There have been reports indicating that barring a collapse at the end of the season, the New York Mets intend to bring manager Terry Collins back as manager in 2015. Even with the team just barely hanging around the periphery of the playoff picture with time quickly running out to make a run, Collins is hardly the key figure to blame in what will likely be the sixth straight losing season for the Mets. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of bringing him back to manage next season.
Granted, the 2014 season was billed as the year the Mets would start to contend again, which won’t exactly be the case unless they can rattle off a long winning streak in the near future, but Collins isn’t at fault for that. There’s only so much Collins can do with the players he has, which is a group of players strikingly similar to the teams of the past couple of seasons. All the payroll the Mets had coming off the books after last season was used on an outfielder who’s a little past his prime, an outfielder who was recently cut, a pitcher in his 40s and a slew of veteran relievers who have long since been released. The team has also played the entire season without the best starting pitcher and closer.
It’s not Collins’ fault that there were no other options at shortstop other than Ruben Tejada, nor is it his fault that Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud got off to such slow starts. Collins has made his share of mistakes, but what he’s largely responsible for is the effort of the team he puts on the field; and there’s no denying that the Mets have put forth great effort this season and gotten the most out of the talent they do have on the roster. In that sense, bringing Collins back is justified.
Of course, bringing Collins back for 2015 isn’t necessarily a ringing endorsement. Even if he’s brought back, there’s no indication that his option for 2016 will be picked up before next season. This would make him a lame duck manager in 2015 for the second time in three seasons, making it easy for the team to fire him if they get off to another slow start.
In the end, it comes down to the Mets being able to get someone better to be the team’s manager, and after six losing seasons and with a front office that’s either unable or unwilling to significantly increase the payroll, people aren’t exactly lining up to be the next manager of the Mets. There are certainly a few other options for the Mets to consider, and they should do so. But despite a losing record throughout his tenure, it’s tough to imagine a manager doing better at managing a team so void of talent the way Collins has done.
Yes, the fanbase is losing patience, most notably with Collins, but he deserves such a small percentage of the blame for the team’s losing during his tenure considering the talent he’s had to work with. He’s handled the team well during the prolonged rebuilding effort, and there’s never been an issue with the team’s on-field effort. For that reason there’s nothing wrong with retaining Collins as Mets manager for the 2015 season.