Terry Collins’ entire tenure as the manager of the New York Mets has been one long audition to stay with the team, one year at a time. Although his new contract is for two years with an option for a third year, all he’s really getting is one more year to audition as the team’s manager and prove himself worthy of staying.
When Collins became the Mets manager in 2011, he got a two-year contract with a team option for a third year. During his first three seasons as manager, the results in the standings haven’t been good, but the team has always played hard for him and has been as competitive as possible, especially considering the their financial situation and the lack of talent on their roster.
Each year, Collins has done just enough and won enough games to prolong his audition by another year.
The 2012 season was an audition for the Mets to pick up his option for 2013, which they did, but without offering him any kind of extension, making him a lame duck for the 2013 season. The 2013 season was an audition to get a contract extension for 2014 and beyond, which he has now received.
But Collins’ new contract is the same as his old one: two years with a team option for a third year. It’s essentially a two-year deal which offers very little commitment to Collins, and will allow the Mets to fire him after the 2014 season without a second thought if things aren’t working out.
Thus, Collins has yet another one-year audition if he wants to remain the Mets’ manager for a fifth season, but even then there would be little incentive for the Mets to make more of a commitment to Collins.
The lack of commitment on the part of the Mets is a reason why one has to ponder if Collins should have wanted to return to the Mets in 2014. But with only 30 MLB managerial jobs open, beggars can’t be choosers, and Collins certainly wants to be one of the 30 people with one of those jobs even if it’s with a team that hasn’t shown much confidence in him.
Collins should be excited that he got an extension, but let’s call this what it is: another one-year audition for Collins to prove that he’s the right guy to carry the Mets to the postseason, where they haven’t been since 2006. Of course, Collins has handled his one-year audition just fine in each of the last three seasons, so doing it one more time shouldn’t bother him.
But how much longer are the Mets going to string Collins along one year at a time? They should have either committed to him long term or cut him loose, because playing both sides is getting exhausting for the fan base. Just imagine how it must feel for Collins.