McDonald: Is Collins On His Last Legs?

(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)

You can hear the tone change in Terry Collins voice. His attitude has changed over the past few weeks as the Mets whipped away the good feeling of April with a seven game losing streak and the team now stands at a tidy .500 on the season.

And as for the offensive woes, Collins feels like there’s nothing he can do.

“We put seven hit-and-runs on the road trip, we didn’t put one ball in play,” Collins said. “How’s it going so far? We aren’t exactly the best bunting team in baseball. This isn’t Little League. These guys did not sign major league contracts b/c they can bunt. Always remember that. We bunt everyday—everyday. It’s a little different when you’re bunting something that’s 70 mph and something that’s 96 that drops six inches. That’s a whole different game. You’ve got guys in the middle of that lineup—I’m not sure I could even tell you when the last time Michael Cuddyer ever dropped a bunt down. Couldn’t tell you. I’ll go back to when Lucas Duda first got to the big leagues. One night, we had a lefty with runners on first and second. He’s hitting fourth. He said ‘You want me to bunt?’ I said ‘You’re hitting fourth. Fourth hitters in the big leagues, they don’t bunt.’ He said ‘Well, I can bunt’ and he dropped a bunt down. So tonight maybe I’ll bunt him early in the game, see if we can get a guy on first. Pull the ol’ Jay Bell thing.

“There are some teams built that small ball’s not part of their game. We don’t have a lot of speed. So if you put a hit-and-run on and a guy swings and misses, he’s out. Now we’re built on power and now all of a sudden a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark, where you can get multiple runs, is out of the picture. So you’ve kind of got to look at what you have and how your team’s built. And we’re not built to do a lot of that stuff.”

The more and more blunt the Mets manager becomes pretty much says he knows his days are numbered. Unless the Mets make a turnaround fast, Collins could be shown the door around the All-Star Break.

Up until the last few weeks, Collins has been the ultimate company man. He said the right things and did everything Sandy Alderson has asked of him. That’s why he’s still in Flushing, even though he has never posted and over .500 record.

But now, things are different. Collins is taking swipes against Alderson and how the team is built. He might be correct, but he also is giving signals that he’s not long for the Mets dugout.

You can just tell when a manager – or coach, for that matter – is going to get the ax. There’s just a change in attitude. We saw it here when Willie Randolph was facing the firing squad. There was a change in his tone. Instead of the tightly wound manager, who treated every press conference like he was in an orange jumpsuit and there were masked men behind him, Randolph was loose as a goose and very funny and forthcoming.

Jerry Manuel’s tone changed towards the end of his tenure. He no longer joked around but was more somber.

Even in other sports, this happens. The Rangers Tom Renney – Honest Tom the Gentleman – was very testy at the end when he saw the writing on the wall.

Now you have Collins taking his backhanded swipes at the Mets. No one is saying he’s wrong. The Mets can’t hit and they have a lineup filled with untested rookies and 4-A players. But it seems like it’s time.

Ryan Sandberg took the hit today down in Philadelphia and you saw the wheels coming off his bus over the past two weeks.

Now no one is saying that Collins is a goner and maybe, it’s just an old man venting, but where there’s smoke there just may be fire and you have to wonder if Collins stay in Queens will end soon.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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