Could this be the most important season of manager Terry Collins career?
New Year, new faces, same manager….well, not so much on the new faces part as we'll have to wait until around mid-season to see some movements to the majors. This season, however, will be a very important one for New York Mets manager Terry Collins.
By no means is this Terry Collins' first rodeo in the hot seat as his previous endeavors as a manager, with the Houston Astros in 1994 and the Anaheim Angels in 1997, did not end successfully. Collins finally got another crack with the Mets in 2011, but the team has continued to struggle even under his watch.
Collins is a lame duck entering 2013 as he has only one year remaining on his contract. If the Mets don't make the playoffs or at least show significant improvement, Collins could be looking for a new job next season.
The challenges being faced:
There's no other way to go around it, the face value of the current team coming into spring training compared to last season is down. Johan Santana wants to pitch in the World Baseball Classic and it's encouraging he feels healthy enough to do so, but there's no telling which Johan he will be this season. Collins has to piecemeal an outfield unit together that is arguably worse than last season after letting three veteran contributors (Jason Bay, Andres Torres, and Scott Hairston) walk without adequately replacing them. The Mets have been linked to Michael Bourn in recent days, but unless they can complete a deal with him the Mets' outfield will be below average at best.
The closest this team will be to seeing "reinforcements" will most likely be the end of May to mid-June, with possible call ups from the minors.
With exception to the Miami Marlins (keep in mind they still have Giancarlo Stanton and in the past been able to sneak up out of nowhere), the NL East is still the NL East. The Phillies are still good and know how to win with their veteran cast, the Braves are still good even with the retirement of Mets nemesis Chipper Jones (not to mention they recently acquired Justin Upton), and finally, I believe it's safe to say that the Washington Nationals aren't going anywhere for sometime.
Taking all of this information into account, the manager's way of calling the games, managing his players, his players' skill sets and emotions, organizing needed team/coaching meetings, and finally himself, will have a very strong impact on how this team will do this season.
As much as people place things on the players, the manager this season will have that much on his shoulders organization (franchise) wise and career wise. David Wright is locked up with the team for eight years. Travis D'Arnaud, a key piece in the R.A. Dickey trade, should anchor the backstop for years to come. Terry Collins, on the other hand, may not be long for Flushing. He's much older than when he started managing and teams now have seen what he has to offer the past few seasons and it seems to bring consistent results going back to the 1990's. Collins feels like a guy who is just keeping the seat warm for the next manager to come in and elevate the Mets back to contention, but he can change that if the Mets surprise in 2013.
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