I should preface this by saying I was not a fan of the Mets decision to hire Terry Collins to take over as manager prior to the 2011 season. A change needed to be made, no doubt, but it was a clear signal at that point that the Mets were going to rebuild.
Collins has compiled a 244-281 record with the Mets in his 3+ years at the helm, and now has a career record of 688-715 as a major league manager. Needless to say, his record doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of his opponents.
Its really not so much the record that bothers me about Collins as much as the in game decisions, and day-to-day way he manages his ballclub. TC apologists will point to the fact that he just hasn’t had any talent. Let’s visit this for a moment. TC has managed the Astros (1994-1996), Angels (1997-1999), and Mets (2011-present). He had an 11 year layoff as head coach before the Mets offered him the position. Teams weren’t exactly knocking down his door to offer him a job. I looked back at the rosters that Terry Collins has coached during his tenure, in which he has never won his division. Check this out.
Jeff Bagwell (Gold Glove & MVP-’94), Craig Biggio (GG, Silver Slugger 94-96), Ken Caminiti (GG,SS, MVP 96), Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley (GG), Bobby Abreu, Doug Drabek, Darryl Kile, Shane Reynolds, Mike Hampton, Todd Jones, Billy Wagner etc.
The guy’s had multiple MVP players at his disposal, countless Gold Glove & Silver Slugger winners, the Batting Champions, Cy Young Award Winners, and Stolen Base champs.
The year after he left the Astros they won the division three years in a row, made a World Series appearance, and won 102 games in 1998 with what most people would say was a less talented roster. It took the Angels two years to win the World Series once Collins was fired amidst a season that he compiled a 51-82 record. Joe Maddon finished the season off for TC with a 19-10 record with the same guys. Mike Scioscia won the World Series with pretty much the same group minus Jim Edmonds & Mo Vaughn, who were in their prime years under TC. In fact, even when he took over the Mets job we had a rotation of Johan Santana, RA Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese & Dillon Gee, with Jenrry Mejia and Matt Harvey on the horizon, and Jeurys Familia was probably a better SP prospect than both of them at the time. The lineup was filled with stars like, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Angel Pagan, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, and we had a great bullpen, with Parnell setting up K-Rod, and somehow he won 77 games, and it seems to me that he has made every single player worse the longer he’s coached them. I guarantee there are a number of readers here at MMO that could’ve won more games that season. My guess is that we will be a far better team as soon as he is gone just like every other club he has managed.
Look I wasn’t expecting the Mets to win the world series the last couple of seasons, but Collins was brought on because he was supposed to good a developing young talent. What young talent has improved? Our sure fire future MVP 1B in Ike Davis is a shell of his former self, at best, Murphy is just now getting back to being the hitter he was when Collins arrived, Tejada has become the worst regular in the game, David Wright sure isn’t any better than he was before TC came to town. What about baseball’s top offensive catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, buried in the bottom of the order from the word go. Why have promising bats like Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, Matt den Dekker, and Zach Lutz either regressed or faded out of the organization altogether? It looks like he even made Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and Josh Satin regress in just one years time. Where is the improvement? What is he doing to motivate or mentor these players? Who has he developed into established everyday players? You could say Juan Lagares, but he has subsequently buried him like he has all of our other top young talent over the past three years.
Unfortunately, these are not Collins worst areas. His bullpen management, and organization of the pitching staff is the worst ant scatter I’ve ever seen in my life. Pure Chaos. Like Ike Davis’ bat was supposed to be. Who’s closing? Terry doesn’t know. How in the world are the players supposed to know? How can they prepare to be successful when they have no idea what role they are preparing for? I wonder if you ask each member of the bullpen, what their role is with the team, how many of them would have no answer at all. That’s some uplifting stuff Terry. Lets crush everyone’s confidence. Lets make sure they we will not set a single one of those guys up for success. “Let him work through it”, right Terry?
If he isn’t going to define any roles, he could at least stop making such amateur in-game blunders to further hinder his team. Does anyone remember in Atlanta a couple of years ago when he brought in his RP before Atlanta made the lineup switch for the PH, and I think he ended up with Scott Rice facing Justin Upton, or it may have been a RH facing Freeman. Either way, the commentators pointed it out right before the ball sailed 100 ft over the fence.
What about the Nationals game last year in which Harvey was dominating, until TC reared his ugly in-game strategy again. 4-1 Mets, runner on first, two outs in the 8th, Denard Span at the plate, and TC replaces reliever David Aardsma, who had just faced consecutive lefties, Roger Bernadina & Chad Tracy for the second out of the inning, and had pitched lights out since joining the Mets, with a struggling and apparently injured Josh Edgin. He ended up using four relievers that inning and actually created three worse matchups than he originally had with Aardsma facing Span. Did he think Span was gonna hit a 3-run HR with only one man on base? To make matters worse, in his bullpen dismantlement, he forgot the pitchers spot was due up second in the bottom half of the inning, and had to pinch-hit for Scott Rice, the second lefty TC used that third of an inning after Brandon Lyon got blasted. He ended up having to pitch Parnell for a 5th consecutive game after he was told he would have the day off, in a tie game in the top of the 9th. He gave up three runs and got the loss. We lost that game 6-4 and I just know Harvey wanted to punch TC right in the face. It’s things like this, that not only destroy a team for that day, but for a season. The bullpen was dead for the next few days. Aardsma lost all his confidence, and was hit hard from then on out. Brandon Lyon was released in short order. Those things indirectly, and directly effect teams for the rest of the season.
There are countless other instances like this that he does on a nightly basis. He almost always double switches his bench bats into the game to give the other manager an advantage of knowing the matchup beforehand. I bet his RH bench bat has seen more ABs vs RHP, and vice versa for his LH bench bat. Its just another example of him not giving his players the best chance to succeed.
I’m not even going to mention how poor his media communication can be with the constant declarations of who is, and who isn’t an everyday player to subsequently burying them on the bench for weeks at a time. I swear he cools off our momentum more than the opponents pitching staff.
It wears on a team after a while when the manager constantly snatches defeat out of the jaws of victory. It’s hard enough to succeed as it is. It’s almost impossible to do it in spite of your manager. It’s time for a change. We’ll be better off in no time. If history repeats itself, we should be perennial contenders within two years time with a bunch of post seasons and even a World Series sprinkled in. Just like the Angels and Astros.