Terry Collins is only under contract as the Mets’ manager through the 2017 season, but even in the event that the team has interest in re-signing him, Collins isn’t certain that he’d manage beyond next year, he tells ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.
“I just need to re-evaluate at the end of this coming year what’s going on, where I am, how I’m feeling,” said Collins, who admitted that the 2016 season was tough on him. Asked by Rubin if the next season would be his last as a manager if he felt the same in October 2017 as he does in October 2016, Collins indicated that was likely. The 67-year-old Collins is MLB’s oldest manager, Rubin notes, and the toll of traveling for a 162-game schedule understandably takes a toll on any human being — especially on evenings on which the team has to travel following a night game in order to arrive for an afternoon contest the following day.
Collins also addressed next year’s rotation, implying the obvious truth that there are uncertainties throughout the staff. “As we saw from Zack Wheeler, not everything is etched in stone,” the manager explained. “…We’ll make sure we don’t push them too much early in spring training, so that they are ready. Coming out of spring training, are they ready to go seven innings? Probably not, some of those guys.”
Collins did note, though, that there’s “no reason” the team would expect Wheeler not to be ready come Spring Training, as it’ll have been nearly two full years since his Tommy John surgery at that point. The offseason should also give Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (ulnar nerve repair) and Steven Matz (bone spur removal) ample time to heal up, though there can be no certainties until each is on the mound next spring. (That fact is what prompts many to believe that the Mets are likely to re-sign veteran Bartolo Colon.)
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Furthermore, Collins emphasized the importance of getting Travis d’Arnaud back up to full strength. While he cautioned that it’s not his call as to whether the team pursues outside help behind the plate, Collins spoke like a man who currently anticipates that d’Arnaud will have every opportunity to be the regular catcher again in 2017. “We’ve got to get him better,” said Collins of d’Arnaud. “…He had 250 at-bats when he should have 500. You’re talking about a guy who missed half the season. … He is going to be one of our No. 1 projects in spring training. We’ve got to get this guy back, and we’ve got to get his bat going. If he is what we thought he’s going to be, he’s a middle-of-the-lineup guy who can do damage from the right side.”
Indeed, d’Arnaud struggled greatly in 2016, batting a mere .247/.307/.323 with four home runs in 276 plate appearances. That represents a precipitous drop-off from a 2015 season in which d’Arnaud slashed .268/.340/.485 with 12 homers in roughly the same number of plate appearances (268). Set to turn 28 years old in February, d’Arnaud has never been a poster child for healthy seasons, as he’s never topped 108 games or 385 plate appearances in a big league campaign.
This past season he missed nearly two months with a strained right rotator cuff and upon his return was ineffectual enough with the bat that he lost playing time to light-hitting veteran Rene Rivera over the season’s final weeks. He’s also spent time on the disabled list due to a concussion, a fractured finger and an elbow sprain as a Major Leaguer in addition to knee troubles while still playing in the minors.
If the Mets do wish to look outside the organization for some help at catcher — which would be a disappointing outcome for a team that not long ago boasted a pair of Top 100 prospects behind the plate in d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki — the free-agent market does offer its fair share of alternatives. Top free agent Wilson Ramos saw his future clouded by an ill-timed ACL tear late in the season, but Matt Wieters, Jason Castro, Nick Hundley and Kurt Suzuki are each coming off respectable seasons and figure to avoid being tagged with a qualifying offer. Additionally, the trade market could bear some options, including Yankees backstop Brian McCann, although the Big Apple’s two teams don’t line up on trades particularly often.
Mets fans will want to check out Rubin’s entire column, as it’s chock-full of quotes from Collins and also contains insight from Rubin, who once again indicates that the Mets fully plan on exercising their $13MM option over Jay Bruce, as he suggested following the team’s exit from the postseason.
I don’t think her Mets can go forward with d’Arnaud anymore. I’d much rather have a strong throwing catcher than a decent hitting one.
The pitchers don’t trust TDA; if we’re going to focus on the pitchers, they’ve gotta be confident in the guy they throw to.
I’m okay giving TDA one more shot. And I know he doesn’t have great footwork or a release behind the plate but I think the pitchers are more at fault for the lack of controlling the running game this year.
Well Joe if you have a rotation that lacks in holding runners, but is one of the best at getting guys out you need to evaluate the guy behind the plate. TDA isn’t anything extraordinary in the batters box and he underperformed at throwing runners out.
I think his point was that runners tend to steal more on the pitcher than on the catcher fr the mets.
A pitcher’s ability to get a guy out has nothing at all to do with his ability to hold runners, so I’m not sure what that portion of your post was trying to say.
Maybe he is trying to say, “if you have solid pitchers that are capable of getting guys out, but tend to struggle holding guys on, then maybe that team should focus on having a catcher who excels on throwing out baserunners,” maybe?? lol
Or maybe he is referring to a catcher that makes it a point to call more pick-off attempts, randomly fires it down to first, has a better arm, and overall just does a better job commanding the running game and holding pitchers more accountable??
I mean I’m going on a bit of a limb with that last guess…lol…But that is really the only thing that, I would think, possibly makes the most sense…
Although, honestly, having a catcher that truly controls and commands the opposing running game like that is pretty scarce in baseball..Truly, there might only be a handful or so catchers that are capable of doing all those things at a high level…Not to mention also one that can call a solid game, block up pitches, and even frame up pitches with solid, consistent results…
All of that does not even begin to touch on said catcher’s ability to hit..lol
But, me personally, if I had a rotation of pitchers that were bad at holding runners..I would heavily focus on finding a solid defensive catcher that has a good arm, a high baseball IQ, and one that earns and ultimately demands his pitchers’ respect!!
When you have a group of starting pitchers as talented as the Mets, which are about 7-8 deep with talented starters..I would think having a defensive-minded catcher with the aforementioned defensive traits would be much more important than finding/having a catcher who is just a slightly above average hitter..
But, honestly, that’s just my opinion, for whatever that is worth..lol…Truthfully, I don’t even really know how well the Mets’ starters are at holding baserunners..
I’m just going off the earlier mentioned notion that they struggle holding runners on…
It’s much easier to train your pitchers to hold runners better than it is to find that perfect catcher you describe.
And most pickoff attempts are called from the dugout.
Could the rotation use some practice this spring in holding guys on? Absolutely. My point is, much like bravesfan88 said, our rotation, when healthy, is one of the best in the game. TDA is nothing special in the batters box and sub par behind the plate. If he hit like Posey or brought a strong presence to the team it might be a different story. To me, he’s very expendable and the Mets should obtain a catcher with a much better and more consistent arm. It might cost them a decent piece in return, but it will make our rotation even better and help solidify the team as a whole
TDA has shown flashes of being the hitter that everyone scouted him to be.
That said, I wouldn’t be upset if they got a better all around catcher. Mets are playing with house money with TDA because of how well Syndy has played. Remember, TDA was the centerpiece of that Dickey trade.
It’s just not as simple as saying “TDA has underperformed, get rid of him”.
A team like the Mets, who is operating like a mid-market team, has to ask themselves several questions.
Can we pay a free agent what he wants? Can that free agent really provide the value on the field above TDA when factoring in the salary discrepancy? If we can’t sign a free agent, who can we trade for? What would it cost, in terms of prospects, to get that player? Would the potential value of prospects outweight the on-field value gained this year?
Maybe you input Nick Hundley and Jonathan Lucroy into this exercise if you wanted to use real players. Will Hundley outhit TDA in Citi? Would his defense provide enough value so it wouldn’t matter? Could the Mets actually trade for Lucroy or another desirable catcher? Probably not.
Lucroy or McCann would be good options for the Mets, but the question is how much money or prospects do they want to spend to get a good catcher. I think the Nats, O.s, Tigers, and even the Braves might offer a better offer.
We need both.
TDA is neither. And he does it to himself on offense the way he holds his bat horizontal pointing to the pitcher, contorted like pretzel. It’s ridiculous. And shame on the Mets for allowing him to do that over and over since August or September 2015, and for much of 2016. The Collins excuses for this guy have to end.
And on defense, he doesn’t throw,well, has odd technique blocking and moving laterally keeping his throwing hand in his lap. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Time for Mets to move on from someone set in his ways who hurts himself and team. This injury excuse is not a viable excuse for major flaws in the fundamentals of baseball and common sense which is TDA’s problem and the Mets as enablers.
Right- but we can’t have everything. Gun to my head I want a defensive catcher over an offensive one right now.
I agree. If the Rangers don’t pick up Jonathan Lucroy’s option and end up buying him out (which, I’ll admit is a long shot) I would love to see the Mets get him for a couple years. That solidifies the behind the plate situation and d’Arnaud could stand at a pretty solid backup.
Terry brings a very respected presence to the ballpark, but he does come with his flaws. He needs to do a better job of player management and situational substitutes. Far to often has he left pitchers in when they should’ve been taken out. He also needs to expose Conforto to more left hand pitching. He did a solid job, however, despite all the injuries and issues the team faced this season
The question becomes how much would the Mets pay to get that stud defensive catcher. Kansas City is stating that they will “shake it up” this offseason. There have been questions internally about how long Salvatore Perez will last with the way they have been playing him. Yet every year he goes out and does it again. They showed leaks in their pitching, and key players are getting expensive and closer to free agency. Might be a good time to “make ’em an offer they can’t refuse”, and throw in TDA to be their catcher.
If Lucroy is retained (which we assume he will) then I would take a shot on Ramis. Improves the position AND sticks it to the Nationals
Dookie Howser, MD
Ramos is such a huge question mark. I have no idea what his market will look like and if the Nats will think about giving him a QO. It is also interesting that before the injury, his name was mostly linked with NL teams, and now with him potentially (probably) needing rest from being behind the plate, AL teams would probably be better able to take a risk on him. But how much value does he really have as a (hobbled) DH?
At the end of the day, TdA’s scouting report was perfect. He’s a plus bat and a bit below league average in arm and pitch framing, but is fragile. Every report I ever saw contained the warning “when healthy.” He hasn’t been. He won’t be. Need a backstop who can actually start 130 games.