As much as the New York Mets’ first-year manager Mickey Callaway wants to forge his own path as the new skipper, former manager Terry Collins‘ fingerprints are still very much on this team; and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Whether it be the messages and mantras that Terry preached or the half-softy/half-angry Dad persona he embodied so well, Collins’ seven years in New York helped shape not only the young players he was in charge of developing or the young men underneath the uniforms, but the landscape and future trajectory of the New York Mets franchise.
Injuries hurt this team after making their way to the cream-of-the-NL-crop in 2015. Collins shouldn’t be blamed for that. The fact that he was an originally unpopular choice to take the helm in Flushing and eventually turned his squad into a budding powerhouse can’t be overlooked, even if the Mets didn’t make it all the way to the promised land. This team is still full of guys that TC helped mold into the players they are today.
Take, for instance, Jacob deGrom. Affectionately called Jake by TC, he owes much of the credit for his attitude, mentality, intensity, and perseverance to Terry Collins. We all remember Collins coming over to deGrom in the dugout and putting his arm around him, giving him a few encouraging words to help Jake forget about whatever just happened and move forward.
The consistency of deGrom over his last few seasons and his ability to get things back in order after a bad start can, in my opinion, be directly linked back to those little chats between manager and pitcher. Not to discount the 29-year-old’s ability to get himself motivated, but the wise advice of an uber-experienced skipper can never hurt a young player’s psyche after a tough outing.
Juan Lagares likely wouldn’t be in MLB anymore if it wasn’t for Collins’ staying on him. TC made sure he kept improving his bat to bring it up to the level of his Gold Glove-caliber outfield play. While Lagares may not be there yet at the plate, all the work he’s put in to return from his major injuries and keep getting better can, certainly in-part, be credited to the motivational skills of his former skipper.
Jeurys Familia is another guy who clearly benefitted from a manager who wouldn’t let him get down on himself after a tough appearance. Although there hasn’t been a ton of them, whenever Familia did falter in the past, Collins never changed his managerial approach with him. He would say, to paraphrase, mistakes were made, make the adjustments, and get better from it.
That example could be cited in many more individual cases during his time as the Mets manager; it’s kind of his thing. Terry Collins remains in the organization as a consultant focusing on player development, which is and always has been his strong suit.
While his message as manager may have gone stale over the course of his tenure here, shades of Collins remain easy to spot and most likely will continue to be. I, for one, couldn’t be happier that the next wave of Mets homegrown-players will also have these valuable seeds of good work ethic and accountability sewn into them by one of the best to ever put on the Orange & Blue as skipper.