By Zach Gewelb
While the 2017 season has not gone as planned, it’s still an exciting time for Mets fans. Their top prospects have been summoned to the big leagues and performed reasonably well. Their injured stars are on track to return healthy for the 2018 campaign. But will manager Terry Collins still be the manager? Should he?
Collins has certainly had a fascinating tenure with New York. He arrived in Flushing in 2011 to little fanfare and posted just two winning seasons with the club. Of course, those two seasons came in 2015, when the Mets reached the World Series, and 2016, when the team fell in the Wild Card game.
Collins, 68, has seen his fair share of success and has been given a long leash in his seven years. During his tenure, the team has seen an unprecedented number of injuries, something out of his control. But how he responded to those injuries is where his managerial skills come into the equation.
More often than not, fans and reporters have been left questioning Collins’ decisions. He’s put together questionable starting lineups and has made some head-scratching bullpen moves over the years. Some of those decisions were made by the front office, but the onus falls on Collins to do the best with what the higher-ups give him, and he has shown a knack for being unable to do so.
Collins has never been great with the media, and has often clashed with players. So, with respect to Collins, it’s time for a new voice to lead the Mets.
But it’s not as simple as letting Collins go. The team needs to find a replacement. Let’s take a look at some potential candidates who may be available this offseason.
The veteran manager has done a good job in Washington, but has yet to lead the Nationals to the World Series championship the team and city craves. Baker is getting up there in years — he’s 68 years old, like Collins — but has a much better track record than Collins.
Baker is also known for holding his players accountable, something that could benefit Mets stars Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard, who tend do want to do things their way.
Baker, whose contract expires at the end of the season, may want to stay in Washington or move to another surefire contender. But given his age, he could also chose to retire.
Paul Molitor has led the Twins to some success this year despite the team having low expectations.
He has helped turn a young, inexperienced core into a potential playoff contender, and the Twins have a bright future.
While his contract is up at the end of the season, look for the Twins to extend Molitor in hopes of building on the team’s 2017 success. If they let him go, he’d be a prime candidate for the Mets.
The Yankees skipper is one of baseball’s better managers and could be available in the offseason. He has been with New York since 2008, so the Mets know he can hack it in town. He also is open to using advanced analytics, which is a trait that blends in well with the Mets’ front office.
Girardi, a former Manager of the Year winner, would be a great fit in Queens. And if the Yankees miss the postseason, there’s a chance he could be fired. But the Mets wouldn’t be his only suitor. Teams would line up for the chance to make Girardi their manager.
These are just three names who could be available. There are sure to be other candidates in a managerial search. But one thing is certain: It’s time for the Mets to walk away from Collins.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe