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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Klapisch: Mets’ Terry Collins losing grip on manager’s job

You spend a good piece of your Met season gripping a Vodka Collins and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.

The countdown on Terry Collins began on the first day of pitchers and catchers and nothing so far has made it any easier to believe he’ll be back with the Mets in 2014. Of course, Collins has handled his lame-duck status with grace and maturity — he’s an honest guy, good with people — but that hasn’t stopped Sandy Alderson from letting his manager continue to drift away from the mother ship.

Collins, no dummy, knows he would’ve already received a vote of confidence, even in private, if Alderson and Jeff Wilpon were entirely sold on his body of work. Both men know what job security — or its absence — does to a manager’s standing in the clubhouse. Without a commitment from ownership, Collins looks like a short-timer on a bad team, a latter-day George Bamberger. The current six-game losing streak, including embarrassing back-to-back losses to the Marlins, doesn’t help his cause, either.

So what’ll it take for Collins to avoid being fired, even before the end of the season? A more robust roster would help, obviously. In the meantime, he has to prove to the front office that the Mets are listening to him, and that he’s relevant enough to relate to the next wave of stars — particularly Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Travis D’Arnaud.

Collins’ relationship with David Wright is solid, as it should be. But just as Davey Johnson had built-in ties with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry and Ron Darling, among others, in 1984, it’s Wally Backman, not Collins, who has a head start with the 20-somethings who’ll be at Citi for the rest of the decade.

Repoz Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:23 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. thetailor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:12 AM (#4430455)
I hate the way that Collins manages. And it's not just because the team is bad. From TFA:

The following day, Collins flubbed a more complex set of choices, allowing Ryan Howard to beat the Mets with a pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh. With Kevin Frandsen at the plate in a tie game and runners on first and second, Collins decided Jonathon Niese had reached his limit after his 117th pitch. Collins wanted Scott Atchison, a righty, to face Frandsen, also a righty. But why?

He also treats Scott Rice like he can get anyone out without luck. The guy has like a 1.0 K/BB and looks like a father pitching BP to his kid. Like it or not, Familia is the third best guy out of the pen, after Parnell and Lyon.

Speaking of which, the IBB he had Familia issue in extra innings was a crime against humanity. Collins sucks.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4430458)
The Mets fan I worked with was struck last night about how stressed Collins looked when making the decision about the pitching change last night. I didn't see the game but did he look tortured? On the other coast, Mike Scioscia went to pull a pitcher because he lost track of the count and had to make an embarrassing retreat to the dugout. #losingisstressful
   3. PreservedFish Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4430565)
Never had an issue with Collins, but that may be more a result of the less stressful, hands-off way I've been watching the team recently.
   4. catomi01 Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4430604)
it’s Wally Backman, not Collins, who has a head start with the 20-somethings who’ll be at Citi for the rest of the decade.


Genuinely curious - what is the Met's fan/NY writer/reporter/blogger obsession with Wally Backman...and if he's that deserving a job, why is no one else pursuing him? We had a met's fan and work who was livid that they didn't fire collins and promote backman over the winter...and so far, I really just see the apeall beyond the met's alum status and the fact that his is familiar with their minor league players. Not bashing him or promoting Collins - but what really seperates backman from a dozen other former players with a decent amount of minor league managing experience?
   5. Conor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4430636)
Like it or not, Familia is the third best guy out of the pen, after Parnell and Lyon.


I'm not sure I can sign on to that yet. The guy just can't throw strikes. He's only thrown 19 IP in the majors, but he's walked 14 (not including one intentional). Latroy Hawkins has been pretty good, believe it or not.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4430659)
Latroy Hawkins has been pretty good, believe it or not.


With the exception of two partial seasons, Latroy Hawkins has ranged from pretty good to excellent for the past dozen years.

   7. thetailor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4430691)
I will sign on that Hawkins is better than we think. But Hawkins: career ERA 4.44, ZIPS projection 4.50, FIP last three seasons of 4.19, 3.42, 3.47. Velocity down to 91.3 from 92.3 last year and 94.2 in 2009. He's probably a best case scenario 3.9 here on out. I think Familia could beat that. Plus, the stuff! My goodness.
   8. Conor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4430703)
With the exception of two partial seasons, Latroy Hawkins has ranged from pretty good to excellent for the past dozen years.


This is true, and maybe I came off a little harder on him than I should have. But, in my defense

1) He struck out less th an 5 per 9 last year
2) He's 40, and by far most importantly
3) There apparently is a rule that every Met reliever Sandy Alderson acquires has to suck

I will sign on that Hawkins is better than we think. But Hawkins: career ERA 4.44, ZIPS projection 4.50, FIP last three seasons of 4.19, 3.42, 3.47. Velocity down to 91.3 from 92.3 last year and 94.2 in 2009. He's probably a best case scenario 3.9 here on out. I think Familia could beat that. Plus, the stuff! My goodness.


Yeah I wasn't necessarily saying I think Hawkins is great, though he has pitched well so far. It's more that I am very skeptical of Familia. The arm is incredible, but he can't throw strikes.
   9. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4430728)
This season got very unpleasant very fast.
   10. billyshears Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4430834)
You know, I almost don't realize the Mets play baseball on days when Matt Harvey or Jon Niese don't pitch. It's better that way. Wake me up when Wheeler and D'Arnaud get here.
   11. thetailor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4430918)
Wake me up when Wheeler and D'Arnaud get here.

Alright, so that will be July and never, respectively, given D'Arnaud's injury history.
   12. Bob Tufts Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4431014)
Not bashing him or promoting Collins - but what really seperates backman from a dozen other former players with a decent amount of minor league managing experience?


The press getting ready early to create a new story before Collins does lose his team (as has happened at each job before)in a fit of rage.

And I don't get the Backman love either. Considering senior management, do you really want another psychopath loose in CitiField?
   13. bobm Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4431276)
Not bashing him or promoting Collins - but what really seperates backman from a dozen other former players with a decent amount of minor league managing experience?

With Tim Teufel on the Mets' major league coaching staff, he and Backman can platoon at the manager's position.
   14. catomi01 Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4431359)
with all of the assistant batting coaches popping up lately, are we really that far from that? 1 guy to make the lineup and make tactical decisions, another for PR and player relations or some other split is almost where i could see some teams eventually ending up.
   15. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4431466)
Francisco Pena, (remember him?), is hitting a very respectable .311/.360/.422 in AA. He's still only 23 years old even though it feels like he has been around forever. He has only struck out one time in 51 plate appearances so far this year. I remember him being touted as a pretty good defensive catcher. I was about to give up on him but he's back on my radar. He's been splitting time with Blake Forsythe, another catcher that has been hitting well in AA, .347/.411/.653. It'll be interesting to see if these guys can keep it up.

   16. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:38 AM (#4431468)
@4: Nothing separates Backman from the hundreds of former major leaguers who wouldn't know how to manage using anything we've learned about the game since, oh, 1950, if offered a manager's job.

Backman has never said anything that evinces an understanding of the game beyond their being some meaning to platoon batting averages, but then ownership has managed to learn nothing about the game or how wins are gotten, either, so that part of his lack of education is irrelevant. Jeff Wilpon will be picking the next manager and the next GM, and Backman has magical superties to the great Mets teams of the mid80s, and as long as he doesn't mess himself in public, he'll get the job next. The chances that he'll do anything positive of note are zero.

edit: on the positive side, perhaps we can hope Backman's alleged rapport with young players means he won't destroy any young arms, then gets fired after two seasons of 69 and 68 wins, leaving just in time for the team to luck into someone actually good who get the team to the postseason before Wheeler departs in FA.

And that's the positive side. As long as the Wilpons own the team and don't have a payroll near the top of the league to cover their blunders, that will always be the positive side.
   17. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:36 AM (#4431480)
@15: As always, with any Mets prospect, it's context that just kills you. That sweet line is in under 50 PAs***. Plus, he's a repeater. Last season, in a somewhat more telling 145 PAs at AA his line was an impressive .198/.299/.325.

Pena's line in A ball over 825 PAs was .238/.286/.334.
In High A it was 230/.274/.337, and that's over four seasons. When you look at a guy's record and it includes four seasons at one level, you know there are issues, and Pena's issues are obvious. The man simply cannot hit a baseball well enough for his age and level to be considered anything like a prospect.

In over 2000 PAs, over 7 seasons, Pena's line is .234/.285/.335. When he was 21 at A+, in St. Lucie, an age appropriate to that level and suggestive of a guy who might reach the majors at the usual ages of 24 or 25 if he can actually play, he put up .223/.275/.310.

Ugh.

Pena's no prospect. He's so poor a hitter his defense is irrelevant. His best hope is that four guys ahead of him get hurt, the Mets are so broke they can't trade for anyone any better, Pena comes up for a week, gets hot, has a charming personality, and it takes the club another four years to realize he's sub-replacement level, but in the meantime his pension vests.


***That's even assuming your numbers are correct. BBRef has Pena through today with an OPS of .688 for 2013. You may be a week or so out of date, another reminder of how misleading SSSs can be.
   18. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 02, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4431485)
Milb.com updates the stats immediately after the game or close to it so they are a little quicker than baseball reference. I understand small samples and I can certainly understand your pessimism. But I am hardly advocating that Pena is the catcher of the future. All I said that he's someone to keep on the radar screen again after I had personally stopped paying attention. Pena is 23 years old and he was supposed to have pretty good tools. Sometimes, these guys figure these things out a little but later. A guy like Carlos Gomez, whom most thought would never figure things out looks like he is developing into a very good player.

I'm also really interested in the lack of strikeouts. Only 1 strikeout in about 50 plate appearances after averaging 1 about every 5 plate appearances. Small samples do apply but that's a pretty drastic change.

   19. Dan Posted: May 02, 2013 at 03:58 AM (#4431498)
It's probably just a fluke due to getting hot in a small sample, but Pena would hardly be the first catcher to be late in figuring out how to hit. A catcher not hitting well at all until being fairly old in AA is really no unheard of at all. I think Russlan is right that he's at least worth keeping an eye on. If he's back doing his typical thing by July, oh well, but if he keeps hitting, maybe he's for real.

As for the other guy Russlan mentioned, Forscythe, he's simply incapable of making contact at a level to be a successful hitter. His current line is supported by a .448 BABIP, with him striking out at his normal (high) rates.
   20. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 04:39 AM (#4431503)
Uh-huh.

I'm also really interested in the lack of strikeouts.

This is the really interesting number: .285

   21. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:52 AM (#4431556)
Hard to have this conversation without a nod to the fact that Kevin Plawecki is hitting .402/.462/.696 in one of the toughest parks for a hitter in professional baseball (Savannah). That's 106 PA, and the scouts like him too. If D'Arnaud doesn't start having better luck with the injury fairy, Plawecki is far more likely than any of these others to catch for the Mets in the bigs.*

*Caveat being that Pena, as Tony Pena's son, always has a little bit of an advantage--not in terms of actually succeeding, but inasmuch as the Mets might think it was just neato to bring him up. Hell, Mike Glavine got some ABs at the end of one of those lost seasons in the early aughts.
   22. billyshears Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4431637)
Francisco Pena, (remember him?), is hitting a very respectable .311/.360/.422 in AA. He's still only 23 years old even though it feels like he has been around forever. He has only struck out one time in 51 plate appearances so far this year. I remember him being touted as a pretty good defensive catcher. I was about to give up on him but he's back on my radar. He's been splitting time with Blake Forsythe, another catcher that has been hitting well in AA, .347/.411/.653. It'll be interesting to see if these guys can keep it up.


I can't swear that this is accurate, but I thought the line of Pena was that his father was a late bloomer, so he might be as well. I'm not sure that makes any sense whatsoever, and it's awfully late for Francisco, but maybe he can develop into a decent backup.

As far as Plawecki, they need to move him to St.Lucie. College draftees should crush the Sally league. Also, Nimmo is like 0 for the last week and a half.
   23. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4431781)
That's a slender reed indeed. Pena Pere was respectable as a 20 year in A ball, then went all kaboom on the league as a 22 year old repeating AA ball. He hit well the next year in AAA, then spent 19 years in the majors. Francisco, on the other hand is already 23, and has yet to come within 200 points of OPS of his dad's age 22 season. He'd better bloom pretty damned fast.

What's funny is that it's literally a single game that distinguishes a typical, undistinguished Pena season from his current .782 OPS. With 47 PAs, his OPS was .688 (a bit on the high side for him, but in range). He went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and is now a player to keep an eye on.

   24. The District Attorney Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4431804)
Backman has never said anything that evinces an understanding of the game beyond their being some meaning to platoon batting averages
Heh, Backman would have to have been really dense not to figure that one out...
   25. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4431808)
The most painful part of the interview was when Backman allowed as how it was his observance of that particular stat that made him a "stat rat". I wept.
   26. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4431842)
What's funny is that it's literally a single game that distinguishes a typical, undistinguished Pena season from his current .782 OPS. With 47 PAs, his OPS was .688 (a bit on the high side for him, but in range). He went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and is now a player to keep an eye on.

Those PA happened and they matter. As the line from the movie says, it's only one hit a week that makes the difference between a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter. It's not what we are saying means anything. All we are saying is that he's someone that might have a small chance of being a big leaguer, which makes him better than a lot of guys in the minors. No one is predicting anything more than that.
   27. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4432039)
This is what you wrote:

All I said that he's someone to keep on the radar screen again


And he's simply not. That was my point. 'That one game happened' is utterly without meaning--utterly--in the context of a seven year pro season and over two thousand plate appearances.
   28. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 02, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4432131)
Well, let's agree to disagree. I understand your argument and you understand mine.
   29. billyshears Posted: May 02, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4432274)
Only at BTF will somebody argue with the assertion that a prospect is one to keep an eye on with the belief that there is a possibility that he may one day be a MLB backup.

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