Is Terry Collins To Blame?

As the Mets were cruising into the All-Star break with an improbable winning percentage, I distinctly remember whispers from beat writers, bloggers, and the SNY announcers that Terry Collins was in line for Manager of the Year. After all, the pundits predicted putrid performance from Flushing, with most picking the Mets to finish dead last. Since they were only a handful of games away from the top of the NL East, surely, Collins had to be at least part of the reason.

Fast-forward to now, when the Mets are 13-29 (.310) since the break, have lost seven of their last ten, and last week were swept in a four-game series at home against one of the worst teams in MLB.

If Collins was the reason the Mets over-achieved in the first half, then he has to be part of the blame for the second-half snafu – right?

Or, maybe Collins has had no effect — good or bad — on the club. Maybe he’s just a babysitter.

What’s your thought? Vote below and post your opinion in the comments.

Is Terry Collins To Blame For Mets' Second-half Slide?

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Englishman in Amsterdam August 28, 2012 at 6:58 am
    It’s worth remembering the team that Collins inherited. The Mets had 4 players of note last year (Dickey, Santana, Wright and Reyes). One got traded, one is injury prone, one plays every 5th day and one is David Wright. It wouldn’t have mattered who was the manager, you can’t make something out of almost nothing in this sport over the course of a season. Smaller sample sizes, most definitely you can, but there’s a reason you play 162 games and that’s to eradicate those outliers.
    • Mike B August 28, 2012 at 8:54 am
      Who got traded last year out of those four. But since you brought up Jose, I was watching the Franchise and it was nice to see that JR was the only brightside of the marlins season this year. I would have loves to See JR at SS and Tejada at 2b. with the line up JR Tejada DW but oh well.
  2. Izzy August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am
    How come you left out the lord in the poll? A team over achieves and the GM spits in their face by sitting on his royal butt doing nothing, and he’s not in the poll???????? Kind of like the last over achieving bunch that was rewarded with the return of one Oliver Perez and responded the same way. A team does good, has holes its up to the GM to reward them and the fans by trying to get the club to stay in the hunt. The lord is a total failure.
    • Joe Janish August 28, 2012 at 9:41 am
      This poll is about Terry Collins, not Sandy Alderson. Therefore your vote would likely be, “no, the players stink” or “yes, but not completely.”

      We can do a GM vote another day. The point of this one is that TONS of people were talking about Collins being Manager of the Year as recently as six weeks ago — do those people feel the same way today?

      • Izzy August 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm
        If the poll is about Terry Collins Joe, then the No should not blame the players. It should be a NO. I don’t want to blame the players.
        • DaveSchneck August 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm
          I’m with Izzy on this one, No, and part of me gives the players a pass but ultimately it is on the players. I know this is about the manager, not the GM or owner, but history is important. Since 2007, the Mets have tanked under Randolph, Manuel 3 times, and Collins twice. There has only been one constant, and it isn’t the manager or GM. Now, Colllins hasn’t been perfecf, and I especially am troubled by his statements about accountability when there hasn’t been any, but I think he deserves a shot with a more complete group. This team had flaws from the get go and got to 46-39 off Santana and Wright’s great start along with a disproportionate amount of 2 out hits that wasn’t sustainable. The team fell off the cliff when Santana did in a historic way, along with no one covering DW on offense. The GM realizes that changes are needed, and not “incremental” ones. Let’s see if he can back that up, and what Terry can do with a professional OF and bullpen.
        • Joe Janish August 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm
          Dave, what is the “constant” ? David Wright and Daniel Murphy? I’m not sure who else has been on the club since 2007.

          I don’t believe Collins “deserves” anything. To me he’s just a puppet or a babysitter whose strength is an ability to put on a half-decent postgame press conference — in other words, he’s Jerry Manuel before Manuel’s postgame act turned ugly.

        • DaveSchneck August 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm
          Fred, Jeff, and Uncle Saul would be the constants, and each season they did not put the manager (or GM) in the best position to succeed. But, this is about the manager. Deserve wasn’t the best term., but I guess IMO he deserves to come back because he doesn’t deserve to be fired.
  3. Micalpalyn August 28, 2012 at 9:13 am
    Wilpon has to be in there
    • Joe Janish August 28, 2012 at 9:41 am
      See my comment to Izzy above. This is about Terry Collins, not the Wilpons. Focus!
  4. Walnutz15 August 28, 2012 at 9:59 am
    Ahh, seems like just yesterday when people were having discussions on topics such as:

    “Is It Time To Extend Terry Collins?”

    Glad no one in the front office rushed to anything on this.

    For the second year in a row, we’re seeing a pretty big tank-job from Collins’ club. It’s not even a lot to ask for, in terms of keeping it respectable….not this year in the NL, anyway.

    We saw his team:

    – on the verge of losing 10 straight games at home (9 straight, actually)

    – go AWOL, in terms of offensive production (under the mighty Dave Hudgens, by the way – as so many Met fans love to believe)

    – make physical errors in the field, leading to their abominable defensive rank around the league

    – make minor league lapses, no matter where they are on the playing field

    …………this isn’t even touching the bullpen.

    I think it’s a pretty valid question as to whether or not his club just shuts down at a certain point – under Collins, ‘cuz it’s not even like we’re seeing a ton of offense without pitching; or vice-versa.

    At some point, you grind it out and win some ballgames vs. bad ballclubs.

    This will be the second year in a row where things went disgustingly sour past the All Star Break…..and while I do like Collins as a personality (and don’t think the Mets are an overly talented group) – they sure do look lifeless for long stretches.

    Farrrrr too long.

    Not to mention that many moves Collins makes within a game…..would be magnified by 100 times, provided the team was actually in a pennant race. Unfortunately, not too many of us care very much right now.

    He’ll be a lame duck by the first few months of 2013, methinks……and I’ll re-iterate that I have no problem when it comes to Collins: The Person.

    Just too much points to: this guy’s not going to be here when things start to matter again.

  5. NormE August 28, 2012 at 10:00 am
    Tony LaRussa, Earl Weaver, Casey Stengel, Davey Johnson, Bobby Valentine, Wally Backman! Take your pick of a managerial genius—-no one was going to turn straw to gold.
    Sure, TC is no genius and there have been strategies that I disagreed with, but the talent was too thin. As Englishman in Amsterdam said, the season is 162 games long. Plenty of time for the “regression” theory to kick in.
    • Walnutz15 August 28, 2012 at 10:15 am
      I don’t think many would argue that, when it came to regression.

      “No shows”, however – are a completely different story all-together.

      Home record aside, the winning percentage of .310 posted by the Mets with a 13-29 record since being 6 games over .500 at the ASB with a 46-40 record is, in fact, the Worst Of All Time.

      Or would be, if they sustained that pace to the end of the season.

      From The Journal:…305111502.html

      Team just rolled over, died, and got pumped full of lead to the tune of 100 shots — just to make sure. That’s unacceptable, no matter how bad you think a roster is.

      You can’t get swept 4 games at home vs. a Rockie team that wasn’t even traveling with their whole roster.

      • NormE August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am
        I’m on board with your thinking. Two second half collapses call for changes. Collins has to take part of the blame. So does the front office.
        As for the players, how much blame to you attribute to effort (both mental and physical) and how much to lack of talent (if you can use the word “blame” in that context)?
        Bringing TC back would send the wrong message to fans and players. You’re correct, he would be a lame duck.
  6. hart August 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm
    It troubles me that Collins has seemed a little too accepting of the recent collapse, though I’m not sure what exactly he could be doing differently with this woeful cast. And so I voted “no, the players stink”, mainly because I’m still mostly distressed with ownership, and how we’ve morphed into a small-market club. I read where some fans took out an ad in the kansas City Star urging ownership to sell; it troubles me greatly that I can relate to the fans in Kansas City.
  7. Barry August 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm
    I think you have to focus on the “collapse” part of the second half.

    I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first a recap: The team was playing well–with lots of clutch hits–in the first half. Then the heart was ripped out of the club with brutal losses caused by the bullpen. Around the same time the outfield stopped hitting. So the losses started to mount.

    But then the losses absolutely “snowballed”. The team quit. It was obvious. I blame this on the manager.

    I see two possibilities:

    1. TC was hesitant to rock the boat, and never got tough with the players. Maybe since he was burned by two previous mutinies (in his last stints as manager), he didn’t want to go down that path again. Maybe the players interpreted his attitude as “not caring” and so they acted in kind.

    2. Maybe TC acted EXACTLY as he did in his previous stints as manager. (Can a tiger change his spots?) Maybe he rubbed people the wrong way. Maybe he did everything he did that caused two mutinies previously, but the players on the Mets did’t revolt. After all, from all accounts the Mets have a great clubhouse; these are not the kind of players that would start a coup against their manager.

    I don’t know, but I’m leaning to #2.

  8. HobieLandrith August 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm
    Sandy Alderson’s and the Wilpons’ voices in my head:

    “You can look at a Shake Shack menu but you just can’t eat, you can feel the cushions but you can’t afford a seat. You can dip your foot in the pool, but you can’t have a swim. You can feel the punishment because being a Mets fan is a sin.”

  9. Frank August 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm
    Collins were seriously out managed in the Colorado series by Jim Tracey. At least twice Tracy brought in a right hander to pitch to Hairston in a close game only to have Terry pinch hit with Jordany Valespin. I know Jordany has a lot of pinch homers but so does Hairston & Hairston’s a veteran. Terry goes to the well too often and now notice how Valespins in Buffalo a few days after the Colorado series. So to make my point clear, on Monday Valespins his late inning hero & by Friday he’s not good enough to be on the team. BTW Terry does this with relievers as well. He may be good with the kids but he’s not a major league manager. He should be back at his old job with the Mets
  10. Crozier August 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm
    I’m no fan of Terry Collins, inclusive of his leadership, his arbitrary and ever-shifting lineups, his late-innings strategies, and so on.

    That said, I’m not sure how many games he’s cost them, or how many games Jim Leyland would have won them. During the first half, I marveled at how such a weak team was winning so many games. I guessed it was a combination of Dickey, Wright, and a whole lot of luck, and figured it couldn’t last. Dickey’s remained good, but luck ran out, and Wright simply isn’t an MVP. Like most mortals, I don’t think he has the stamina to be great over the course of 162 games — something that goes double for the rest of the team.

    In sum, while I favor a managerial change, only with other significant player enhancements will a good manager make a tangible difference.

  11. Joe August 28, 2012 at 11:35 pm
    The team has had a trend for a few years now: decent, at times impressive, first half, collapse (badly) in the second. More than one manager involved. The team seems to play itself out for three months and with help from injuries and other reasons to lose players, plummet.

    The manager has some responsibility here as does anyone else who get the praise for the first half. The difference between mediocre and horrible — let’s say actually winning a game vs. the Rockies — can partially be laid on the manager, especially when sloppy play stands out. But, it’s hard to know exactly how much more you could squeeze from the stone.

  12. argonbunnies August 29, 2012 at 2:06 am
    If you pay attention to regression, just as you knew things would get worse, right now you know things will get better. Every single hitter in the lineup slumping at the same time was no more to be expected than everyone getting clutch hits.

    Just about every team I’ve ever watched seems to make more mental errors when they start losing a lot due to bad pitching or hitting. Players get desperate to make a difference in the game, their focus slips from where it should be, they get over-aggressive or just plain miss things.

    Should Terry be faulted for not stopping that? I don’t think you can fault him for the hitting slumps, but can you fault him for letting losing get to people? Maybe… but man, that’s a tall order. I don’t know that any coach can give his players the ability to play their best when their team is sucking. It seems to me that’s generally up to the players.

    I think we need a player who’s at least a little bit cocky, and definitely good enough to back it up. Someone who, if Mariano Rivera retires him, thinks, “My bad. I’ve totally got this guy. Next time, I’ll crush him.” We need that guy to show up every day and be infectious. Without that, we have a bunch of nice, sensitive boys who feel bad when they suck and let it affect their play like most normal humans would.

    • Andy August 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm
      Davis hasn’t been slumping for over a month now. I think his current production is about the best we can expect of him. Wright, also, has regressed from his .400+ start but is still producing about where we could expect. Mayby Murphy & Duda were slumping a bit but if just those two are the difference between a good club and a crappy club then things were very precarious indeed on this Mets team . . .
  13. Micalpalyn August 29, 2012 at 11:06 am
    Joe, awesome, i think you asked the wrong question, but the dialogue went the way it needed to. Points such as tc’s leadership and strategy, his use of players are all discussed.

    To me, i am intrigued with the organizations thoughts ( i know better but…..), will collins be back. The blogs are all over it, but consider tc is a lame duck manager next year, does it make more sense to evaluate him now, or when his contract is up?

  14. Joe Mac August 30, 2012 at 10:35 am
    I think that Collins is TOO married tothe ideas of a) 100 pitch count and b) lefty vs lefty, and righty vs righty. He doesn’t seem to realize that every professional player has good or average days, very good days and also very bad days. His obsession with the pitching hitting match-ups doesn’t take into consideration how a player, pitchers in particular are doing in the game. I’ve seen far too many times when he has replaced a relief pitcher who is showing great stuff and dominence because of his match-up obsession. Actually his management style could be replaced better by a computer. He just doesn’t seem to have a good feel for the game in progress.