Is Mets’ Terry Collins Sending The Right Message?

New York Mets manager Terry Collins has recently been speaking with a sense of urgency we haven’t heard regularly this season.

With the Mets in the midst of losing 10 of their last 12 games, it can be hard to ascertain whether Collins’ intent is to spark his team with the allure of 2014 jobs or deflect attention of another lost season from himself.

Several times this summer I advocated an extension for Collins, and still believe so. However, recent comments come across as him throwing his young team and hitting coach Dave Hudgens under the bus, something a manager can’t do if he doesn’t want to lose his team.

COLLINS: Sending wrong message.

COLLINS: Sending wrong message.

Collins’ latest buzzword is “adjustments,’’ and that’s a direct reflection on Hudgens’ ability to teach.

“You’ve got to make adjustments,’’ Collins told reporters after the Mets were shut out for the second time in the series. “You can’t keep thinking you’re going to get balls to pull, or try to go up there and pull every pitch. … [You have to] realize what the opposing pitcher is doing to get you out, and try to come up with a plan to make an adjustment at the plate and put the bat on the ball.’’

That’s either saying his hitters are clueless or haven’t been taught properly by Hudgens. There didn’t appear that much angst with Ike Davis earlier this season, although there was some noise about Lucas Duda taking too much and Ruben Tejada hitting the ball too much in the air.

The Mets’ stated offensive approach coming out of spring training was to be patient, work the count and swing at your pitch. There’s been a disconnect in there somewhere.

“I know they’re young. That’s all part of it,’’ Collins said. “We want to see some guys get better. And part of that getting better is being able to gather yourself on the side, and get in the batter’s box, and put a good at-bat on.’’

Collins said there are jobs to be had and it isn’t hard to figure where he’s talking about: first base is between Davis and Duda; shortstop is open; and there’s room in the outfield.

“You’d think some of these guys would grab the opportunity that’s in front of them because of the injury issues on our club to say, `Here’s my chance to show I’m a major league player,’ ’’ Collins said. “And we’re not seeing it. We’re not seeing it at this moment, I can tell you.’’

Collectively, Collins said the Mets are starting to feel sorry for themselves.

“And I will not stand for that. Not in this clubhouse, not in this league,’’ Collins said. “You don’t feel sorry for yourself in this league. Nobody feels sorry for you in the game. Our guys in that room, because a lot of them are young, they better learn that lesson real fast. Because if they’re going to play here, they better learn how to bounce back.’’

That aspect of the game is mental and psychological, and a large part of that development falls on Collins. Part of his job when it comes to rookies and younger players is to put them in position to succeed and give positive reinforcement, but that doesn’t always happen here.

Players have played multiple positions, and some in which they are uncomfortable. These guys are smart enough to know their futures are on the line. They don’t have to be reminded of it. There’s enough pressure in this sport without the manager adding more.

There’s a fine line behind telling players the importance of a situation and crushing their confidence, and Collins has danced on it.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong and the problem is the players just aren’t good enough to begin with. If that’s the case, threatening them to get better isn’t going to work.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

6 thoughts on “Is Mets’ Terry Collins Sending The Right Message?

  1. Collins doesn’t care, he doesn’t have to, he knows he’s coming back in spite of the fact
    he keeps losing more games every year…that’s what sends a bad message. Get an extension
    when you lose more games every year, that is the example of Met success.

  2. Overall I like Terry. I have been reading that Wally is gone. He wants to get to the big leagues and is tired of AAA. I also read somewhere that Sandy doesn’t like him.

    Terry doesn’t have a contract. This changes the way you can coach, but you will be evaluated at the end of the year. I think we have done far better than I could reasonably expect given our history and talent. Now this is not all Terry. Buck and Byrd were very good. Parnell emerged. Harvey was great. Wheeler proved he belongs. We got Young who gave us speed and defense and Lagares came out of no where. Gee has pitched like a top of the rotation pitcher the second half and Niese has been mostly good.

    But the team plays. It plays good defense overall and is hustling this year. Surely the coaching staff has something to do with that.

    I think part of these comments is for you. Terry has been around long enough to know the press can run you out of town. Especially if you have no contract and are not a name coach. He knows that as soon as the season is over there will be a steady drumbeat to can Terry and bring in Wally. Count on it.

  3. My problem with Collins has been his propensity to fall in love with second and third tier players and overplays them to a point they begin to be over exposed. Turner is a nice enough player but Collins has used him over other players he should be looking at for example Flores before he injured himself.

  4. The problem is not Collins as much as Alderson. Collins is essentially a puppet for the front office. Met players know Collins cannot make a move without consulting Alderson. You cannot manage efffectively by committee, especially when the committee (Alderson and his two assistants–JP and Paul D) never wore a uniform…

  5. Pretty simple. Hudgens sucks. Let me rephrase that, he beyond sucks. Name a single young player who has exceeded offensive expectations?

    The team under Hudgens broke a 35 YEAR OLD strikeout record, not once, but twice!!! And this year did it with almost a month to go.

    He seriously needs to be canned, and now.

    Even sabremetricians with their over dependence on stats can tell you the best shot for a good pitch to hit before a deep count is the first pitch. How many time do the Mets attack?

    And their situational hitting is quite literally non existent.

    As an old batting coach and scout, I simply don’t understand how this guy has ANY job, let alone a major league one,