The New York Mets’ offseason began this afternoon at Citi Field with the expected announcement of Terry Collins’ contract extended for two years plus an option.
General manager Sandy Alderson there were three criteria for the extension:
* That the team hustled for Collins even during the lean times. “The club played hard for Terry and I think that was evident for everyone to see,’’ Alderson said.
* That he overcame a lot in terms of injuries and trades, and the young players generally improved. “He has helped out younger players get better,’’ Alderson said. “He’s a great motivator.’’
* That although the record wasn’t acceptable, the team showed improvement and played .500 over the last 100 games.
Alderson, Collins, COO Jeff Wilpon and the other members of the front office and coaching staff, will fly to Port St. Lucie today and begin organizational meetings to evaluate available free agents and trade options; player evaluations; and determining a budget.
“We have in mind what we can spend,’’ Wilpon said.
Both Collins and Alderson cited the club’s losing record at home, with the former saying the club’s offensive approach was a significant factor.
“We can’t lead the National League in strikeouts if we’re not going to hit with power,’’ Collins said. “Our approach with two strikes has to get better.’’
The Mets’ holes include the rotation, where Alderson named Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee as the only givens; first base, which for now has Ike Davis and Lucas Duda as the primary candidates; shortstop, where Tejada struggled, was injured and went on the disabled list, and then after an extended period in the minor leagues, returned and broke his leg; and the adding a significant bat in the outfield.
As Collins, Alderson and Wilpon spoke to the media, the grounds crew was working on the field, which looked in pristine, almost Opening Day, condition.
“I’m honored to be able to continue what we started,’’ Collins said about the future, which included Opening Day 2014. “The nucleus of young talent in our organization really came to the forefront this year. There is no doubt in my mind that we are headed in the right direction. The won-lost record is not what any of us wanted and that’s what we have to change, beginning in 2014.’’
And, 2014, has already begun.