PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WFAN/AP) — Mets manager Terry Collins is keeping the faith.
As pitchers and catchers reported Tuesday, Collins said the Mets might find their own version of “Linsanity.” According to Collins, every team has a player like Jeremy Lin, the Knicks’ sofa-to-starter star, and that it’s all about providing opportunities.
He planned on telling players that, too.
“We don’t know who it’s going to be yet,” Collins said. “But every good team, there’s a surprise.”
During the winter when other NL East teams were loading up and the Mets were shedding talent, Collins said there was no sense of despair. He’s confident in a largely no-name roster.
“It’s human nature to say, ‘Wow, we’ve got a challenge on our hands,'” Collins said. “The thing I want to get these guys to understand is it’s not acceptable to say, ‘Well, we’re not supposed to be very good.’ I will not stand for that.”
In a nod to the perceived talent gap he added, “It’s not always the best team that wins, it’s the team that plays the best that wins. We’ve got to be that club.”
Collins was optimistic about the Mets’ chances despite the loss of shortstop Jose Reyes in free agency. The Mets could have a payroll of about $90 million to $95 million this year after starting last season at $120 million, not including $18 million owed released players Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.
“I think everybody in this clubhouse is really excited for a fresh start,” outfielder-first baseman Mike Baxter said. “Pessimism kind of ends at the clubhouse door.”
The 62-year-old Collins is rolling up his sleeves to face the challenge. He arrived at the training site at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to get in a workout and some private time, hoping to set an example for players who’d check in later and see their manager on the job. A manager who’ll always accentuate the positive, too.
“Last year, with all the things that happened, was the most fun I’ve had in managing,” Collins said. “Even though we had tough times with the injuries and we didn’t win as much as we wanted, I had a great time. Players bought into what we wanted to do, they bought into the system.”
Daniel Murphy will be his second baseman because “his bat plays and it plays real well.” Center fielder Andres Torres will be the leadoff man. Collins sees plenty of promise in 22-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada, who replaces Reyes at shortstop.
He anticipates bounce back years from third baseman David Wright and outfielder Jason Bay.
“I don’t want these guys to think there are no expectations,” said Collins. “There are expectations.”
Do you think there’s a no-name player on the Mets capable of carrying the team? Sound off below…
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)