By Ed Coleman
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Could we maybe give the guy a chance? If you listen to Mets fans, new manager Terry Collins might as well have a two month contract as opposed to his two years plus an option which he signed on Tuesday.
Caretaker. Short-timer. That’s the popular sentiment espoused since the news of Collins’ selection broke. Don’t worry, he’ll tank and then the Mets will move in Wally Backman to straighten things out. Not so fast. New G.M. Sandy Alderson detailed the reasons why Collins was chosen.
Collins himself admitted on Tuesday that he’s full of … well, a lot of things.
The new Met manager has been in the game a long time – and he makes no excuses for his intense approach and style.
Collins stepped aside in his last managerial gig after a player uprising in Anaheim, led by Mo Vaughn and other veteran players, questioned his methods of operation. But Collins wanted to allay fears that he is a modern-day Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty – his crew will have a say.
Look, Backman was not getting this job for several reasons. His second or call-back interview did not go well, he’s not a seamless fit with the Alderson-DePodesta-Ricciardi axis in the front office, and, let’s face it, he still carries a lot of baggage with him at a time when the Mets need to clean up a lot of loose ends. Current 3B coach Chip Hale was closer to getting this job than Backman was. Collins was maligned for possibly having the game pass him by, not having managed in the majors for 11 years (1999). He answered that charge as he took over on Tuesday.
Collins believes there are many misconceptions about his managerial philosophy and personality as he assumes control of the Mets. For one, he is not as much of a hard-line disciplinarian as he’s been made out to be.
Shortstop Jose Reyes is a high-spirited individual, some would say over-the-top at times, which could lead to resentment from or retaliation by the opposition. Do the celebrations of Reyes and the antics of other players bother an old-school guy like Collins? For the most part no – but with a hitch.
Unfortunately for Met fans, barring a trade, the hiring of Collins may be the biggest off-season splash that the club will make. Alderson re-iterated that the organization will look at but probably not dive into the free agent market.
With ace Johan Santana’s availability very much up in the air for next season, pitching will be an even more important focus and priority, and Alderson expanded on closer Francisco Rodriguez’ role and usage for 2011.
Alderson also confirmed that the Mets have offered salary arbitration to much-sought-after lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano, a target of many clubs thus far this off-seaon.
Look for Mookie Wilson to be named first-base coach, and for someone with a less-intense personality (not Larry Bowa) to be alongside Collins in the Mets’ dugout as his bench coach. Better or worse, richer or poorer – the Collins era has begun.
C U soon
- New Mets Manager Terry Collins On The FAN (cbsnewyork.com)