Terry Collins is helping rebuild the Mets’ house and should get a chance to move in.
When the Mets hired GM Sandy Alderson the timetable was for three to four years. Rebuilding teams initially lose, which is the case for Collins’ Mets. There was promise in 2010, the second-half collapse of 2012, and things aren’t projected to be much better than last year’s 74 wins this summer.
COLLINS: Deserves endorsement from Mets. (Photo: MLB)
There are no promises beyond this year, but Collins does have the endorsement of his best player.
“That would be great,’’ David Wright told reporters in Port St. Lucie if he wanted Collins back. “He is a perfect fit, a perfect mold for the type of team that we are building.’’
Wright’s words should carry weight.
Three straight losing seasons is usually not the way for a manager to get a contract extension, but Collins’ case is unique.
Other managers inherit teams with limited talent as did Collins, but things are always just a little more skewed with the Mets, beginning with their financial restrictions.
I was talking with a friend of mine recently and the topic turned to baseball, and in particular, the overwhelming number of statistics in today’s game. Most are relevant, but others are too much. Does anybody really need to know David Wright’s slugging percentage on afternoon games played on Tuesday?
I’m old school, and my first three statistics in evaluating a position player are average, homers and RBI. The game has evolved and there are far more elaborate and sophisticated methods to measure performance. That doesn’t mean all the traditional numbers are obsolete.
I understand the significance of WAR and OPS, but sometimes that’s thinking too much and not as accurate as one might argue.
Do you realize the two highest paid Mets outfielders are players no longer with the team?
That’s right; Jason Bay and Bobby Bonilla will make more this year than the Mets’ current outfield of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd.
BONILLA: Will be cashing Mets checks for a long time.
The Mets made both decisions to get out of bad situations and maintain cost certainty, but in this case it came back to bite them. The first thing a financial advisor tells you is previous success is not a guarantee of future success. The Mets didn’t consider that advice.
Add the $3 million buyout to what the Mets owed Bay (including interest) and it comes to $21 million, paid out in a lump sum and deferred payments over the next several years. The deal also made Bay a free agent and he signed with Seattle. That gave Bay the chance to collect from two teams. Nice deal for him.
The Mets liked the arrangement because the Bay signing was a bust and this freed money for GM Sandy Alderson.
As for Bonilla, the Mets wanted to release him prior to the 2000 season, but didn’t want to eat the $5.9 million on his contract. Instead, the Mets agreed to a 25-year, $29.8 million deferred plan that pays Bonilla nearly $1.2 million annually. Including his pension, income from the Players Association and whatever investments he owns, Bonilla has a great retirement package. Oh, I forgot, there’s also social security.
Like every manager in the history of the game, I love to tinker with batting orders. So much can happen between now and Opening Day, but when it is below freezing it is as good a time as any to think of what Terry Collins’ lineup could be this summer.
Collins is on record with Ruben Tejada in the leadoff slot, but I’m suggesting a different direction.
NIEUWENHUIS: Trying him at leadoff.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis had limited success last season when he first arrived, but pitchers figured him out. I’d like to give Nieuwenhuis the chance to lead off because he demonstrated patience and the ability to slap the ball around and run. If he can become more disciplined he could develop into a good leadoff hitter, and since we’re thinking long-term let’s give it a try because there’s an upside with Nieuwenhuis hitting first.
Tejada would hit second because he has good bat control, knows how to work a pitcher and can bunt. All are ideal for a No. 2 hitter. Tejada can also hit-and-run and steal a base. If Tejada can do all those things, it could get a running game going with Nieuwenhuis. If Nieuwenhuis doesn’t pan out as a leadoff hitter, Tejada would go back to the top. Let’s give it a month.
Maybe the Mets will find somebody who is released at the end of spring training, but for now the Mets are looking at platoons in center and right field.
Center will feature Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill, and right field has Marlon Byrd and Mike Baxter.
Former Cardinal and Rockie Andrew Brown will also get a chance to compete.
None of these candidates, if they played fulltime, could be expected to hit the 20 home runs Scott Hairston did last season.
Any outfield power will come from Lucas Duda. Manager Terry Collins said he’s strong enough to hit 40 homers, but he can’t be projected to hit that many, or even.
Let him hit 20 first.