5 Questions New York Mets Manager Terry Collins Must Answer During Spring Training
New York Mets: 5 Spring Training Questions For Terry Collins
The 2014 season will be an important one for the New York Mets. The expensive contracts given to unproductive players have finally expired, which has allowed the Mets to reinvest that money and sign several new big-money free agents. That spending has signaled a new era for the Mets, an era in which the rebuilding process is coming to a close and the losing of the past five seasons will no longer be tolerated.
Of course, the 2014 season will also be an important one for Mets’ manager Terry Collins, who was the recipient of a new contract during the offseason after he managed the 2013 season as a lame-duck manager. Collins has lost more than he’s won during his tenure as manager of the Mets, but considering the collection of talent he was working with, he wasn't expected to win. But now that the Mets have added to their roster through free agency and many of their top prospects are ready or close to ready for the big leagues, Collins will now be expected to win.
In past seasons, Collins would get a positive job report if the Mets played hard and competed as best they could. He could also balance winning with developing younger players when making decisions. But now all of Collins’ decisions have to be geared toward the team winning, and with so much uncertainty on the roster, there are a lot of difficult questions to answer and a lot of decisions for Collins to make. Here are five questions Collins must answer during Spring Training in order to have success when the regular season begins.
5. How To Structure The Bullpen
The hope is that Bobby Parnell will be healthy and be the team’s closer, but Collins will have his hands full trying to get by without the team’s best relief pitcher if he's not ready. Even if Parnell turns out to be fine, Collins will have to figure out roles for a lot of young pitchers in the Mets’ bullpen. Deciding who his primary setup men will be could prove to be difficult as many of the pitchers the Mets have in the bullpen are inexperienced and haven’t proven themselves in the big leagues over an extended period of time. Collins will have to leave Spring Training with an idea of how he’s going to structure his bullpen this year, and that will be no easy task.
4. Who's The Opening Day Starting Pitcher?
It'll be hard for Collins to go wrong with this decision as he’s got four pitchers that one could argue are deserving of the honor. Of course, having that many good choices will make it hard to pick one. Also, selecting an Opening Day starter will affect the order of the starting rotation to begin the season, which is also an important decision Collins will have to make.
3. Who Hits Leadoff?
The Mets have one, and only one true leadoff hitter -- and that’s Eric Young Jr. But if he doesn't get on base enough in Spring Training and solidify an everyday job, Collins is going to have a big question in front of him with regards to who will hit in the leadoff spot this season. There aren’t a lot of good options, so it’ll be a tough decision for Collins. If he makes the wrong choice and has to keep making drastic changes to his lineup on a daily basis, it could hinder the Mets’ offense all season.
2. How To Find Playing Time For Four Outfielders
Unless there’s an injury to one of the Mets’ four outfielders during Spring Training, Collins will have to sort through the Juan Lagares-Eric Young Jr. debate and come up with an answer. The Mets need Curtis Granderson in their lineup and they assured Chris Young of regular at-bats, so deciding between Lagares and Young Jr. is going to be a tough decision for Collins to make as it may not be beneficial to platoon them.
1. Who's On First?
Collins hopes that the competition between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis will sort itself out during Spring Training, but there’s no reason to feel confident about either player. Of course, there are also several candidates in addition to Davis and Duda who could force Collins to think about a platoon at first base, further complicating the decision he has to make.
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