as we are seeing right now, and they are playing good but not great baseball.

Were there moves that didn’t work? Sure. Emaus was a bust, but worth the try in my book. Guys like Hu, and Hairston for example haven’t paid dividends. But for guys like that, you can also find guys like Paulino, Beato, Isringhausen, Buchholz, Capuano, and even Chris Young.

That’s right. Say what you want, but Young’s contract was a risk worth taking considering the luxury of having Gee with some big league experience in the minor leagues. Was he injury prone? Yes. Did they break the bak for him? No. Was he their best pitcher when healthy? Yes. Just because it didn’t work, doesn’t mean it was a bad idea.

This is what I think people who attack Alderson for his supposed “moneyball” ways do not get. Alderson is a guy who will try to find talent in various different places, and as little as he spent in the off-season, he managed to find 5 big leaguers who are currently contributing to the 2011 Mets. If you can’t admit that’s impressive, then you’re looking for a reason to dislike him. I have little to no doubt that when the time comes, he will spend more money eventually. I like that he’s not rushing into decisions simply because the fans want big spending.

Still with all of those moves, his best move in my book was hiring Terry Collins over Wally Backman. First, I like Wally, in face he’s my favorite all-time Met.

However, when you look at the current state of the Mets and what the future may bring with the potential loss of guys like Beltran and maybe Reyes, you have to consider the fact that the Mets currently have 11 players dressing in a Mets uniform who spent time in the Mets Minor Leagues last year.

That’s 11 young or inexperienced players who didn’t have to feel intimidated by the Mets locker room or their Manager because they already knew him. They already likely learned something from him, whether it be an on the field tip or just how to handle themselves as a professional.

When a young player walks into a locker room with Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Francisco Rodriguez etc. it can be a tough thing to handle. Yet, they already had a guy in their corner from the day they stepped foot at Citi Field. Not only did they have Collins’ support, but he knows how and why they are in the big leagues. He knows the type of player these players are, and he can encourage them to be who they are, rather than try to press.

Also, he tests these players. Especially his pitchers. He doesn’t appear to be the type of Manager that will bail a pitcher out at the first sign of trouble. Especially a younger pitcher. He wants to see what they have. Do your job, and show me something.

That’s a huge oversight by many of Collins’ critics I think. Are guys like Turner for example, playing above their head? Most likely, but I’m the type of guy who likes to give very little credit to Managers and Coaches.

Where I do give them credit, is when players play above their apparent talent level. Not only are the 2011 Mets doing that, but other than the core, they are pretty much doing it with fill-in acquisitions by Alderson and fringe big leaguers who worked their way through the Mets system.

This is exactly why I love the idea of Alderson. He doesn’t do things the way they always were done. If he did, he would have buckled under the fan pressure and hired Backman. While Collins has a lot of season left to go, I myself am very pleased with the results thus far.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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