The first three years of Terry Collins’ tenure as manager of the New York Mets were all about developing young players and trying to inspire effort from a team with low expectations. Collins wasn’t expected to produce a winning team over the last three seasons — just a team that played hard on a daily basis.
But that’s not going to be good enough this season; the Mets are at a stage in the rebuilding process where it’s time to start producing wins on a regular basis. This is going to put a lot of pressure on Collins during the 2014 season. The excuses for not winning aren’t going to be accepted the way they’ve been the past few seasons, so if the Mets don’t remain competitive throughout the entire season, Collins will take the blame; and justifiably so.
The Mets are not without their weaknesses and the loss of Matt Harvey for the season because of Tommy John surgery was a major setback for the team, but the team also spent close to $100 million on free agents this winter. They have a lot of quality prospects who are close to being ready for the big leagues which negates any excuses Collins and the team have for not staying competitive throughout the season.
Moreover, Collins’ contract status puts even more pressure on him. He signed a new two-year deal following the 2013 season with a team option for a third season. However, he managed last season as a lame-duck manager, which showed that the Mets were non-committal about him. And with only one guaranteed year on his contract beyond this season, the Mets still haven’t made much of a commitment to Collins, making it relatively easy to fire him.
With few excuses left that will make losing acceptable and little commitment from the Mets, there is a ton of pressure on Collins in 2014, even early in the season. If things don’t go well, the Mets may not waste much time in relieving him of his managerial duties, meaing Collins could be managing for his job the first half of the 2014 season.