After two exciting games coming back from the All Star Break, the Mets came crashing back down to Earth on Sunday to remind everyone that this team is all but mathematically out of the playoff race.
You can point fingers at whoever you want, but many believe that manager Terry Collins will be the fall-guy once the season ends. After the Mets were eliminated in the wild card last season, Collins said the 2016 season really wore him down both physically and emotionally.
“I just need to re-evaluate at the end of this coming year what’s going on, where I am, how I’m feeling,” Collins told Adam Rubin of MetsBlog. “I’ve always said a lot of it will be dictated by how I’m feeling. This was a tough year.”
Asked whether next season would be his last if next October he feels physically like he does now, Collins said: “That’s right.”
Having guided the Mets to their fifth NL championship in franchise history, and consecutive trips to the postseason in ’15 and ’16, Collins leaves behind a great legacy and I’m pretty certain his exodus will not be contentious.
That said, here are some names that we’ll probably be hearing a lot about when Sandy Alderson goes about the business of finding a new skipper for the 2018 season.
When the manager gets ejected from a ballgame, the bench coach takes over. It makes sense to at least consider Mets bench coach Dick Scott. Before replacing Bob Geren as bench coach in 2016, Geren was the Mets’ minor league field coordinator from 2011-12 and had been the team’s director of player development from 2013-2015. Scott knows and has worked with many of the young players that comprise the current Mets roster as well as prospects like Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. He is extremely well liked and respected by everyone in the organization, but his presence on the coaching staff may work against him if the Mets are looking to change the team’s image.
Dick Scott’s predecessor Bob Geren was bench coach for the Mets for four years when bolted for the West Coast after the 2015 season, citing personal reasons. On the coaching staff when the Mets went to the World Series, Geren built a good reputation which certainly helped him land his current job as bench coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He knows most of the players well, and having been on the 2015 World Series team’s coaching staff provided him with some valuable postseason experience.
This is the first Mets third baseman on this list, but the only one with managing experience. Robin Ventura, who played for the Mets from 1999 to 2001 and hit the famous Grand Slam Single, managed the Chicago White Sox from 2012-2016. He amassed a 375-435 record with unspectacular talent on his roster, finishing as high as second in the AL Central (2012) and as low as fifth (2013). He is a familiar face who is already on the good side of most Met fans and should certainly be considered. His reputation as an aggressive player was often on display as manager, and he was stickler for fundamentals and playing the game right. he’s going to eventually get another shot to manage, could it be with the Mets?
Pedro Lopez has been a member of the Mets organization for the past ten seasons (2008-2017). He is the current manager of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s and had spent the previous five seasons as manager of Double-A Binghamton (2012-16). He compiled a five-year regular season record in Binghamton of 377-329 (.534). He was named the 2013 Eastern League Manager of the Year after coaching Binghamton to an 86-55 record (.610), a franchise record. He guided Binghamton to three straight EL playoff appearances (2013-15) for the first time in franchise history. He’s risen up the ranks in the minors just like a prospect, and currently has the team’s top two prospects putting up record numbers with both on the verge of big-league debuts. Could Lopez make his big-league debut as well?
Chip Hale was the Mets third base coach for many years, and was a finalist the last time the manager spot was open, but obviously lost to Collins. He has since coached with the Diamondbacks and his current team the Athletics, where he was the third base coach but shifted to bench coach to replace Mark Kotsay who took an indefinite leave of absence. Hale was a good third base coach with the Mets and could certainly be an option for manager now. He’s definitely a player’s manager but has a tough outer shell and demands 100 percent effort from his players.
I continue to root for David Wright to come back and be able to play. Is that realistic? Probably not, but he is one of the best players ever to wear a Mets uniform and is still the team Captain. If his comeback does not work out, there is a way he can remain in the Mets dugout, though – as manager. He is already under contract through the 2020 season, and while it would make him the highest paid manager by far (with Joe Maddon in second at $5 million in 2017), it makes sense otherwise. The players respect him, the fans love him, and he seems to be a sharp guy with a good baseball IQ. If he takes the job and keeps rehabbing, who knows – maybe he could supplant Pete Rose as the last player-manager.