Will Terry Collins Be Losingest Mets Manager?

By ending the 2013 season 74-88, the New York Mets have compiled a record of 225-261 with Terry Collins as manager. Fittingly, Collins was rewarded with a two-year contract extension that includes an option for a third year.

Which do you think has a better chance of happening: the Mets going to the postseason with Collins at the helm, or Collins losing more games than any other manager in Mets history?

It all depends on how you define “losingest.” If you go merely by the number of losses, Collins would have to lose 206 games to catch Bobby Valentine, who has the most losses as a manager in Mets history with 467 (Valentine also has the second-most wins as a Mets manager, with 536). As cynical as I am about the next two years for the Mets, I doubt highly they’ll lose 206 games in 2014 and 2015. But, if Collins hangs around for the two guaranteed years plus the option, they’d only have to average 68 losses for Collins to meet Valentine’s total — and, if indeed Collins is still manager at the end of 2016, the Mets almost assuredly will have lost at least that many games.

On the other hand, if you consider “losingest” to be the worst won-loss percentage, Collins would have to pull off a near-miracle to sink to the depths of Casey Stengel‘s .303 (175-404). The miracle, of course, would be Collins retaining employment through such a horrendous tenure.

A few other managers in Mets history stuck around for at least four years and finished with a record below .500: Yogi Berra at .497 (292-296), Dallas Green at .447 (229-283), and Joe Torre at .405 (286-420).

One of my close friends did some quick math and let me know this: if Collins manages the Mets to a pair of 81-81 seasons, he’ll finish with a 387-423 record (.477) — putting him three losses ahead (behind?) of Torre’s 420.

ASIDE: You may be wondering how, in five years of managing the Mets, Torre could have 101 less wins than Collins over the same time frame. It’s because Torre took over the Mets 45 games into his first “year” of managing (1977), so he was responsible for only 117 games. His last year as manager was the strike-shortened 1981 season. So there you go.

What’s interesting to me is that if things go as badly for the Mets over the next two years as they did in the previous two, Collins may well pass Stengel’s 404 losses right around the 2015 All-Star break, and slide right behind Valentine with the second-most losses in Mets managerial history before September’s meaningless games begin. It took Stengel only four years to reach 404 losses, and Collins certainly will need to get to a fifth year to equal such a total — but that’s kind of scary, isn’t it? That it’s possible for Collins to lose as many times as Stengel did during the hapless infancy of Mets history, with only about a half-season more of work? I’m not suggesting that’s going to happen, nor am I suggesting that the Mets will continue to be an 88-90 loss team for the next two years, but an objective observer would have to admit it’s a fair possibility.

What do you think you’ll see by the end of 2015: a Mets playoff appearance or 400 losses managed by Terry Collins? Answer in the comments.

Mets Item of the Day

Chilly fall weather has returned — the kind where you keep the window open to let in the fresh air while you hang out and watch TV, but need a comfy blanket to wrap in or throw over your stockinged feet. How about this plush 60×80-inch throw blanket?

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. NormE October 14, 2013 at 11:34 am
    I think the question of TC’s managerial longevity is connected with the question of how long Sandy Alderson remains as GM. If Alderson leaves after 2014 I would expect that TC will probably be shown the door. If Alderson remains then I would expect TC to keep his job. With that happening we can expect all sorts of negative records for TC.
    • DaveSchneck October 14, 2013 at 11:53 am
      Sandy or no Sandy, he needs 206 more Ls and I see no way that Collins breaks Bobby V’s mark unless he lasts 3 years, and he will need to make the playoffs in 2014 or 2015 to last to 2016.
      • Joe Janish October 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm
        Do you really think Collins has to make the playoffs to get the option year? He received a two-year extension after guiding the Mets to their worst three-year run in a decade.

        Considering all the holes and lack of Harvey, I highly doubt the Mets’ brass have any playoff expectations in 2014. I’d bet the house that all the Mets need to do in ’15 is win 82 games and Collins gets the third year.

        • izzy October 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm
          I can’t believe what is being said in the comments but thank you Joe for taking away from the never ending fantasies of bloggers and posters asking if every guy under the Sun would be a fit on the Mets or makingthe claim that every washed up pitcher is a perfect replacement for the All Star starting pitcher, to bring up this important managerial situation. While Collins, even at his and Alderson’s worst couldn’t possibly match Casey”s losing % the goal of losing the most must have appeal to the great Collins. Afterall, he comes to the city morgue 80 or more times a year and sees that number 37 on the wall of retired numbers. What better way to get mine up there he says to himself than by becoming the Metsies losingest manager. He has ambition, and the only thing stopping him would be the departure of Alderson. With a new commish coming, one who may not be in love with Freddy, anything may be possible in the near future.
  2. DanB October 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm
    do we really think the Wilpons will pay for two managers? Chances of Collins being fired after next year is slim.
  3. DaveSchneck October 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm
    At this date, the Mets brass and ownership should be thinking of nothing short than winning the NL East next season, or they are total losers. Now, they may well be total losers, and how the conduct their business this winter will seal the deal for any in doubt. By that, I don’t mean emptying out the farm system for older guys with one year left on their contract. I mean, fill every weak link and put a team on the field opening day 2014 that, while not being favored, can play with the Braves and Nats and has a puncher’s chance. The Nats still have the best roster, but they underperformed in 2014. Yes, the Braves have pitching, but they have two of their own Ike Davis’s in the form of Uggla and BJ U, and those guys cost far more than any Met non-performing contract.

    In response to Dan B’s question of paying for two managers, think of it this way – if the Mets stink up the joint in 2014, Alderson will for sure bolt, which will put Jeffy in the seat so hot that even he may soil his undergarments. He will be so desperate for credibility that the $1 million guaranteed to Collins for 2015 will be chump change next to the hit to his billion dollar asset. Now, they have been penny-wise before, so who knows, but this winter is no time to get penny wise.

    • DaveSchneck October 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm
      One other point, Harvey’s loss should have no impact on 2014 plans. Yes, he was a stud and we will miss him, but even with his Cy Yooung caliber performance in 2013, the Mets werre 13-13 in games he started. That is replaceable, but again, they need to bring in at least one legit MLB starter, like an Arroyo. If they don’t, then they have no intention on competing in 2014, and should have no expectation if selling any tickets or getting any TV ratings. Alderson’s task is simple, be very good in 2014 without mortgaging 2015 or beyond. I think that is not too much to expect for his $3 million annual salary, but the owners have to provide the benjamins, not the georges as Dan suggests.
  4. argonbunnies October 15, 2013 at 5:38 am
    Citi Field attendance has continued to decline. Alderson has told the fans that 2014 ends the “clear payroll” phase and begins the “try to win” phase. If the team isn’t good in 2014, attendance will disappear, negativity will surge, and heads will have to roll. When that happens, it’s usually the manager.

    Of course, with the Mets, what “has to” happen often doesn’t. But I don’t want to think about the shape this franchise and fan base would be in after a 4th straight year of “please ignore all this losing and stay the course” Aldersonspeak. Even firing a sacrificial lamb is better than claiming everything is cool.

  5. Jason M. October 15, 2013 at 11:59 am
    There’s not a manager alive who could win even 81 games with the Mets’ current roster. Their “best” player is an aging and oft-injured and grotesquely overpaid third baseman, who was wrongly burdened with the “superstar” and “franchise” label, and who’s spent 5 years in a ballpark specifically designed to minimize his skills with the bat. Their best pticher, who Collins hardly seemed to have abused (in the Dusty Baker sense of the term), is gone for 18 more months due to surgery. The fact that Collins did manage to win 74 games with the slack-offs and ne’er-do-wells on his roster, probably impressed Mets management, who in their heart of hearts must know that they are running a cash-less, direction-less team that even Earl Weaver couldn’t win 80 games with. So, even if Collins does stick around 3 more years and set total-loss records, that won’t necessarily make him the “worst” manager in Mets’ history. That label must firmly go for all time to Dallas Green.

    If Collins wins 82 games in 2015, they should rename the .Hall of Fame in Cooperstown after him. That would be an even more stunning achievement than Bobby Valentine getting the 2000 Mets to the World Series with Kurt Abbott and Jay Payton in the starting lineup.

  6. Chung October 18, 2013 at 11:07 am
    Terry Collins, as long as he manages the 2 full seasons of his contract, will reach 400 losses before the Mets make the playoffs. For Collins to avoid reaching 400 losses, the Mets would have to win 186 games, an average of 93 wins a season.