The New York Mets needed a change in the dugout. They needed a different voice that provided a different perspective. So it did not come as any surprise whatsoever the decision by Terry Collins to step down as Mets manager. The stories that leaked out before Collins ultimately made his decision led one to believe that there was really no choice for him in the matter. Mets management had made their decision already and they were going in another direction.
Collins did land on his feet as general manager Sandy Alderson announced last Sunday in Philadelphia that Collins was offered a job within the organization and he accepted. I am not sure that was in the original plan or was a result of all the negative attention brought to the franchise following the Marc Carig column in Newsday.
In the end, the Mets got to where they got and made the right call by taking care of a man that was a successful manager for seven years. One that helped them to the playoffs on back-to-back occasions, which included a trip to the 2015 World Series.
Collins deserved better on the way out. He might not have reinvented baseball with his managerial style, but he helped the organization through a painful rebuilding process and endured a lot of headaches and a lot of drama. For that, all Mets fans should thank him and should also thank him for taking the high road at the end and walking out of that dugout for the last time with his head held high.
Who will manage the Mets next? I can’t say for sure. I think hitting coach Kevin Long deserves and will get a long look from Alderson and Co.
Does it have to be a former Met like either Robin Ventura or Joe McEwing? I really do think that needs to be the case. It ultimately has to be the guy that can communicate with young players like Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario, who also has the ability to get the very best out of a veteran like Yoenis Cespedes.
But regardless of who is managing the team and who comprises the rest of the coaching staff, the next manager is just a piece of the puzzle to try and get the Mets back to where they want to be and that is playoff baseball.
For Alderson, who remains in his position, he faces his toughest challenge to date. In one offseason, he needs to find impact position players and rework at struggling bullpen. He needs to do it as the Yankees cast a shadow over his franchise coming off of not only a winning season but young impactful players that have captured the imagination of Major League Baseball as a whole.
Sometimes we get caught up in who is managing the team and there is no doubt they play a role, just ask Joe Girardi how his Friday night went in Cleveland.
For the Mets, it is a footnote to the greater issue at hand and that is talent. A championship window that seemed wide open just a few years ago, no longer seems the case. A 2017 season that went sideways real quick, never got back on track.
Now they look to put themselves back into contention in 2018. The managerial pick will be interesting, the player acquisitions will be fascinating.