So here we go again as a prominent manager, Joe Maddon, decides to opt out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The talk all day Friday on New York airwaves is a call for the Wilpon owned New York Mets to make a change and bring Maddon to Citi Field.
There is one issue to this: Terry Collins got his contract extension and is the proper manager and deserving one to guide the Mets in their progression. Collins was granted the extension and a vote of confidence came a day after the Mets concluded a sixth consecutive losing season.
However, finishing below .500 again and failure to make the postseason will not show the improvement in most standards. It is always that final record and not playing baseball in October that seems to be the ultimate and failing report card for a manager.
This report card for Terry Collins and the GM Sandy Alderson for the 2014 season was a 79-83 record and tied for second in the NL east with the Atlanta Braves, their best mark in four years. That alone should leave room for progress and not a flaw for the current Mets manager.
Would a change to Maddon, at this juncture, make a difference for the Mets? The answer is a simple no. Because in that Mets clubhouse is respect for the manager and it is because of the progress and optimism that comes for the 2015 season and beyond.
So Mets fans can call for Maddon to arrive and Collins to leave, and they will make their plea if the Mets get off to a bad start in April. By then, Maddon could have other options either managing another team or taking a job off the field in a broadcast booth, or in an upper management capacity with another team.
There is no doubt that Joe Maddon has success written on his resume. Any team would be welcome to have his success ratio of a nine year managerial run with the Rays that included four playoff appearances, two AL East divisional titles and a trip to the World Series.
But that also requires having the right nucleus of players. Maddon had the luxury of managing Rays’ teams with a minimal payroll, many through trades and a minor league system that resulted in success. Collins and the Mets are at this juncture of getting there with a young pitching staff that needs no introduction. And the manager does not take the field.
So what would a Joe Maddon do differently than a Terry Collins in the Mets dugout? What immediately comes into play is leadership and both have that ability and reputation. More so, Collins, as the players say, brings that leadership to the clubhouse.
Over the past few years in that Mets clubhouse this is what you hear: “Terry has a way of talking to the players. He knows how to communicate.” Or the overwhelming comment from five rookies who started for the Mets during the late stages of the season that said, “He (Collins) knows how to teach.”
And that emphasis of teaching is so vital for a young team as the Mets have become. Again this is not to diminish what Joe Maddon could also do for a young Mets team.
But the Mets hierarchy obviously saw that Terry Collins was the right catalyst as their team continues to grow, and having him continue to be a part of the plan was a right decision.
As long as Joe Maddon is not employed by another team, and if the Mets do not make that progression, well the talk of Maddon coming to Flushing will intensify,
For now, Terry Collins is the right man towards that goal of putting the Mets back on top.
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