Mets’ Collins Can’t Say Goodbye To Summer With Matsuzaka

Terry Collins has been endorsed by this blog several times to come back to manage the New York Mets next season, but only if that is a multi-year contract. Collins should tell the Mets “no thanks,’’ and walk away if the contract offer is for one year or one plus an option. Anything else puts him in lame duck status and that’s not fair.

Collins doesn’t have many “serious’’ choices left season, excluding the naming of his lineup. In that regard, Collins would be absolutely foolish to start Daisuke Matsuzaka as the starter in the season finale Sunday at Citi Field.

NIESE: Want to see him one more time. (AP)

NIESE: Want to see him one more time. (AP)

“I’ll probably go with Daisuke,’’ Collins told reporters in Cincinnati prior to today’s game. “He’s one of those guys who loves to pitch. He could throw 125 pitches in a game and be ready to go three days later without being the worse for wear.’’

I don’t give a damn if he loves to pitch. And, regardless of how many pitches he throws he won’t have another game three days later. Based on his performance for the Mets, he might not get a spring training invite to Port St. Lucie. He should only get one if the Mets are thin on starters, definitely not on merit.

So, why bother starting him? The ball has to go to Jon Niese, and if the reasons aren’t obvious to Collins, allow me the liberty to point them out.

Matsuzaka’s body of work with the Mets has been slightly above that of bad. It is the last day of another loss season, so why would you want to leave the fan base of that as the season’s last memory? Why give them a foul taste?

It is reminiscent of Jerry Manuel’s decision to pitch Oliver Perez in the final game of the 2010 season. Perez had been a cancer, both on the mound and in the clubhouse, that year yet Manuel decided to leave that image. Maybe, and I don’t discount this, he was sticking it to the Mets, whom he knew wouldn’t bring him back.

Maybe he was telling the fans who continually booed him to go to hell. Who knows? We haven’t heard from Manuel since.

In contrast, the Mets are negotiating to bring back Collins, so why, on a day the franchise is honoring Mike Piazza, will he want to leave Matsuzaka as the “good-bye to 2013’’ image?

Just not smart.

The start has to go to Niese, who will be part of the franchise’s future. Don’t chance injury by taxing him, although it will be on short rest. Give him five innings max and turn it over to the relievers who have a chance to make next year’s team: Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, LaTroy Hawkins.

If the Mets had a sense of imagination, they would have had Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard throwing all this time and had them pitch in the season finale, only if for an inning or two. Say good-bye for the summer with a real look at the future.

I know, I know, it never would have happened because it would have meant tinkering with the 40-man roster. That’s a rule that should be modified so a team can showcase it’s minor league talent for one game in September, but only if has been eliminated.

But, it would have been a way of giving their frustrated fan base a glimpse into spring training.

And, one more thing, since David Wright is back, I don’t want to hear anything about resting him for a day this weekend.

If you’ve hung around this summer and you’re buying a ticket for this weekend, you deserve a chance to see him play.

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

13 thoughts on “Mets’ Collins Can’t Say Goodbye To Summer With Matsuzaka

  1. When I read that Collins said he might start Dice K the last home game this year on 3
    days rest I said to myself you have got to be kidding me? Why not start Niese, oh I
    know Terry wants to end the season for Niese on a high note which means Terry
    doesn’t want to take the chance that Niese might have a bad game and spend the
    winter upset about it? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of and Terry has to
    stop treating every player like a baby and let them play! I love it when the mets bring
    up a rookie Terry sticks him in the 7th or 8th hole to shelter him from the pressure for several games but as far as Niese is concerned I say let him pitch sunday!!

  2. Not sure starting Matzusaka in the final game is much worse than starting Nelson Figueroa or Miguel Batista, which we’ve seen in recent years.

    • I was at the Batista game. What was it, a complete game, 4-hit shutout? I couldn’t complain about that. Now, pulling Reyes after his bunt-for-the-batting-title in the bottom of the first, then Wright after the fourth inning? Don’t get me started.

  3. I have to completely disagree with almost everything said here.

    I wouldn’t object to Collins getting a multiyear deal, but there would be absolutely nothing wrong with the 1 year or 1 year option type deal. The “lame duck” stuff is vastly overblown…Collins dealt with things fine this year. And it’s not like he’s such a coveted commodity around the game that other teams would be begging for him if he leaves the Mets. If he “walks away” it is possible he walked away from his last managerial opportunity.

    And onto the player related stuff, while I can’t say I am terribly excited to watch Matsuzaka pitch. he actually has not been bad. Rough first couple of starts, but the last few he’s actually been good. And for the most part regulars only play part of the final game of the season anyway. Worrying about who pitches the last day of the season b/c that might be the “lasting image” for fans would be silliness. 6 more innings of Jon Niese isn’t going to make any difference in hwo the season is remembered and is absolutely not anything a manager should concern himself with. The last day of a non-contending year is a completely meaningless game.

    Same situation (and perhaps even more importantly) with Wright. While I hope he plays because he is by far the best player on this team, worrying about the fans getting to see him all 4 games should absolutely not be the priority. You’re the one that is always complaining about the Mets not being cautious enough with injuries. They’ve avoided playing him in more than 2 games in a row given all the time he missed. I think it remains undecided at the moment, but if the medical staff feels he is not ready to play 4 games in a row and think there is any level of risk involved, he should not play all 4 games just to appease the fans

    • Applesauce: Thanks so much for your comment. I hate the lame duck status as it becomes an issue whenever there is a bad stretch, which happened several times with the Mets this year. Matsuzaka hasn’t been bad lately and today’s start should earn him a spring training invite, which I wasn’t sure of before writing the post. You are right, I do write they aren’t careful enough with injuries. If they are resting him for that reason, so be it. If they are resting him for any other I can’t see it. Quick question for you: If the medical staff thinks four straight games is overplaying it, he shouldn’t be playing.-JD

      • Well I think resting Wright is more about just being cautious about working him back into game action after being out for so long than concern about the hamstring not being healed. Usually when players are out for an extended period of time, they work their way back into game action slowly in rehab games usually not playing full games and/or back to back games right away b/c they are not at full strength yet (but the only way to get at full game strength is playing games….batting practice can only do so much). Spring training(though obviously that’s an even longer layoff) is structured similarly where players don’t play full games everyday right away.

        They’ve let Wright play full games so they aren’t taking it quite as slow as a rehab assignment might, but it makes sense that they’ve given him some breaks as well. Hopefully now that he’s been back about a week they’ll let him play the final 4, but I wouldn’t begrudge them if they decide to stick to the plan they’ve been this week and end up sitting him one.

  4. Are you kidding me? Look at Dice-K’s last 4 starts for the Mets. 1.37 ERA and a whip under 1. He made a remarkable turnaround and should be welcome to vie for a starting job in the spring.

    • Tony: You are right, his last four starts have been good. Based on today, I will back off and say he will likely get an invite. Thanks for your comment. I hope you come back often.-JD

  5. I wonder what they will do with the coach and that guy in Vegas.

    Dice K pitched well today. He might be back. Having him and harangue with the young guys fight it out in Spring solves the pitching problems and gives room to let the young guys stay down to work on pitching.
    Pedro seems to be doing well and helps solve the lefty thing.

    You were mostly talking pitching so I will stop there

    • dave: Matsuzaka did pitch well today, good enough, I suppose, to warrant an invitation to spring training. However, that is no guarantee he has a job.-JD

  6. If I’m not mistaken, Walter Alston signed a one-year contract every year for 23 years with the Dodgers. Multi-year contracts guarantee nothing, and provide no job security. Talent development acquisition is the key to a lengthy tenure: two things rather beyond Collins’ control.