While there has been a lot of focus on potential turnover with the New York Mets’ players at the trade deadline, there hasn’t been a lot of attention paid to the coaching staff. Mets’ manager Terry Collins became the winningest skipper in franchise history this year, a remarkable accomplishment for a man who took over a rebuilding franchise in 2011 after being run out of Anaheim in 1999. Collins’ contract expires after the season and he hinted at retiring prior to this season, and that scenario appears to be more and more likely given the Mets’ struggles this season.
The Mets have gotten more than they possibly could have hoped for during Collins’ tenure, including a trip to the World Series in 2015 and a remarkable second half run last season with half a team. Collins has always been well respected by his players, but there are signs starting to emerge that his message isn’t being received as well as it used to. After a lethargic 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first half finale, Collins told reporters that he felt like the Mets were flat and needed to play with more energy. Outfielder Jay Bruce disputed Collins’ claims, indicating that he felt like Collins was entitled to his opinion but that he didn’t see a lack of effort. There is no doubt that frustration over the team’s record may be causing a disagreement on effort level, but after seven years it may simply be time for a change.
If Collins does retire after the season the Mets will need a new manager for the first time since 2010. Two potential candidates who could be on General Manager Sandy Alderson’s radar are Los Angeles Dodgers’ bench coach Bob Geren and former Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager Chip Hale. Geren was the bench coach on Collins’ staff when he took the Mets to the World Series in 2015 before leaving for the same position with the Dodgers in order to be closer to home. The front office has always thought highly of Geren, who could be tempted to come back east with an opportunity to manage again.
Hale, who was the Mets’ third base coach at one point, was one of four finalists for the manager’s job when Collins received it in 2011. Since then, Hale managed the Diamondbacks for two years and has spent the remainder of his time on the Oakland A’s coaching staff. The A’s hired Hale away from the Mets to be their third base coach before he was hired in Arizona and brought Hale back after the Diamondbacks fired him. Hale has since become the A’s bench coach after Mark Kotsay took an extended leave of absence, MetsBlog’s Adam Rubin notes, and could be on the Mets’ radar if they need a new skipper this winter.
Even though Collins has drawn some criticism for his in game strategy over the years, the fact remains that he is one of the best field managers the franchise has had. Collins has done particularly well getting the most out of his team, especially young players at the beginning of his tenure that emerged as key role players during the winning run. The Mets will have a hard time finding another manager who was as well respected in the clubhouse as Collins, an important and extremely underrated part of the job. Even though it looks like this marriage will not end well, Collins was definitely one of the more successful managers the franchise has ever had.