It’s Time to Fire Terry Collins
Normally, you don’t fire someone until you have a viable replacement in place. It’s not the prudent course of action, and ultimately, you can make matters worse by acting off raw emotion to quickly fire someone. However, it’s time. The Mets need to move on from Terry Collins despite the lack of an obvious suitable replacement.
This isn’t said lightly. It was his ability to manage the clubhouse that kept the team together last summer until the Mets could make the trades to add Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, and Yoenis Cespedes. Despite your impressions of his in-game management, Collins was the manager of a team that went to the World Series last year.
More than that, Collins appears to be a good man. He has written notes to Mets fans who are mourning the loss of a loved one. He stopped Spring Training practice so a young heart transplant survivor could meet his idols. Make no mistake, when you lose a human being of the caliber Collins is, your entire organization is worse off for it.
And yet, there comes a time when being a good person and past results need to be pushed aside. You need to focus on the job he’s doing and how he’s hurting the team.
This isn’t just about the Mets disappointing season thus far. You cannot pin a player underperforming on the manager alone even if Michael Conforto has regressed as the season progressed. Players certainly have to share in their responsibility as well. Furthermore, injuries have certainly played a part in this, and injuries cannot always be blamed on the manager.
It’s also not about Collins in-game management, which can be head-scratching at times. There are many factors at play to which we are not always privy. A player may feel under the weather or not ready to play in a game. Also, even if it may seem strange to people, a manager should be allowed to draw from 48 years of baseball experience to play a hunch every so often.
No, the reason why Collins needs to go is his decision making process and how it has hurt the team.
In April, there was his ill-advised decision to pitch Jim Henderson the day after he threw a career high 34 pitches. It was even worse when you consider Henderson is pitching in his first full season after having had his second shoulder surgery. Eventually, Henderson landed on the disabled list due to a shoulder impingement. Collins’ excuse for pitching Henderson was Henderson telling him before the game that “he felt great.”
That signals that what was Collins’ greatest strength is also his biggest weakness. He puts too much trust in his players leading Collins to sometimes play players when they shouldn’t be playing.
It was the big issue with Game 5 of the World Series. He let Matt Harvey talk his way back into the ninth inning despite Collins belief that the Mets should go to Jeurys Familia in that spot. That moment wasn’t about whether anyone thought it was the right move to let Harvey stay in the game. It was about Collins thinking it wasn’t he right move and his letting the player control the situtation.
Speaking of Familia, Collins recently overworked him as well. Over a six day stretch from July 22nd to July 27th, Familia had worked in four games throwing 76 pitches. He was tiring, and in his last appearance, Familia finally blew his first save. The following game the Mets got seven innings from Jacob deGrom, and the rest of the bullpen was fairly rested and ready to go. Instead, Collins went back to Familia who would blow his second save in a row. Collins’ excuse? He was going to sit Familia until Familia approached him pre-game and told him he was ready, willing, and able to pitch.
With Henderson, Harvey, and Familia, it appears that Collins is losing control to the players. That seemed all the more apparent during the Cespedes golfing drama. The Mets star player and key to their entire lineup had been hobbled for over a month due to a quad injury, and yet he continued to golf everyday. That was news to Collins who said, “I didn’t know he played golf until you guys brought it up. Had it been bothering him then, he would’ve said something about it, but not a word.” (Ryan Hatch, NJ.com).
It is not fair to blame Collins for Cespedes’ injury. It also isn’t fair to blame Collins for Cespedes playing golf. However, your star player is injured, and his injury is severely hampering your team. Doesn’t a manager have an obligation to speak with Cespedes knowing he is an avid golfer that played golf throughout the postseason last year despite having a shoulder injury?
On it’s own the Cespedes golf situation would be overblown as well as the aforementioned pitching decisions. If that was the only issue, you could argue Collins should be permitted to stay on as manager. However, his decision making this past week was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
On August 5th, the Mets lost a game 4-3. The fourth and decisive run was set-up by a J.D. Martinez double. Upon replay, it appeared that Matt Reynolds had held the tag on Martinez appeared to came off the bag. Reynolds looked into the dugout, but there would be no challenge. Now, that’s not necessarily Collins’ fault as he is relying upon the advise of the replay adviser. However, it was important to denote this when setting the stage for what happened the following night.
The Mets trailed the Tigers 7-6 in the top of the ninth. Jay Bruce started a two out rally in the top of of the ninth, and he would try to score from second off a Travis d’Arnaud single. Martinez would throw him out at the plate, and the Mets just walked off the field without challenging the play to see if there was a missed tag or if Jarrod Saltalamacchia was illegally blocking the plate. Why? As Collins said himself, “Because I didn’t think about it — that’s why. Plain and simple.” (Ken Davidoff, New York Post).
The Mets literally lose the game without that challenge. They lost the night before, in part, because they failed to challenge a play where it appeared Martinez was out at second. Even with all of that, Collins still didn’t at least try to challenge the play to try to get the tying run home.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was the matter of why Brandon Nimmo wasn’t pinch running for Bruce in that spot. Collins didn’t choose Nimmo as a pinch runner because he simply doesn’t know which one of his players is faster:
Collins said he didn't consider Nimmo for Bruce pinch running last night because for all he knows Bruce is faster.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 7, 2016
When you cede decision making to the players, when you fail to do everything possible to win games, and when you don’t fully know the capabilities of every player on your roster, it is time to go.