Mets Merized Online » manager Thu, 04 Feb 2016 01:11:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cespedes’ Market Hasn’t Shaped Up How We Thought It Would Sun, 17 Jan 2016 14:00:11 +0000 yoenis cespedes

If you would have told me in November that we would be refreshing out Twitter feeds on January 17th, praying to see a report indicating Yoenis Cespedes is heading back to Queens, I probably would of laughed myself into tears. Sure the Mets are still in the hunt for the slugging Cuban outfielder that brought magic to New York City’s largest borough. But the entire market for Cespedes is not what I, or most, expected.

It was back in December when Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News first reported that the Los Angeles Angels might make a run for Yoenis. Around the same time, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors predicted the slugger to end up with the Angels, signing a deal in the $140 million dollar range. My initial instincts entering the offseason was that Cespedes would have a range of offers with an AAV of $20-$25 million, given his incredible second-half of 2015. Since then, he has been also linked to the Detroit Tigers as well as the Chicago White Sox.

The Baltimore Orioles were most recently linked to Cespedes, with reports that they had extended a five-year, $75-$90 million offer according to Jerry Crasnick. However, it appears talks are done between the two sides since the Orioles were able to ink slugger Chris Davis to a lucrative deal.

John Harper penned an eye-opening article yesterday in the Daily News, pointing to several reasons why the market for the 30-year old hasn’t shaped out like some may have predicted. One point in particular stood out to me, where he mentioned the fact that Buck Showalter, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, insisted the team sign Justin Upton while being “dead-set against bringing in Cespedes.” Showalter is well respected around baseball and it potentially could be a replica of similar feelings by front office executives around the league. This might explain a weaker market for the versatile outfielder than expected. It seems that few predicted a bear market for Cespedes, but maybe the Mets are smarter than we think.

Harper went on to note something Sandy Alderson had mentioned to him. The general manager indicated that the team signed Alejandro De Aza, a budget-level outfielder, to a one-year deal to keep their payroll flexible in the case that the opportunity arises to bring back Cespedes.

There are two ways to look at this situation. Perhaps ownership still doesn’t want to increase the payroll, therefore forcing Alderson’s hand to bring in De Aza and the team is not actually serious about bringing back Cespedes. The optimistic fans in the depths of Mets Twitter will hold out hope that Alderson is smarter than we give him credit for, and the team is turning up the aggression now that the market is weaker than expected. Only time will tell. For now, keep refreshing.

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The Moral of Game Five: Setting Up to Succeed, or Fail? Wed, 13 Jan 2016 20:43:17 +0000 harvey leaves game

I know the last thing those of us bursting with excitement and anticipation for 2016 want to be reminded of is game five of the World Series, but stick with me here.  I’ve been thinking about the 9th inning of that game an awful lot, but not because of the despair we all shared at the Mets blowing a golden opportunity to send Jacob deGrom to the mound for game six and the possibilities that flowed from it.

No, I’ve been thinking about it because of a profound lesson that pertains to baseball, which as we know so frequently parallels life itself.  And it’s a lesson that generates a filter through which we can prudently analyze the moves a manager makes on the field and a general manager makes off of it.

A team thrives when its players are set up to succeed, instead of being set up to fail.

Matt Harvey had dominated game five for eight innings.  He had fulfilled, in fact had exceeded, his promise to come up big when it counted most.  Eight shutout innings on the biggest stage of all for a desperate team.  It was understandable that he wanted the ninth inning.  But Harv had already succeeded,  He had already completed his job, and the manager had as good a closer as any manager could want ready to do his job.  No matter what another pitcher did in the ninth, the ace had truly become the ace that November night.

And a clean ninth inning would have set Familia up to succeed, and re-establish the dominance that had gotten away from him in game one, and game four (though that might have turned out very differently if Murph had fielded that little league grounder instead of pulling a Buckner).

Instead, both pitchers were set up to fail.  Harvey by being sent out one more time when he had already put an exclamation point on his performance, Familia by being asked to rescue a one run game with an inherited runner in scoring position and no outs, instead of getting a clean ninth inning with a two run lead.

Sure, you might say, it would have been cool for Harv to pitch a shutout, and for the closer to be ready in case he could not close the deal.  But that was not how either of them had been employed all season and through the post-season.  Yes, the post-season is different because a closer often has to be extended beyond three outs or function in unfamiliar territory, like entering with runners on base.  But only if it is necessary.  And it simply wasn’t necessary that night.

Look, no one has been more adamant than yours truly in decrying the inexplicable throw by Lucas Duda that should have resulted in an easy tag at the plate and a return trip to KC, but that doesn’t change the fact that two of our best pitchers were set up to fail instead of succeed.  We have all witnessed multiple instances when a manager makes the wrong move but gets away with it, and vice-versa.

But if you look at our magical 60 game run from August to October, the acquisitions – and call-up – made by Sandy Alderson had much to do with their success not just because of the performance of those added players themselves, but because it allowed the manager to finally place most all of his roster in positions to succeed rather than fail, as I wrote in the early days of Cespedes.

David was no longer expected to be the straw that stirred the drink.  Duda was no longer expected to be the sole power source.  Conforto was not expected to be a savior, nor to hit lefties as a rookie.  Flores and Tejada shared shortstop admirably in an arrangement far superior to either of them holding down the position every day.  Lagares only had to hit against lefties.  Pressure on Familia was reduced with the addition of a couple of one-time closers.

So, how does all this relate to the 2016 defending National League champions (boy, that sounds nice)?  Well, Cespedes or no Cespedes (almost certainly the latter), it makes me, for one, optimistic.  Because most of the 2016 Mets are set up to succeed rather than fail.

What we don’t have in thump with the loss of Cespedes we may well have made up with length and flexibility in the lineup.  As of now, Lagares/De Aza or perhaps Cabrera would project to bat 8th.  Lagares offers speed, some power and rakes against lefties, his potential platoon partner is coming off an .800 OPS season vs. righties, and Cabrera is a professional hitter with a .740 career OPS.  Lineup length means we don’t have to rely on a single superstar like young Bryce to carry the team, nor suffer during his slumps or absence.

With virtually every player in the starting lineup a threat to hit 15 HR’s, four of five likely to exceed 20, and half a dozen serious threats to drive in 70+ runs, we have balanced power and RBI potential.  All from a lineup with far lower expectations than most because of our out-of-this-world starting rotation and a bullpen that is already good and young, and could become really good with the addition of Antonio Bastardo or an equivalent.

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Lagares is set up to succeed because he can either prove he deserves to start every day, or have an acceptable safety net in De Aza.  Wilmer is now set up to succeed as a super utility man, a role he thrived in once he was relieved of the burden of being the everyday SS.  I would even expect Tejada to succeed as a backup IF.  David knows Flores or even Neil Walker or Cabrera can spell him effectively at 3B. If we can get TDA to learn 1B adequately (a la Buster Posey), we set him up for less wear and tear, more at bats and take the pressure off Duda against certain lefties, and more opportunities for Plawecki to prove himself as perhaps the best backup catcher in the majors.

And while it is impossible to quantify, the value of 14 games of post-season experience – and the confidence gained from succeeding enough to win the pennant, not to mention doing all this when no one thought it was possible – can not be understated, particularly for a team defined by its youngest players.

On top of all this, they have managed to avoid the kind of long term contracts that could become major burdens when it comes time to actually pay for a rotation making pennies on the dollars they are worth, and will eventually have to get paid.

Compare all this to our chief rival, the Nationals.  After two playoff collapses in what was supposed to be their time, they set up Drew Storen, for one, to fail by sending the message he wasn’t good enough to continue doing what he had done very well for four months last season.  And replaced him with a clubhouse cancer, Jonathan Papelbon, sure to make a bad and leaderless clubhouse further deteriorate.  They demoted a 15 game winner to the bullpen to make way for a supposed superstar, Max Scherzer, and set Tanner Roark up to fail while reducing their payroll flexibility for years to come.  They expected Scherzer, a career #2 starter, to become a true #1, which he failed to do.  And they even sent Papelbon back out to the mound after he had choked their superstar.  I don’t know which is more incredible – that Papelbon did that, or that their clueless manager didn’t even see it happen, and wasn’t told.

The Nats added have lefty bats to their lineup with Daniel Murphy and Ben Revere, but with Storen now gone, Papelbon kept on the roster by a reluctant front office and heading up an entirely revamped bullpen, their starting SS and two of the members of their much-ballyhooed 2015 rotation gone and another reduced to a swing role, a second choice manager in the dugout and memories of an utterly disastrous 2015 still fresh, it’s not nearly as clear that the Mets’ chief divisional rivals are set up to succeed.

It’s somewhat the same with their biggest league rivals.  The Cubs, already boasting a young, strong and deep lineup, but badly outpitched by the Mets in the NLCS, spent major bucks adding to an already strong lineup instead of pitching.  Hard to fathom, though they may yet trade the now expendable Jorge Soler or Javier Baez for more pitching in the two and a half months before opening day.

And the Giants rolled the dice on three risky investments in Denard Span, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija…some or all of whom could thrive or flop.  Who really knows?

Could the Mets use another big bat?  Sure.  Would it be nice to have an Aroldis Chapman (his ability, not his personality) or even a Darren O’Day added to the pen?  Of course.  Could injuries derail this team?  That’s always possible, as is some regression by our stud rotation and closer.  Conforto might not hit lefties, Duda might go through extended slumps again, David’s stenosis might prove far more damaging than it was last season. As we well know, anything can happen.  And the Wilpons are still, well, the Wilpons.

But these Mets appear to be set up to succeed, so let’s salivate at the prospects and embrace the season ahead without reservation, lest we all resort to the gloom and doom endemic to so many Mets fans and set ourselves up to fail at savoring a special time in the history of our beloved franchise.

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Bridging the Minority Manager Gap Sat, 02 Jan 2016 14:00:21 +0000 fredi gonzalezMajor League Baseball currently has four minority GMs – Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Farhan Zaidi of the Dodgers, Al Avila of the Detroit Tigers and Michael Hill of the Miami Marlins. Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox is the only minority vice president of baseball operations and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves and Dusty Baker are the lone minority managers.

To many, this might not seem important at all. But with 41.2 percent of players in 2015 being people of color according to Sports Business News, it should be. It’s something that’s clearly gotten the attention of the commissioner.

“You’re going to have peaks and valleys in terms of representation within what’s a very small sample; there’s only 30 of them out there,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to the Associated Press back in October. “Having said that, we are focused on the need to promote diversity, not just African-American, but Latino, as well, in the managerial ranks.”

Prior to Terry Collins, the Mets had two ‘African-American’ managers: Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel. Randolph spent the final days of an illustrious playing career with the Mets in 1992, when then-GM Al Harazin won the winter meetings by acquiring Randolph, Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Bret Saberhagen.

He would only play in 90 games that season, opening the door for a young infielder named Jeff Kent, acquired in a trade with Toronto for David Cone. A six-time All-Star raised in Brooklyn, he was on Joe Torre’s staff for 11 seasons as the Yankees won four World Series champions. He had never managed before at any level, but brought the same calm self-assurance seen from Torre to the Blue and Orange and for as much deserved criticism for the 2007 collapse, the Mets were a winning franchise under Randolph.

  • 2005 – 83-79
  • 2006 – 97-65
  • 2007 – 88-74
  • 2008 – 34-35

He was replaced by Jerry Manuel, who was known as a communicator and great leader. On the staff since 2005, he was a bench coach for Jim Leyland in 1997 when the Florida Marlins won the World Series. He was tapped to take over the Chicago White Sox the following year and won the AL Central Division title and Manager of the Year in 2000. But three years later, Manuel was out in favor of Ozzie Guillen.

Despite going 55-38 after taking over the Mets for Randolph, the team lost two of the final three games including the final game at Shea to miss the postseason once again. The following year started well enough before a sorry 9-18 June paved the way to meaningless games in September and a 70-92 season.

Manuel lost his job along with Omar Minaya in 2010. Sandy Alderson took over, waited for many of Minaya’s draft picks to blossom instead of trading them and hired a manager within the organization to lead them in Terry Collins.

pedro lopezIf Collins sticks with his claim to walk away from the dugout in a couple of years, the Mets could have his replacement already within the ranks in Pedro Lopez. Currently the Mets Binghamton manager, Lopez was twice named the best manager prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America in 2014.

He’s been in the Mets organization since 2008, working his way up from the Rookie League affiliate in Kingsport. B-Mets President and co-owner Mike Urda says Lopez’s even-keeled nature and knack for motivating players stands out.

“The most impressive thing I could say about Pedro is the players produce for him,” said Urda. “They like playing for him.”

Lopez managed Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, Wilmer Flores and Dilson Herrera just to name a few and seems to have the mindset that protecting his players is essential.

“I’ve always said that the one thing I bring to the table is that I’m trying to keep an environment to work and have fun every year,” said Lopez. “I try to keep them relaxed, tell them that even if it’s a bad outing—or if it’s a positon player that has a bad day—it’s okay. It’s going to get better.”

Is he going to be the next manager in Queens? I think it’s important for our next manager to speak Spanish. He (or she) doesn’t have to be fluent, but with the number of Latin players in the League they should be able to directly connect with the entire team. Many on Jon Heyman’s list of possible candidates would fall into that category.

  • Sandy Alomar Jr.: Excellent persona, and fine playing and coaching resumes. Would be miscarriage of justice if he never had the chance.
  • Hensley Meulens: The hard-working hitting coach of the Giants has learned from the best in Bruce Bochy and speaks several languages.
  • Jose Oquendo: Long-time Cardinals coach obviously has been around winning, but he has been passed over so much now he seems almost ingrained as a coach.
  • Delino DeShields: Managed the last five years in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization

All of these minority candidates are seemingly hurt by the industry’s move towards analytic-loving, college educated and front-office friendly managers instead of actual managing experience. Lloyd McClendon wasn’t given much in Seattle and in two seasons is just two games over .500, but the new GM Jerry Dipoto has turned over the reins to Scot Servais, a former player and minor league scouting director.

If this trend continues, with the numbers of Hispanic players signing at 16 and the 8% black population in the major leagues and just 2.6% playing Division I college baseball, it’s clear that the future doesn’t look bright for minority managers.

Is this a trend that will eventually turn back to the past or one that’s here to stay? Should Manfred institute something like the NLF’s Rooney Rule or should the best person get the job regardless of their race?

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Pete Rose To Remain Banned From Baseball Mon, 14 Dec 2015 17:49:39 +0000 pete rose

In March of this year, Pete Rose made a formal request to be reinstated to Major League Baseball, and new commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with Rose and hear him out.

“I want to make sure I understand all of the details of the Dowd Report and Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s decision and the agreement that was ultimately reached,” Manfred said at the time. ”I want to hear what Pete has to say, and I’ll make a decision once I’ve done that.”

Well according to a report today in the New York Times, Rob Manfred has decided not to lift the permanent ban imposed on Pete Rose more than a quarter-century ago.

“The decision by Mr. Manfred, who succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner last January, has not been publicly announced. But three people familiar with the decision, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a matter that was supposed to remain confidential, said that Mr. Manfred had made up his mind to keep the ban intact.”

Rose, now 74, is baseball’s all-time leader in base hits and has been banned for over a quarter-century from MLB and thus barred from the Hall of Fame despite his stellar Cooperstown worthy career.

In 1989,  M.L.B. concluded that Rose was betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and that some of the bets had been placed on his own team. After years of denial, he finally admitted in a 2004 autobiography that he bet on baseball and the Reds, although he insisted that he never bet on the Reds to lose.

Rose, a 17 time All Star, Rookie of the Year and MVP, ended his career with a record 4,256 hits and a lifetime .303 average. He led the league in hits seven times and won three batting titles including 1969 when he batted .348.

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Sandy Alderson Diagnosed With Cancer Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:17:47 +0000 sandy alderson

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has been diagnosed with  cancer and is facing 8 to 12 weeks of chemotherapy the team announced on Friday. The Mets would not expand on the type of cancer, but did say it was treatable.

Obviously, Sandy will not attend the Winter Meetings as he battles through this. In his place Assistant GM John Ricco, Terry Collins, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta will lead the Mets contingent at the Winter Meetings next week in Nashville.

Alderson, 68, was hired by the Mets following the 2010 season. He guided the team to a 90-72 record this season which saw the Mets win the NL East and go onto to the World Series for the first time since 2000.

A statement from Mets COO Jeff Wilpon read:

“As you know, Sandy went in for a medical procedure three weeks ago. Surgery was performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York and as a result of that procedure, the doctors confirmed that Sandy has cancer. The doctors believe and have told Sandy that the cancer is very treatable and are optimistic about a full recovery.”

“Sandy will continue with his GM responsibilities throughout the treatments, although of course, there will be days he may not be in the office. In the meantime, Sandy’s team and I will be coordinating closely with him and keeping him up to date on all baseball matters.”

So sad and shocking to hear. Before Thanksgiving I reached out and asked Jay Horwitz about Sandy after not hearing any word from him since he missed the GM Meetings to undergo a medical procedure.

The Mets VP of Media Relations would only tell me that he’d pass along my thoughts and well wishes but wouldn’t tell me anything more regarding his health.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sandy for a full and speedy recovery.

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It’s Time To Embrace Terry Collins Wed, 02 Dec 2015 15:51:40 +0000 Terry, Collins

Idiotic. Moronic. Clueless. These are just a few adjectives that some fans have used to describe Terry Collins‘ job as a manager. These are also the terms that we need to throw out of the lexicon when it comes to talking about the job that he has done here.

When the 66-year old Collins was hired by the Mets before the 2011 season, there was reason for optimism. The team had fired GM Omar Minaya and then-manager Jerry Manuel. The term that I would use to describe the Mets under both Manuel and Willie Randolph before him, would be – underachievers. The term that I would use to describe the Mets under Terry Collins is – overachievers.

Many fans, myself included, questioned the hiring of Terry Collins. Why would they hire someone who never made the playoffs and had a history of clashing with players? When he managed the Angels in 1999, his players had a mutiny and pleaded with the front office to fire him. He had not managed a Major League game in twelve years before taking stewardship of the Mets. Was this a team headed down the road of a successful rebuild or a team that would continue to be a laughingstock in the wake of the Madoff scandal? There was no way anyone could truly answer this question until the season started.

Sandy Alderson promised to rebuild the team the right way. He was not going to trade prospects for veterans or sign free agents to astronomical contracts like Omar Minaya had done previously. However, this left Collins with hardly any talent to manage. In his first four years as manager, his team never finished above .500 and his 304-344 with the Mets wasn’t breeding any confidence.

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At the conclusion of year four, there was a growing sense that the Mets would turn the page on Collins and look to some new leadership. But thankfully, they did not. With many of the team’s top prospects making their way to the Major Leagues, Collins was deemed the man to complete the turnaround and that’s exactly what he did.

The 2015 season was not pretty at times. With key players out with injuries and some underwhelming performances by new offseason additions, the offense struggled mightily ranking last in almost every pertinent category including batting average and runs scored. It got so bad that Collins had turned to John Mayberry Jr. as his cleanup hitter for parts of the season, and yet he still kept the team in the hunt. Things looked bleak.

That was until Alderson made some crucial moves that helped catapult the team into their first playoff appearance since 2006. Unfortunately, it seems that Collins has not been getting enough credit for the team’s success. Yes, I know he makes some questionable decisions, like putting an ineffective Bobby Parnell into close games down the stretch and starting Michael Cuddyer in Game One of the NLDS and watching him unsurprisingly flop.

The list goes on and on. But one thing that I love about Collins’ team is that they always have played hard. Even in the dark times, there was no quit in the Mets, which made them watchable. Their resiliency gave the team character and confidence. The talent was not always there but, we could all witness the hustle night in and night out. As a fan, it was encouraging and fun to watch and I truly appreciated that fighting spirit which was always on full display.

While there are a few managers that I would gladly take ahead of Collins, I am happy we still have him in the dugout. I am not his biggest fan, but I am a fan. As a New Yorker, I value the guys that go out there and give it their all.

Is there any manager that gets more out of his players on a nightly basis than Terry Collins? I do not know, and quite frankly I do not care. All I can say is that despite his imperfections as a manager, he’s performed admirably as the field general of the New York Mets. While Collins did not win the Manager of the Year award which he arguably deserved, his team beat the eventual winner Joe Maddon and the Cubs when it mattered most. You have to respect that.

Is he perfect? Certainly not. But clearly, he has overcome a lot of adversity under intense scrutiny and in the end he brought the team within earshot of their first World Series title in three decades. You have to respect that too.

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Don Mattingly Will Be Named Marlins Manager Fri, 30 Oct 2015 04:27:44 +0000 Don , Mattingly

Ronald Blum of the Associated Press is reporting that Don Mattingly will become the new manager of the Miami Marlins.

Mattingly parted company with the Los Angeles Dodgers a day after losing to the New York Mets in the National League Division Series.

The Marlins also fired Dan Jennings after a 13-year association with the organization. He drew a lot of criticism for naming himself the Marlins manager while he was still the GM last May.

Jennings is under contract through 2018, and his dismissal came three weeks after team officials said he would resume his job as general manager. Ouch.

Mattingly will go from a Dodgers team with an MLB high $290 million payroll, to a Marlins team with an MLB low $64.9 million payroll.

“They don’t have a $300 million payroll in Miami,” said Mets manager Terry Collins, while at Citi Field on Thursday. “But they got pretty good players down there, believe me. They’ve got a good team.”

Mattingly went 446-363 in five years with the Dodgers and won the NL West the past three years.

The team will officially announce the moves after the conclusion of the Mets winning the World Series.


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Tonight, A Dark Knight Rises Tue, 27 Oct 2015 18:46:42 +0000 matt harvey nlcs roar

This is what Matt Harvey always wanted. So, let’s see if he can give the Mets what they need – at least a split in the first two games of the World Series if not a sweep of the pair.

With Harvey tonight and Jacob deGrom in Game 2 Wednesday, the Mets are playing their two aces from the outset.

A little over a month ago, Harvey – then embroiled in a controversy about his innings – went into manager Terry Collins’ office and said he wanted the ball, needed the ball. He wanted the shackles off; he wanted to pitch the way he believed he always could.

“I think during all of the stuff that was going on, I wanted to make it clear that I wanted to pitch,’’ Harvey said. “I wanted to be there.’’

The Mets were being dutiful about Harvey’s innings and cutting him back. However, with the Mets on the cusp of the playoffs, and talk swirling whether Harvey will be able to pitch, the No. 1 pick told his manager he didn’t feel ready. Harvey had two more starts remaining and told Collins he needed at least 100 pitches in each to build himself back up.

He made it with flying colors. He beat Cincinnati in the game that clinched the NL East. He beat the Dodgers in the NLDS and then worked into the eighth against the Chicago Cubs in one of his strongest starts of the year. The way the Mets have it planned, Harvey will go tonight and Game 5 if needed.

And, should the Mets need him, he’ll be available for Game 7 in relief, just as Madison Bumgarner was last year for the Giants. Bumgarner worked into the eighth in Game 1 against Kansas City; pitched a complete-game shutout in Game 5; then, unbelievably, pitched five scoreless innings in Game 7 for the save.

“The fact that they won, I think anybody wants to do what he did, and getting his team where they did,’’ said Harvey, adding he’s ready to do the same if his number is called.

Collins won’t let him throw 150 pitches tonight – he’s not stupid – but said Harvey will be given the benefit of doubt. If Harvey tells Collins he can go another inning, he’ll get it.

That’s how legacies are made. Tonight, the stage belongs to Matt Harvey.

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ESPN: Bob Geren Will Be A Candidate For Dodger Managerial Position Fri, 23 Oct 2015 02:08:52 +0000 dickey geren

According to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon, the Dodgers are reportedly interested in Mets bench coach Bob Geren for their open managerial position.

As Saxon noted, Geren has worked with current GM Farhan Zaidi in Oakland, where Geren was the manager and Zaidi worked with Billy Beane in the front office.

Geren, 54, managed Oakland from 2007 until 2011, when he was fired mid-season. He posted a 334-376 record in Oakland. He has been with the Mets organization since 2011.

Don Mattingly and the Dodgers amicably parted ways in a joint announcement on Thursday.

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MMO Roundtable: How Impactful is the Manager in a Short Series? Fri, 09 Oct 2015 14:55:49 +0000 don mattingly terry collins

How Impactful is the Manager in a Short Series?

Brian GreenzangTerry Collins is about to face his biggest test as a manager. The role of a manager in a series like this is critical. Needing to know when to pull the plug on a starter, or letting them go a little bit longer than normal is going to be big for Collins in this series. How he manages this pitching staff and bullpen in each and every game going forward is going to be the key to the Mets success in any playoff series. Collins has to be aware of where all of his players are mentally in each game and make sure he properly manages each and every player for the success of this team. His importance in this series is bigger than one may think.

Robert Piersall – A manager is very impactful in a short series, because it’s now or never to pull the trigger and make the right in-game decisions, or else you’re done for. However, on a different note, you are also dealt the best possible players to choose from, which makes things easier. As long as Terry Collins does what he has done all year, the Mets will be fine.

Joe Spector – All it takes is one dumb, Jerry Manuel-esque move and the momentum can be easily and unfortunately changed for the worse. That said, it’s not as if Terry is hitting or pitching so, he can’t be blamed if the team takes a dump.

Gerry Silverman – The primary impact of managers in a short series usually is felt by virtue of some blunder of omission (i.e. not bringing in a certain reliever to face a certain batter in a critical situation). Other than some stroke of “genius” along the lines of starting some player that no one expected based on a hunch who then gets a critical hit, there ain’t much else to do above and beyond what happens in the regular season.

Michael Branda – I don’t think he’s that big of a factor. I think the players play and the Manager sits on the bench. To me, all you can do is start the right players, and hope for the best. I think being handcuffed by Harvey’s limits made the rotation choices obvious for Collins. Game 4 is when Collins will have a tough decision to make. I think deGrom should get the ball in Game 4, no matter what.

Andre Dobiey – The playoffs should be beneficial to Terry Collins´ style of managing. His main fault as manager in regular season(s) has been overtaxing relievers or leaving starting pitchers in games too long. At times, he ran regular season games like playoff games, creating fatigue for his players. Now in October, that´s exactly how you manage, so I´m not really worried.

Joe D. – I feel as though every time I’ve been at odds with a Terry Collins decision in most cases it proved inconsequential. Still he can drive me nuts at times. For example we have the daunting task of having to face the best left-handed starter on the planet tonight, and yet he plans to have Curtis Granderson  in the lineup. Granderson is hitting just .183 against LHP, the worst mark in the majors among players with at least 125 at-bats. So yeah, that really bugs me. I’m not sure a Mike Matheny or any other progressive stat conscious manager would go that way. Hopefully, like many of his other bad decisions, it won’t bite us on the ass, but yeah, managers do matter. Especially in a short series.

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Terry Collins and the Road Less Traveled Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:52:01 +0000 terry collins

With the Mets just one out away from clinching their first division title in nine years, manager Terry Collins couldn’t help but shed some tears in the dugout as he looked on. These tears, unlike Wilmer Flores’ back in late July, were tears of joy.

Sure, it’s been a long wait for the Mets and their fans since their last playoff appearance, but nobody has waited longer than Collins, who will make his first playoff appearance ever as a manager, a week from Friday.

“It’s worth all the time, all the press conferences and everything you do, this is the culmination of it all,” said Collins. “It’s a great feeling and it’s really fun.”

In his previous 10 seasons as manager of the Astros, Angels, and Mets, Collins, who is now 66 years old, had missed out on the playoffs each year. It’s his now fifth season with the Mets and many would argue his first with a team capable of contending.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets

“As long as Terry’s been around baseball, he deserves this. I’m excited we were able to get him there,” said David Wright. “He’s been through some rough years, that rebuilding phase, to stick through that, alot of those ugly times and cap it off with a nice playoff run, means a lot to us for him.”

He’s endured some rough years indeed. Terry Collins took over this Mets team back in 2011 amid some dire circumstances, and this year will be his first winning season, although he wasn’t exactly dealt the greatest of hands for most of the year.

After the team’s red hot start in early April, Collins had to manage a below average offense and a team that dealt with several key injuries, all while making sure to protect his team from the myriad of negative distractions and keeping everyone in the clubhouse positive and motivated. He finally got some of the help he was looking for at the end of July.

Collins is now one of the top candidates to win the National League manager of the year award, and perhaps nobody believes he should win it more, than his boss Sandy Alderson.

“Terry did a super job holding the team together for as long as he did, and then taking advantage of some additional personnel late in the season, managing the pitching staff,” said Alderson.

“You think about what Dan (Warthen) and Terry did with the pitching staff, having to skip starts and limit innings and do a host of things to try to get us to the end, it really was an incredible job in that area not to mention keeping everybody on an even keel day after day.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Terry Collins was on the hot seat. Fans, and even some of the media were calling for his departure. Nobody within the Mets organization however, players and front office, ever doubted him throughout the process.

It’s been quite a journey for Terry Collins to get to this point in his baseball career, and he has no plans to ease up now. The Mets skipper continues to forge ahead, well aware of what the next step in that journey is. ”Now we have to get home-field advantage, that’s next.”

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Terry Collins Honored By Manager of the Year Chatter Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:25:04 +0000 terry collins

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports says Terry Collins has done enough to merit the Manager of the Year award in the National League.

“In a league of Joe Maddon, Clint Hurdle, Mike Matheny and Don Mattingly, who’ve won their games and will get their Manager of the Year votes, nobody’s done more and put up with more and bled more freely than Collins. For a summer, he’s been the best of any of them.”

Collins told reporters that he is honored by all the Manager of the Year talk.

“I will tell you, it’s always nice to get an award,” Collins said. “It always is. But those kinds of things, it’s all about the players, believe me. I’ve talked to a lot of great managers in the game that have won this award hundreds and hundreds of times, and I will tell you what: very few of them have ever said, ‘Boy, I managed my butt off.’ They put the right names in the lineups is what they’ve done, and let them go play.”

Collins has waited a career to manage a team in the position of his current Mets. It’s too bad he can’t enjoy it. For Collins guiding the Mets to a Division title must seem like one of those pop-up games where you yield a hammer and try to hit objects scattered before you. Every time you connect with one object, another one pops up somewhere on the board.

With every game taking on monumental proportions for Collins and his Mets, managing the young Met pitching staff has to be just about driving Collins to insanity. Terry Collins has been around the barn. He’s seen and worked with all kinds of baseball pitchers including workhorse pitchers, anchors of a pitching staff, top pitching prospects, etc.

Collins knows at heart that’s what he has in his Met ace Matt Harvey. “I want you to understand something,” Collins told the press after Sunday’s Yankee game. “This kid is still a tremendous competitor. Tremendous. Regardless of what he’s been told to say, what he’s been told to do, he’s a tremendous competitor.”

But, in a day and age of blown out arms, pitch counts and innings limits, the world continually shifts beneath the Met manager’s feet. That was on full display Sunday night in front of a national baseball audience when Harvey threw five dominating innings with the Mets nursing a 1-0 lead over their crosstown rivals, the Yankees.

And, after their pitching ace threw only 77 pitches, Harvey was removed from the game, the Mets bullpen imploded, and Collins watched his team suffer an embarrassing 11-2 defeat.

Here’s Collins carefully trying not to explode after the game as reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports:

“It’s hard for me to get it. I am at heart an old school guy, but I understand where it’s coming from, therefore you adjust to it. You either adjust to it or get out. I might get out pretty soon, but I’m adjusting to it right now.”

In some ways what the Mets are asking of Collins must feel like being asked to lead his men to the front lines of the most important two week battle of his life, with water pistols as weapons.

On Tuesday, Collins will use Logan Verrett in place of Jacob deGrom in the starting rotation. It’s possible Collins will have Harvey for only three or four innings a start down the stretch prior to the final weekend against the Nationals.

“It’s hard. It’s hard. We’ve waited five years to be in this situation. And now you’ve got you’re # 1 pitcher, you’ve got to worry about what he does. You’re # 2 pitcher, we’re skipping. The # 3 pitcher, we’ve already skipped, in a pennant race.”

For five years, Terry Collins has been a good soldier. He’s prodded, he’s nurtured, he’s hemmed and he’s hawed, sometimes biting his tongue but always optimistic.

Now on the verge of attaining a success many predicted Terry Collins would never be around to see, the Met manager is being asked to get it done in the most unconventional of ways. In his day starting pitchers were the ultimate warriors, today they are pampered, protected and swaddled in bubble wrap.

“It’s for the best of them. It’s for the best of the organization. And, so you suck it up, and move on, and get ready for the next day.”

Terry Collins, an old school warhorse, yet so too is an organization guy who knows the ropes. With his eyes fixed on the finish line, Terry Collins soldiers on.


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Collins Says Team Looks Tight, However Wright Disagrees Wed, 23 Sep 2015 13:33:08 +0000 david wright

After Tuesday night’s 6-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves, manager Terry Collins told reporters that the team has looked “tight” and “hit a wall” during their current homestand which has seen the team go 3-5. It will be the Mets’ first losing homestand of this season where they’ve played remarkably well at Citi Field.

“Coming into a homestand, we had a chance to make a huge impact with a very substantial lead, where nobody needed to be uptight,” Collins said. “We should have been quite relaxed with the lead we had. We should have been going out and playing the game nice and loosely and calm.”

However, the team’s captain David Wright, who homered last night and is batting .333 with a .975 OPS during this homestand disagreed with his manager.

“I don’t sense that anybody’s tight here or feeling the pressure,” Wright rebutted. “It’s playoff baseball, there’s going to be a little bit of pressure. We’re trying to make a push. I don’t sense it carrying over to the field.”

“We have to win series. We need to do a better job taking care of winning series, especially at home.”

The Mets continue to maintain their 6 1/2 game lead with just 11 games left to play this season and despite the loss, their magic number shrunk to six with upcoming series with the Reds and Phillies after tonight’s series finale with the Braves.

I’m not sure there’s anything to worry about here. We’re seeing a team that has grinded out over 150 games this season and some of the players may be feeling the effects of that just like all the other 29 MLB teams.

As soon as the Mets can clinch, which I believe will happen in Cincinnati, many of the regulars will get some well-earned rest to prepare for the NLDS against the Dodgers. For now, they’ll just have to chill out and finish the job. And that’s exactly what I believe they will do with David Wright leading the way.


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Terry Collins: This Is How You Win Pennants Sun, 23 Aug 2015 15:06:40 +0000 terry collins

Denver beat reporter Tracy Ringolsby of writes about how patience has paid off for Mets manager Terry Collins who is a big league manager for the third time.

He is having fun, writes Ringolsby, and it is not just because the Mets are in first place in the National League East. Mainly it is because Collins is so much more comfortable with his situation.

“I am much more patient,” Collins said. “That time in Houston if we lost a game I felt like it was my fault. I thought I had failed the team. The players could see it and they thought I was upset with them. I was mad at myself, but if affected the team. Now I make a decision. Some work, some don’t.”

“One thing I wanted to do here, was I told myself to enjoy it,” Collins said. “I told myself to have fun. It doesn’t change the way I do my job. I still work to find that edge every day, but this has really been fun.”

Fresh off the heels of consecutive 14-9 wins against the Colorado Rockies with a chance to sweep all seven games of the season series, Collins says his team is simply doing what good teams have always done – that is beat the bad teams.

“This is how a lot of teams win pennants. They beat teams you’re supposed to beat,” Collins told reporters after Saturday night’s game. “You come in here, and they play very good in their park. They’re tough to play here. You know what? We’ll go in tomorrow, hopefully Logan can give us five or six, and we’ll see where we’re at.”

“But this is a good stretch. It’s a stretch you’ve got to make hay, because we’re going to run into the Yankees, we’re going to run into the Nationals. We’ve got our work cut out for us. That’s why we’re taking each one we can get, because you don’t know what’s going to take place tomorrow.”

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Terry Collins Unsure Of His Future With The Team Sat, 15 Aug 2015 12:00:03 +0000 terry collins

With the recent success of the Mets, the pressure on the shoulders of manager Terry Collins seems to have lightened. Collins was asked Thursday about his future with the Mets and whether or not he has had any discussions with Sandy Alderson about the topic.

“That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for it,” Collins told Newsday when asked about whether he has a future with the Mets. ”I’m telling you, I don’t think about it. I think about playing golf in November. That’s the only thing on my mind right now.”

Collins has a team-option for 2016 which, if exercised, would keep him around for at least another year. The other option is to not exercise the option, in which case Sandy Alderson will either be shopping for a new manager come this winter or he will reward Collins with a multi year extension.

Thoughts from David Hong

If the Mets continue their recent winning ways and reach the playoffs, Collins could be a NL Manager of the Year candidate. That could give GM Sandy Alderson more pressure to give Terry a new contract.

Collins may be managing the most talented Mets team he’s ever had this year, armed with strong pitching and a recently improved offense. But he does deserve some credit when you consider all the adversity and especially all of the injuries the team has suffered, the second most days lost to the disabled list in baseball.

Collins has also done an excellent job of not letting the many distractions get in his or the team’s way during the season. He has been able to keep his team focused on each individual game through all the high points and low points of this season.

If the Mets do make the playoffs or even if they fall short but make a significant run and battle hard, Collins should be a safe choice to return in 2016.

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Lagares Rewards Collins With Impressive Day At the Plate Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:01:54 +0000 juan Lagares

During the Mets 4-0 win over the Rockies, Juan Lagares had one of his best games of the season. He collected three hits in five at-bats, and he drove in two RBI.

He led off the game with a double in the first inning, and he then belted another extra base hit that drove in Travis d’Arnaud and Ruben Tejada in the 9th inning to extend the Mets’ lead.

George Wills of the NY Post says that Lagares made his manager look like a genius after Terry Collins predicted a breakout game for him.

“I fully expect a big game out of him because I think he has something to prove,” Collins had said a few hours before the game.

“Big league players are proud guys,” the manager said. “Every guy in that room has an ego. That’s what makes them great. They believe they’re good. He was playing every day and now he’s not and it doesn’t sit very well. Sometimes you have to prove you’re the guy that belongs out there. He’s been itching to go.”

Lagares increased his average to .257, but his OPS still lags behind at .630. Collins says the main problem for Lagares has been his discipline at the plate, which has been an issue for him ever since his days in the minor leagues.

“He knows what he has to do,” Collins said. “We’ve had enough conversations during the season to try to get him to understand.”

It’s been a rough year for Lagares, but he could attempt to salvage the season if he has more days like he did yesterday. Hopefully, last night’s performance is a sign that better days are ahead for the Mets’ 26-year old centerfielder.

“It’s a little hard,” he said. “But we’ve been winning a lot of games and that’s what matters. I’ll just keep working hard.”

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Alderson Gives Collins Vote Of Confidence, Replacing Him Never Discussed Sat, 04 Jul 2015 13:45:08 +0000 terry-collins-ap2

Sandy Alderson told reporters in Los Angeles on Friday that it would be “grossly unfair” to put any blame about the the team’s play the last two months on Terry Collins and said there’s been “absolutely no discussion” about whether to fire the Mets manager.

Alderson said the injuries that have led to the recent slide were unfortunate but hardly the fault of Collins who has kept the team motivated and battling under extreme circumstances.

“We’re a .500 team, we haven’t been moving in the right direction, I understand that,” Alderson said. “We’ve had a lot of people hurt for long periods of time. We’ve got some young guys in particular that are not hitting. We’ve got some older players that have had to try to carry the load. I think to put all of this on Terry would be grossly unfair.” (ESPN NY)

The Mets are 28-37 since starting the season at 13-3 and at one point this season the held an 8 game lead over the Washington Nationals which has since evaporated and become a 3.5 game deficit..

“This is not a Terry Collins watch,” said Alderson. “As I said, I think it’s very unfair to put a lot of the way we’ve played over the last few weeks on Terry. We’ve got five or six guys that are hitting under .200 for the last two, three, four weeks. You can go right around the infield. You can go to parts of the outfield. That’s got to turn around.”

“But, I’ve talked to the hitting coaches. I understand what we’re doing. They see progress. I see progress in terms of peripherals. That’s not to say we’re going to stick with the players that we have, but there are reasons hidden among a lot of the angst that we’ve experienced for some optimism with the players that we have. We’re also looking at ways to change things up a little bit.”

Collins is 344-385 in five seasons as the Mets manager.

July 3 – Will Collins Pay The Ultimate Price For Alderson’s Mess?

The Mets’ Terry Collins isn’t a great manager, but far from a terrible one. The hitting slump continued today as the Mets scored only one run in being swept by the Chicago Cubs, which erased any positive thoughts garnered from sweeping the Reds.

April’s 11-game winning streak is forgotten; archived in Mets’ trivia.

With the Mets not hitting, there was nothing Jacob deGrom could do, although he was lucky he didn’t break his hand or a couple of fingers when he punched out a water cooler. That would have been typical Mets, wouldn’t it?

Collins told reporters after the game, “we have to lighten up a bit. … More guys fail in this game from fear than they do a lack of talent.”

Although Collins remains supportive of his team – and his players generally play hard for him – radio talk shows roast him on a regular basis, and stories are percolating about his future. One writer I greatly respect, Newsday’s David Lennon, did so in Thursday’s editions, and nailed it when he said pressure on Collins is “not fair, or right … but it’s reality.’’

Also reality is Collins isn’t getting help from ownership or general manager Sandy Alderson, who said in his book – that proclaimed him as the game’s smartest general manager – he didn’t have any confidence in his manager.

Nice, huh? What a way to instill confidence in your team. You say stuff like that when the manager is not under your employ. Do you think that didn’t go unnoticed by the players? It will certainly be brought up when the ax falls on Collins.

The Mets, a team whose rotation was largely put together by former general manager Omar Minaya, is good enough to win most games with even a little support. They haven’t gotten much, if any, this year. Of their 40 losses, 21 have been by two or fewer runs. They have been shut out nine times; and 29 times (including wins) scored two or fewer runs.

Yeah, that’s Collins’ fault.

Shouldn’t we instead dish blame on the Wilpons for not allowing for a budget needed to acquire a top-drawer hitter? Especially considering they received positive nods in the courts – not to mention a $167 million windfall – in the Madoff case.

Or, how about Alderson, whose only offensive acquisition of quality, was the project Curtis Granderson, but there’s still 2 1/2 seasons to see if this was a plus or a minus.

The Mets have also had a long line of hitting coaches – they haven’t had a collective clue at the plate since firing Rick Down – with Kevin Long the latest flavor of the moment seemingly unable to reach any of them.

Yes, the Mets have had injuries, but all teams do. Washington has arguably been hit harder. The Nats are currently without Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman but have still won nine of their last team.

Ultimately it comes down to the players.

Collins can’t hit for his players, and as hard as he tries to pound fundamentals into them, it just hasn’t sunk in. Too many strikeouts, not enough walks, not enough situational hitting, and too many wasted at-bats.

The Mets’ team batting average is a league-low .232 by nine points. They have a paltry .297 on-base percentage. I don’t need any of the new sexy stats to tell me how badly they’ve hit. I see it with my own eyes.

Including today, they’ve scored 277 runs (3.4 a game). The Mets have also struck out 620 times (7.7).

No worries, things should be better when the Mets go into Los Angeles and face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Then, it’s on to San Francisco where they get Chris Heston, who threw a no-hitter at them at Citi Field, and Matt Cain.

By that time, they could be four games under .500, maybe more, heading into the All-Star break. Perhaps by then Alderson will make a trade or two, but the question will then be as a seller and not a buyer?

Collins will eventually take the fall for Alderson’s inability to put a representative team on the field. Alderson wasn’t able to fill the void created by Wright’s injury. For years now, Alderson failed to bring in any quality hitters – or even one.

Instead, Alderson has worked on his comedy routine – several times at the expense of Wilmer Flores – with his latest quip calling the media and fans “residents of Panic City.’’

Of course, the condescending Alderson was telling us we’re not as smart as him. Sandy, I might not be able to build a watch, but I can tell time.

And, what you’re doing isn’t working. If Collins goes, you should, also.

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MMO Fan Shot: I’m Mad As Hell Thu, 25 Jun 2015 02:30:05 +0000 mad-as-hell

An MMO Fan Shot by Tom Starita

After a lifetime of telling us to do this at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, I think it’s time to finally listen to Howard Beale…

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s on the disabled list or scared of losing their job. Our shortstop’s not a shortstop; Cuddyer is going bust; we don’t have a leadoff hitter; teams are taking advantage of our lack of bullpen depth, and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the team can’t hit and the team can’t field. And we sit watching our TVs while some Gary Cohen tells us that today we struck out twelve times and lost six in row, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

We all know things are bad — worse than bad – they’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go to Citi Field anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my 1986 DVDs and my Grand Slam Singles and my Tom Seaver highlights, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

Well, I’m not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Commissioner, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about our mediocre manager and frozen general manager and the Wilpons and how they don’t have any money.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve gotta say, “I’m a New York Mets fan, goddammit! My fandom has value!”

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!”

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Tom Starita. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Now’s The Time To Replace Collins With Backman Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:00:49 +0000 terry collins

Since their 11-game winning streak in April, the Mets have gone 23-32. In that span they squandered a dozen excellent pitching performances that they should have won.

The team has lost all semblance of the fundamentally sound team we saw in April, and players look lost at the plate either striking out or hitting lazy grounders and fly balls. The team was never good defensively, but lately its been exponentially worse.

Despite all that, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that organizational officials have insisted Terry Collins’ job as manager is not in any jeopardy.

“Though Collins is unsigned beyond this season and would be an easy scapegoat, there is a “we’re all in it together” sense within the organization, according to a source, as the front office and manager work toward finding a solution to the team’s dreadful offensive production.”

Puma adds that the Mets officials he’s spoken with all continue to view the glass as half full, noting despite an outlandish number of injuries, the club has managed to stay above .500 and was first in the division as recently as Saturday.

wally backmanJoel Sherman, on the other hand, suggests now is the time to replace Collins with Wally Backman because this is the easiest way to “throw red meat” to the true believers.

By dismissing Collins and hiring Backman, Sherman says the Mets can find out if his fiery persona could defibrillate these Mets, especially from their growing ledger of mental miscues.

If in fact the Mets were to make the switch, they’ll get a half-season to judge Backman without any future commitment.

And if he succeeds, Sherman says they would have their future manager and can probably pay him whatever they want. Something that would certainly appeal to ownership.

Another candidate who gets a lot less airtime than he should is Pedro Lopez, currently the manager of the Double-A Binghamton Mets.

Lopez, like Backman, is a brilliant strategist between the white lines and is just as well respected by his players as Wally is.

Either way you go you’re getting leaders who are focused on winning and known to be excellent motivators and stickers for sound baseball fundamentals.

The difference between the two is the baggage and Backman’s reputation for being a loose cannon.

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How Bad Does Mets Management and Ownership Want To Win? Wed, 10 Jun 2015 22:13:03 +0000 1433945119031

I should be numb after last night, but quite frankly I’m not. I’m not scared, devastated, or hopeless either. In fact I’m not feeling any of the emotions I’ve encountered in the Mets blogosphere this morning ranging from sad and pathetic to whiny and unsettling.

Maybe it’s because watching the Mets offense get no-hit didn’t surprise or shock me. Or maybe it’s because in the grand scheme of things it was just one loss, no different or worse than any other, but stark in that it put an exclamation point on what the real underlying issue has been for the past month and a half. Yes, that must be it, I’m sure of it…

Last night was a call to arms for a general manager who has watched idly as the Mets absorbed one big hit after another in the losses of David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud and Daniel Murphy. A general manager who has watched his team go from a  surprising 15-5 start only to spiral into a 16-23 drunken stupor while somehow continuing to maintain a flimsy and unlikely hold on first place in the National League East.

And let’s face it, the Mets offense was just as impotent and underwhelming during their wickedly hot start when they were healthy, as they are now. They needed help even before Wright ended up on the shelf.

The difference between the team we saw in the first three weeks of the season and the one we’ve seen over the last four weeks is undoubtedly the starting pitching. They’ve gone from ridiculously dominating to just plain old good. And coupled with the same woeful lack of offensive production… Well, you see what’s happening… A lot of narrow victories and too many crushing defeats. Or as I tabbed it last week, our Mets reality.

Not much has changed really. The Mets still need the same two things to happen if they are serious about playing October baseball this season – something they wouldn’t stop squawking about back in March and April.

They need Sandy Alderson to add a true difference-maker and Fred Wilpon to open up his wallet. Two things that seem as far-off and distant today as it was three years ago.

Back then, when I wrote that going after a significant difference maker – either by trade or by contract – simply wasn’t in Alderson’s DNA, I was met with a lot of negative feedback and fans unwilling to believe it.

“Sandy will get a big bat when the team is ready!” represented the overwhelming majority of retorts I was getting. And three years later I still stand by what I said. It’s not in his DNA.

So you take a stance like that and couple it with an ownership unwilling to spend what it would take to fix the team and what do you get?

More moving of the goalposts…

And in the last few days alone I’ve read in the Post, Daily News and today in the Record, things like this:

“Management’s fallback is to say they’re really targeting 2016.”

From 2014 to 2015 to 2016…

After a while you get tone deaf from hearing ownership and management say, “This is the year!” every offseason and spring training.

It’s really become more of a marketing ploy to see how many loyal fans they can get to buy season tickets.

The phrase has lost its luster and impact because nobody trusts the owners or management.

Thanks to a few great returns when the Mets pawned off their only major league stars in a fire sale – props to Sandy for that – and reaping the rewards of the past regime’s so-called barren system – props to Omar for that – the Mets find themselves in first place this morning.

However staying in first place is another story and one whose final chapter has yet to be written.

How bad does management and ownership want to win this season?

Well, that’s the paradox for this Mets team. I fear that team brass is already transitioning into 2016 by the looks of it. Sink or swim, the players are on their own this season.

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