New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced on Tuesday that the team has decided to exercise manager Terry Collins' option for 2013, ensuring stability within the clubhouse for at least one more year. Collins signed a two-year deal this past offseason, and this extension means that the 62-year-old's status won't be up in the air next season.
"I'm proud of the way the players have played," Collins said after the loss to the Reds, as quoted by Adam Rubin of ESPN NY. "We're not happy with the wins and losses. But we hung in there."
When Mets ownership brought in Alderson to be the general manager, he desired a manager who not only jived with his philosophies and commanded respect in the clubhouse, but also one who was comfortable with the organization's younger players.
His first year at the helm was not the best one, as the Mets will finish in fourth place in the NL East, currently with a 76-85 record, but Alderson sees promise in adding some steadiness within that part of the organization.
Alderson's statement regarding the decision says it all:
"We're very pleased with the job that Terry has done -- a tremendous work ethic, extremely knowledgeable, a great baseball man, but also knowledgeable about players in our system," Alderson said. "He communicates well. He has just done a terrific job in leading our team under sometimes difficult circumstances ...
"... One of the things I think I've mentioned from time to time is we've made every effort to change the perception of the New York Mets baseball. Terry has gone a long way toward doing that. "
Alderson also praised Collins' communication with the players and fans, and really likes the fact that the manager's tone has not changed since Day 1, despite the team's struggles.
But his most telling comment is that he wants to change the face of Mets baseball. He knows how this organization has been looked (or frowned) upon over the past decade or so (or even longer than that). You won't change the peception of a team in one season, but Alderson has certainly brought credibility to the organization in less than a year's work. Keeping Collins around means, essentially, that it's one less thing the team has to worry about over the next year. Fewer questions to answer about whether Collins will be back for 2013. There's something to be said about not having to deal with that over the course of the season and the Mets made sure it won't happen next year.
Is it the right move?
It's hard to judge a manager based upon one season, and I'm a believer that they don't do much but help cultivate a personality for the team, manage the bullpen and set a batting order. But Collins did inherit a team with a lot of question marks, then had to deal with financial distractions and trades of its best hitter and closer during the year. Coaches can't make up for a lack of talent, but I think Collins did a good job creating togetherness for this team, being upfront with his players and their roles (which Jerry Manuel never really did) and keeping all the players fresh throughout the season to make them feel like a part of the club.
It's also obvious that he has a good rapport with the younger players on this team. Part of it was just these guys being given a chance, but recognizing that it was a "down" year, Collins gave players like Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and Nick Evans time to prove their cases, as well as giving Justin Turner a shot at second base and Bobby Parnell chances in high-leverage situations. Because of their exposure at the end of the year, the front office and Collins now have a better read about their futures.
Collins is deserving of sticking around, but if there's one thing this symbolizes for the organization, it's that with Alderson in charge, there's a top-to-bottom effort now in the organization to be on the same page with a philosophy that all agree upon. Collins is just an extension of that.