What are some words one might use to describe New York Mets manager Terry Collins? Fiery, passionate, or intense would all be good places to start for the man about to begin his third season guiding the Mets. One word that you probably wouldn’t use is lame, but when it comes to the 2013 season, you could go with the phrase “lame duck” to describe Collins.
Collins is in the last year of his contract with the Mets, and as the season approaches, there appears to be no indication that the Mets will offer him an extension before the season gets underway, forcing him to manage this season under “lame duck” status. Both Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson insist that his contract status isn’t an issue, and both say they are fine proceeding with the season the way things are. But how can that be the case? Are the Mets simply setting up Collins to fail?
The Mets have spent such a miniscule amount of money this offseason trying to improve the team, failing to adequately fill all the holes on their roster, which shows a lack of focus on the 2013 season, and more of a commitment toward 2014 and beyond. On top of that, the team traded away reigning Cy Young award winner R .A. Dickey, erasing the 20 games he won last season from the roster, again in favor of players that will be most valuable beyond the 2013 season. How could Collins be expected to manage a winner under these circumstances? How could an organization claim that it’s serious about winning in the present, but put their manager in this position?
Collins, to his credit, has done a fine job of managing the Mets the past two seasons. But no matter how impressive the job Collins has done, each of his first two seasons in Flushing ended in frustration and disappointment, and the Mets have done nothing this offseason to prevent that from happening again.
Without a certain level of success this season, the Mets would have no reason and no obligation to offer Collins an extension. Of course, the Mets have done so little to support Collins that there’s almost no reason to expect that type of success; and so it would appear that the Mets have indeed set up Collins to fail and are content to keep him around only until the season ends or the team’s record is bad enough during the season to justify firing him. Either way, his status as a lame duck is no accident; it’s merely a way to make it easier to fire him and move on to the next guy. Oddly enough, the guy that gets to manage the Mets in 2014 and beyond will actually have a fighting chance at succeeding; it just won’t be Collins.