The Mets had the talent to compete in 2017, but no team could ever overcome the number of games they played this past season without their best players, former Mets manager Terry Collins told WFAN's Mike Francesa this past weekend at an event in New York.
"It was hard, Mike, it really got to be tough," Collins admitted.
"You can handle it if they're only out two weeks, but they were out four months," he continued. "To ask guys to fill in for the Syndergaards and Harveys it was just a lot to ask. And, we just couldn't bounce back from it. Then when we lost Cespedes for a long time, which is a pretty big whole to fill."
Following seven seasons as manager of the Mets, Collins stepped down this past October and later accepted an advisory position in Sandy Alderson's front office.
"I respect the game so much, and when you can't give to the game what it deserves it's time to get out," Collins told Francesa about his decision to leave the dugout. "It was getting hard. The travel today and all of the other things involved, at the end of the year I was just exhausted. And, I said, 'Ya know, this is the time. It's time to turn it over to somebody younger.'"
In a quick, word-association series of questions, Collins had the following to say about...
Yoenis Cespedes: "Tool-for-tool, he's as good as anybody in baseball. He's a different guy to manage. He's a quirky guy, you know. He has the ability to turn the league upside down if he wants to."
Noah Syndergaard: "Next year, when they mentioned those three guys that they did [last week] for the Cy Young, he's going to be one of those guys in that group."
Jacob deGrom: "DeGrom is the old school baseball player in the new school era. He's a competitor, he takes the baseball, doesn't want to give it up. No excuses. Extremely accountable for everything, one of the best teammates I've ever been around."
Michael Conforto: "I just hope he comes back from this injury. ... He's got a chance to be great. ... I'm just so worried that if he doesn't take his time in rehabbing that shoulder that the joint loosens up again there could be problems."
Matt Harvey: "I'm not sure he'll ever see the velocity (he had earlier in his career) again. I think the injuries that he's had have curtailed that. But, you know what, I saw Matt pitch great games and throw 94-95 mph, because he didn't have to throw 98 mph. If he gets the slider back, which I think was the pitch that he was most affected by this year, if that returns in his repertoire, Matt Harvey will win some games for the Mets."
David Wright: "I love David Wright. He's the most special kid I have ever been around. I think he's got a long road back, a tough road back, but he's so determined to put that uniform on again. ... If anyone can pull through this it would be him."