By Joseph Staszewski
In Terry we trust.
That’s essentially what was indicated by the New York Mets when it was reported last week that manager Terry Collins will likely be back for a fifth season in 2015.
The skipper has been the target of the fan bases’ ire of late because of his questionable in-game moves and the fact that the club took steps backward after the All-Star break despite the National League East title and a playoff spot there to be pursued.
As the Mets finish up what appears to be a sixth-straight losing season and the fourth under Collins, does he deserve to be trusted to coach the Mets when they are hopefully ready to contend in 2015?
The answer is no.
It should be plain to see for general manager Sandy Alderson and ownership that it’s time for a new direction even with Collins owed around $1 million in the final guaranteed year of his contract. It is what normal sports franchises that care about winning do when the club gets stuck at a certain level.
It is what the Mets did in 1984 with Davie Johnson, in 1997 with Bobby Valentine and again in 2005 with Willie Randolph. Except this time it doesn’t look like fan favorite Wally Bachman is on his way to manage in Queens anytime soon.
The Mets’ concern since Bernie Madoff cleaned out the Wilpons’ coffers hasn’t been breaking through but not breaking the bank.
Collins hasn’t been able to get this team past mediocrity. The Mets twice appeared ready to take the next step as a ball club but regressed instead. They were 46-40 the first half of 2012 and proceeded to go 28-48 the rest of the way. This year the Amazin’s surged into the All-Star break at 45-50 with just seven games out of first place.
Since then they have stumbled through the second half of missed opportunities to a record of 59-66 after last weekend. The Mets have not won more that two games in a row just before the break and have not been less than four games under .500.
Collins leaves you scratching your head sometimes with moves like double switching Golden Glove caliber centerfielder Juan Lagares out of a tie game for the since-demoted Chris Young Aug. 7 with the Mets in position to take a series against the first-place Washington Nationals.
He used now eighth-inning man Jeurys Familia just five times with the bullpen struggling from April 11 to May 1 after he lost a game in this third inning of relief and started the aging Bobby Abreu way too much. It is the little things that can be the difference.
Bad baseball decisions become even more magnified in a pennant race. If Collins just gave us a preview of what’s to come, then he and the Mets should part ways. Sure, the front office has gone out of its way to give him the resources to be a playoff team, but the Mets should have taken bigger strides toward that by now. Collins has done his best with subpar rosters, but it’s time to move on.
Bringing Terry Collins back would prolong the feeling that the organization is satisfied with mediocrity, lacks accountably and is continuing to think about the numbers in the wallets and not the standings.
It’s time to move on from all of it, including the manager.