There is clearly a plan for the roster, which is to develop and promote prospects (specifically pitching), clear expensive salaries, fill in with short-term, free-agent veterans and build from there, which is clear as day. But, I wonder what the future holds for Terry Collins?
Initially, I thought Collins was hired to essentially babysit the transition from the All Omar Minaya Team to the All Sandy Alderson Team, all while bringing back a sense of hustle and teamwork to a franchise that had clearly lost its identity. Then, when the team was ready to seriously contend - let's say 2014, 2015 - Collins would be replaced with someone with more experience winning pennants and playoff games... you know, the old Buck Showalter-Joe Torre bit...
It just so happens Terry's current contract expires at the end of this season, 2013, and there has been very little talk of giving him a contract extension. I'm not saying he will not return after this season. He might. But, at least as of right now, he's got one year left and his status is unknown.
I'm fine with him being a 'lame duck manager.' I never thought Collins should have been fired last season, nor do I think he should get a contract extension now, especially after last year’s second half. I put the bulk of the blame last year on Sandy Alderson and the players, which is why I'm fine letting Collins manage again this year. That said, extending his current contract would have sent a terrible message about what is acceptable… not just to the players, but to us as fans and customers expected to buy in to Alderson's long-term vision.
If the Mets struggle early, it wouldn't surprise me to see Collins let go, especially considering how much the organization has riding on 2014. At the same time, I can see them giving him a one-year extension if the team gets off to a good two- or three-month start, so he can have an authoritative wind in his sail for the stretch run.
However, Derek R said this to me in an e-mail yesterday, which is a good point:
"Expectations are low. The Mets can win anywhere from 64 to 79 games and people probably wouldn’t be shocked. The team is young in several areas so you expect them to struggle. ... I just feel like, unless it’s a complete disaster, they almost have to have him back? I’m not sure how comfortable I am with the bar being so low that Collins really can’t lose his job, given their evident lack of training and african mango eating."
Well, I mean, anyone can be let go, especially if he's not under contract and things just run its course. It's Alderson's call, and he can base it on whatever he wants. But, I understand Derek's statement. This is why I bet Alderson has an idealistic, long-term plan for manager. He's too meticulous and thoughtful about every other aspect of the organization that it's hard to imagine him being so passive and carefree about his manager. I don't know the answer. I have no idea. Does the answer involve Wally Backman? Or Tim Teufel? Someone else? More Collins? I don't know. But, Collins has no contract and his boss rarely operates without a back-up plan, so (at the very least) it has me wondering what he has in mind...