Terry Collins has not had a great season – with last week especially tough – but barring a total free-fall I see him returning next year as Mets manager.
If the Mets remain in contention until the end, and since “playing meaningful games in September,’’ is the Wilpons’ mission statement that should be the first points in Collins’ favor.
Not returning to the World Series isn’t a failure; a failure this year would be not competing. To fire a manager for not returning to the World Series would be grossly unfair if the circumstances are ignored.
As much as I disliked how Collins handled the Yoenis Cespedes Golfgate, it is reflective how he mostly has the backs of his players. The Mets don’t hit with RISP and frankly they haven’t done a lot of things well, but they always hustle.
Barring the occasional Cespedes lapse, his players bust it for him and that’s a sign the manager has the clubhouse. That wasn’t the case when the Mets fired Art Howe, Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel.
Also working in Collins’ favor – and he’s benefitted from this before – have been the multitude of injuries. The Mets are two games out of the wild-card today, but their situation would be a lot better if they had Matt Harvey, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jim Henderson and Juan Lagares, and Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard were completely healthy.
Bad years will happen, which has been the case with Curtis Granderson, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto, but their lack of production – in normal seasons – would have been off-set if the other guys were healthy.
But, that hasn’t been the case. Injuries happen and championship teams overcome, and so far the Mets are still afloat. That can’t be underestimated.
Finally, working in Collins’ favor is his relationship with GM Sandy Alderson, which I wrote last week has a disconnect. Alderson wasn’t complimentary of Collins in his autobiography and evidenced by Cespedes last week, there are still problems.
Collins manages the team Alderson gives him, and there are plenty of things to call the general manager out on regarding how he put this team together. However, Alderson is smart enough to know if Collins is made the scapegoat, then it will be he who takes what will be considerable heat.
For now, as long as the fans and media go after Collins, then he’s insulated. Collins’ presence is his safety net.
Look, I’ve gotten on Collins a lot this year, but to be fair his team is weathering the storm. I believe he will, and should, have next year.
Please follow me on Twitter