Tag Archive for Terry Collins

Mickey You’re So Fine

Let’s all belatedly welcome Mickey Callaway.

Callaway becomes the club’s 21st manager and will the be the first of them to wear No. 36, and only the third to have been a pitcher in his career (George Bamburger and Dallas Green were the others). Like everyone else I was highly impressed with his enthusiasm and demeanor during the “meet-the-press” event and was pleasantly surprised to see the club name a rookie manager. Even though 13 of the 21 were first-timers, I truly thought those days were over.

Did you guys know “Mickey” was actually a remake of a song called “Kitty” by the British cheese-pop band Racey? Check it out!

It appears this morning that Callaway’s bench coach will be Gary DiSarcina, most recently of the Red Sox, who presumably could inherit the No. 10 jersey left behind by Terry Collins. Terry by the way has accepted a job as “assistant to the GM” but I’m worried that his relationship with Fred Wilpon, who seems to love his “grey-haired old baseball men,” will be an obstacle Callaway and his new staff will need to overcome.

Also new to the coaching staff next season will Ruben Amaro Jr., who will coach first base, baserunning and outfielders: He’s switching jobs with Tom Goodwin, who will do the same thing for the Red Sox next year. Amaro wore 20 with the Red Sox last season but is better known around the NL East as “Ruin Tomorrow Junior,” the GM who screwed up the Phillies. The new pitching coach is reportedly Dave Eiland, who spent the last seven seasons as the Kansas City Royals pitching coach, where he wore No. 58.

In the meantime the Mets promoted Pat Roessler (6) to hitting coach; Glenn Sherlock (53) will remain as the third base coach and Ricky Bones (25) will retain his gig as bullpen coach.

In player news, we’ve already seen Tommy Milone (29) declare free agency; Nori Aoki (11) released and five guys dropped from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Las Vegas (Tyler Pill, Phillip Evans, Erik Goeddel, Travis Taijeron  and minor leaguer Wuilmer Becerra, surrendering Nos. 56, 72, 62 and 28 respectively. There’s obviously much to come still, I’m hoping the club can bolster the starting rotation with a couple of reliable arms and I’m open to improving the club by trade. We’ll discuss more soon!

Manager Years Number
Casey Stengel 1962-65 37
Wes Westrum 1965-67 9
Salty Parker 1967 54
Gil Hodges 1968-71 14
Yogi Berra 1972-75 8
Roy McMillan 1975 51
Joe Frazier 1976-77 55
Joe Torre 1977-81 9
George Bamberger 1982-83 31
Frank Howard 1983 55
Davey Johnson 1984-1990 5
Bud Harrelson 1990-91 3
Mike Cubbage 1991 4
Jeff Torborg 1992-93 10
Dallas Green 1993-96 46
Bobby Valentine 1996-2002 2
Art Howe 2003-2004 18
Willie Randolph 2005-2008 12
Jerry Manuel 2008-2010 53
Terry Collins 2011-2017 10
Mickey Callaway 2018 36
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Retirement Community

So congrats to Terry Collins for becoming the Mets longest-tenured manager ever. I never would have predicted that back in 2010 when he was my fifth choice among the so-called “final four” candidates of the incoming Alderson Administration.

I don’t believe he was ever meant to last this long, either. I think they had hoped to have progressed enough by the end of his initial 2-year hitch to pass the torch onto a “win now” skipper but the putridness of the club in 2011 and 2012 actually saved Terry. And once they got good again his charm with the writers (who adore him) and players (who appear not to have tuned him out – yet) kept him going. That and the idea that you can’t whack a World Series manager. I have my disagreements with Terry and more often than I’d like I feel like his team is unprepared, but I don’t think he’s giving away much strategically to the other guy managing most nights and their clubs make mistakes too. Ultimately that’s what matters to me as a watcher of games.

All that said, I think we’re approaching a fairly substantial Changing of the Guard. No, they’re not going to fire Terry but his contract is due at the end of the year, he’s 67 years old, his place in Mets history is assured and he has turned rotten-looking clubs into contenders twice already. Alderson is 69, he’s dealt with a cancer incident, and he’s nearing a point at which he can expect to see at least two of his farm-fresh position players (Rosario and Smith) take on big-league jobs to join the pitching ranks developed or acquired under his watch. (I’d argue for more, to see Cecchini at 2nd and Zimmo! in center, even though I know it’s still early for that). Dan Warthen will be 65 later this year. 9th-String Catcher’s remarks in the below post got me thinking about him and whether he can effect the changes in approach many of his charges seem to need. While I think Warthen would be quickly scooped up were he to be set free, Terry and Sandy, as in the Springsteen songs that use their names, are going to escape this rat-trap town by the end of this LP. And then there’s David Wright.

The Mets’ promotional calendar is full every weekend day but for Saturday, Sept. 9 which is marked “TBD.” My friend who pointed this out to me noted the club took the same strategy a year ago before revealing it would be “Mike Piazza Jersey Retirement Day,” and suggested it could be David Wright Retirement Day. It surely could, but I think that’s only part of it.

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Neil Before Me

So the Mets are trying to address a ghastly bullpen and today announced they’d signed Neil Ramirez to a contract and he’ll be in uniform tonight — No. 55 — as they face Arizona.

The extent to which Neil Ramirez can be the “answer” is a matter of some debate — he’s been released by two clubs already this year and has yet to match a short stretch of success he had as a Cubs rookie a few years back — but I’d agree it’s time to do something. This bullpen in particular is churning up memories of 2008 when similarly disappointing returnees and a merry-go-round of cheap acquirees (Luis Ayala, Brandon Knight, Tony Armas, Scott Schoeneweis, and so on) seemed basically infected with a strain of lost confidence.

And while the bullpen pitchers are ultimately at fault, some of the blame needs to go to old Terry, whose use of the pen reeks of his lack of confidence in some guys and over-confidence (and overuse) among others; and to the rotation, whose poor efforts require more help than the club has been able to offer (and who repeatedly commit the sin of giving back every run the club scores as soon as possible); and to the offense, who, especially early on, made every game a do-or-die bullpen situation by failing to support the starters or give them any breathing room. Good teams simply cannot allow themselves to have their fates determined by 12th or 13th best pitcher on them (or the best relievers working to protect 5-run leads) and the way to do that is to make better starts and hit the ball harder.

It could be, the best move for the bullpen would be to turn Curtis Granderson and Jose Reyes into pinch hitters; get Robert Gsellman two weeks of starts in Las Vegas and got get Zimmo and Cecchini already.

But for now, the best move is Neil Rodriguez.

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Amazin’!

Well, they did it.

21Exactly five weeks ago today (you could look it up!) I posited that in order for the Mets to get into the postseason they’d need to win 21 of their remaining 33 games. That seemed like a longshot if not the impossibility it would have appeared less than two weeks before that, but I’ll be dagnabbed if they didn’t win their 21st on Saturday and clinch the playoffs at the very same time.

You could look it up.

I’m not taking a personal victory lap here — my supposed experience and perspective on uni numbers was proven wrong this year over and over and over again this year — but rather, I’m surprised that of all the expectations of the season this was the one that came true. My general feeling on any season’s prospects is get to 10 games over .500 first, then I can consider the possibility of going all-in. The Mets of course knocked on that door early in the season and then again late, but didn’t reach that plateau to stay until late last week.

10That means we’re as hot as can be headed into Wednesday’s win-or-go-home showdown. And though anything can happen I’m taking some solace in the fact that we were there last season, and even if you argue that was a better club (more starting pitching depth, a better track record in having proven they belonged since April vs. since September) I’m recalling the 2000 club, which by almost any measure was inferior to their 1999 predecessors but who got considerably further in the postseason due in part to the psychic experience of having gotten there the first time. So I’m optimistic. I think Terry Collins deserves Manager of the Year after I slogged him only a few weeks ago.

Meantime I’m checking on Chris’ comment below that the 2016ers have likely surpassed the “record” of the highest-combined-uni starting lineup we’d found prior to this year, the 274 we threw up on April 4, 2012. I’m on it!

 

 

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Mackey Sacked

54Back from a short biz-trip to let you know I still don’t know what the Mets are doing with these uni issues, the latest being T.J. Rivera’s recall from Las Vegas and subsequent assignment of No. 54.

I was with everyone else in advocating the Mets issue the recently freed-up No. 2 to Rivera but hadn’t a particularly strong argument for it until my friend Edward at the Crane Pool alerted me to this Daily Snooze profile detailing how Rivera got to the Mets in the first place:

“I told Tommy, ‘I can’t believe nobody drafted T.J. You can’t go wrong with him,'” recalls [Mackey] Sasser, who was a Met from 1988-92 [and Rivera’s college coach at Wallace Community College in Alabama]. “He’s going to make someone a good player.”

2Sasser of course was a notoriously famous No. 2, maybe the jersey’s most memorable character behind manager Bobby Valentine and Marvelous Marv Throneberry, who we now know personally championed an undrafted free agent who reached the majors on the strength of his hitting. That the Mets somehow overlooked this intersection of opportunity (the Dilson Herrera trade) and appropriateness, while going completely off-script and making Rivera the first non-pitcher/non-coach ever to wear 54 isn’t a great signal they’re doing this whole uni-number-issuing thing correctly.

The Mets on the other hand aren’t doing much of anything right lately, culminating in this week’s deserved sweeping at the hands of the awful Arizona Diamondbacks and their fugly uniforms. Terry Collins yesterday made a show of demanding a fresh start from his guys, a move that could prove to be too late to save them or him.

imagesSpeaking of bad teams in fugly uniforms, my travels this week took me to the Twin Cities where I witnessed Target Field for the first time, encountering what for me was an odd site — the homestanding Twins in bright-red home jerseys. The stadium was quite nice, bonus points for locating it within moments of a train station, but the unis bothered me until I realized the none-too-subtle message I’m sure they were meant to deliver. Cheap chic indeed.

 

 

 

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Mets Hit Wall, Burst into Flames

1The Mets abruptly signed dressed and deployed Justin Ruggiano last night, and the veteran outfielder went out and played like a cliche of a No. 1: Ridiculous leaping catch attempt, overhustling a slow rolling single, foolishly getting thrown out attempting to steal third base with Bartolo Colon batting.

ruggianoWhat a find! And his crumpled body on the warning track a perfect Met-aphor for this wreck this season is quickly becoming now with Jose Reyes out, Juan Lagares out, Cespedes hurting, Duda still missing, Wright long gone, Walker and Cabrera morphing back into middling singles hitters and Conforto and Zimmo and D’Arnaud failing so far to evolve themselves.

And I’m not calling for Terry Collins to be fired or resign but would say the SHaMs struggles these past few weeks has resembled something out of Jerry Manuel’s playbook: A palpable lack of confidence in his guys runs up and down the lineup and in the bullpen, and I think, is contributing at some level to how poorly they are executing at the moments of truth. The fact his lineup doesn’t hit well to begin with is also a factor.

One of the brilliant minds at the Crane Pool crunched the numbers and heading into last night they looked like this:

If the 2016 Mets were to hit with RiSP just like the 2016 Mets hit otherwise [.238, last in the NL] their 148 hits w/RiSP would turn into 174.
Taking that figure and using their present production of 1.486 Runs per RiSP-AB (220 runs produced by those 148 hits) the new figure would result in an extra 39 runs scored over the course of the season to this point. That alone creates about four extra wins on average, turning the current 53-49 record into more like 57-45; the 7.5 games back into 3.5; and the current 84-win pace for the full season into 90

And that’s not even the worst of it, because not only do they hit less often with RiSP but they hit a larger pct of singles in those ABs than their usual (almost 70% instead of 63.1%) with far fewer 2Bs (16.2% instead of 19%) & HRs (12.8% instead of 16.4%). So if those extra hits were in the same proportion as what they produce normally then the runs scored increase would logically get even larger.

This morning we’re 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, 7.5 out of first place, 3 games over .500 and its the Trade Deadline. All day yesterday fans were entertaining fantasies of obtaining Jonathan Lucroy along the the rumored relief help we apparently need so bad. (Really? That’s the issue?). My inclination this morning is to see if we can’t dangle Neil Walker, Addison Reed, and dare I say Curtis Granderson with an eye on next season. And if they don’t believe in him enough to offer him to Milwaukee, Travis d’Arnaud too. What’s your take?

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Talking Baseball

MBTN-bookshelfHey look! METS BY THE NUMBERS is here. It has been completely rewritten and re-engineered, including bios and data on more than 300 new players, with more minute details, a complete history of the uniform, new lists, new rankings, new photos, and more than 80 new pages. It’s hefty, and you can tell it’s an actual copy because David Wright appears on the cover instead of Dwight Gooden in the mockup you’ve seen until now. (Gooden instead appears on the spine, a nice touch).

It officially launches tonight with an event at Word Books (126 Franklin St., Brooklyn) where I will discuss the project in conversation with NBC Sports’ D.J. Short and Greg Prince, author of the excellent AMAZIN AGAIN. We will have books for sale and signatures, plus free beer and Crackerjacks, starting at 7 p.m. Please join us! (Word is easy to find, 2 blocks from the Greenpoint Ave. stop on the G).

62In Mets news, the club staggered to a disappointing series split in Milwaukee which saw still more of the team suffer aches and pains including manager Terry Collins (ill but thankfully appears OK), Neil Walker (bad back), Michael Conforto (wrist) and Jim Henderson (finger). Logan Verrett made a spot start then was sent down to Las Vegas and replaced by Erik Goeddel, who returned in No. 62. As noted, Kelly Johnson arrived and took over Ty Kelly’s No. 55.

Let’s Go Mets!

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Without 28

28I’m not going to lie and say Daniel Murphy was ever my favorite Met, but there’s no denying his Met-ness.

Now that it looks like his career with the Mets has come to an end Murphy departs having accounted for more than one-fourth of all games ever played by a guy wearing No. 28 — nearly 40% among position players. His lead over the next most active 28, John Milner, is exactly 162 games and almost 1,000 at-bats.

No Met 28 had any more hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, RBI and stolen bases than Murphy (Milner had more home runs); none were a bigger force in the postseason; no player made you crazier behind brilliant and brilliantly awful plays than Murphy.

52Now that Murphy has officially declined a “qualifying offer,” and it appears as though Yoenis Cespedes is going away too (thanks, and, uh, see ya around, Yo), remaking the interior of the Mets is a priority for the offseason. I don’t think it’s a radical of me to suggest the Mets look to do so with an eye on preventing the kind of up-the-middle sloppiness that doomed them to a deserving humiliation in the World Series (a friend described the Mets’ play against Kansas City as a “dog’s breakfast.”)

My opinion on the best way of going about things could change still but how about we move Wilmer Flores to second base, sign free agent Denard Span, and trade with the Red Sox for shortstop Xander Bogaerts? If and when Dilson Hererra forces his way up, Flores becomes the New Muprhy: Filling in at second, third and (if necessary) short.

Span — at least when healthy — is a nice player who can complement Lagares (he bats left, reaches base exceptionally well, steals bases).

2The Bogaerts part of my plan I admit is a bit of a reach, and might mean parting with Matt Harvey, but 22 year old shortstops like him don’t grow on trees. And it might be more realistic than the Matt-Harvey-for-Mookie-Betts talk out there, as much sense as that makes if only to acquire a Mookie.

Conflict in the making: Both Bogaerts and Span wear No. 2.

Ian Desmond, who could replace Murphy’s offense easily and improve the defense at short, is another possibility if you can’t part with the cost of acquiring a guy by trade.

46I warned you guys about Tyler Clippard, who wound up pretty much like all 46s do, but all the same bullpen upgrades should hardly ever be a priority. I suppose there’s an opportunity to add a few arms to the mix, but there almost always is.

10Congrats to Terry Collins on the new deal, I’m shocked he ever made it this far but he’s grown on me: Complaints about bullpen management come with every guy, but in general I haven’t felt like Terry gives up anything strategically to the other team’s manager, and in the case of the Nationals he beat them badly. As noted above I’d like to see his teams get a little better at the little things, and hope he’ll be held accountable when they don’t.

Your thoughts on the offseason?

 

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Collis, Collin, Myrick and Carson

44I’m no more panicky or distressed today than I was weeks ago over this team, just a little disappointed now that it looks like they’re headed for another last place finish when 3rd place once looked so attainable. Some insist this demands the end of the Terry Collins Era; I’m of the feeling that Terry would be around until the team is ready to be passed along to the next guy, but it’s getting harder to imagine when that day is coming. This team needs a lot of help. So does Terry.

He presided over another bad loss yesterday, as the bullpen, poor defense and a punchless offense wasted a fine debut effort from Collin McHugh, the new No. 36. You might have noticed Robert Carson was back for a spell too.

And you might also have seen this article the other day by hardworking blogger Brian Joura, reviewing the failures of the Mets and Collins as they idiotically pursue “a second lefty” the same way Jerry Manuel wasted so much time and energy on the “8th inning guy” while the rest of the team grew increasingly tight and unable to give the bullpen much of anything to work with in the first place. Why, Joura asked, should a team value narrow platoon advantages over versatility? Where have you gone, Bob Myrick?

As it turned out, Bob Myrick died yesterday of a heart attack at age 59. Myrick, who wore No. 44 for the late-70s Mets, was a lefty who could start or relieve. His splits were radical only in the sense that they basically didn’t exist: Joe Torre never once needed to tie his roster in knots in order to shoehorn him into a game. He more or less was an average reliever who happened to throw with his left arm, an almost unheard-of concept today.

Myrick’s obituary mentioned first not that he was a former Mets pitcher, but that he was general manager of a family-run building supply business in Hattiesburg, Miss. — his hometown, and also Robert Carson’s hometown. It’s entirely possible Robert Carson grew up in a home built with lumber Bob Myrick provided.

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Moving On

It isn’t like they needed one but the Mets got another reminder of their shortcomings in depth, defense and power this weekend, and it didn’t help that Terry Collins couldn’t manage past them and Ike Davis was poisoned. But whatever, they’ve got to move on and will do so now without Vinny Rottino, who was farmed out last night for lefty relief help, Justin Hampson. We could have used both guys last night but Terry instead opted for Justin Turner, who had a very bad game and Miguel Batista, who’s once again pitching like a 41-year-old should.

No word yet on Hampson’s digits, we’ll let you know (or, likely, you will me). EDIT: Hampson (note the spelling) appeared tonight wearing No. 45.

In the inbetween we welcomed back Ronny Cedeno, Ruben Tejada and Ramon Ramirez and bid goodbye (for now) to Jordany Valdespin, Elvin Ramirez (farmed out) and Frank Francisco (strained mouth). I liked both Valdespin and Ramirez and hope to see them back soon.

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