A season of misery finally came to an end Sunday for the Mets. What was left in its wake is a team that needs a whole lot of improvement and a general manager who faces the toughest challenge of his eight-year tenure. “Any season is a challenge,” said general manager Sandy Alderson after the Mets dropped a 11-0 season finale in Philadelphia.
Not like 2018.
As expected, Terry Collins is out as the field manager while Alderson, who held himself accountable, said he “expects to return as general manager” next season.
Once it became apparent that this would be a lost season, after such huge expectations, the “vultures” began circling around Collins’ tenure. Mets beat reporter Marc Carig’s exclusive report in Newsday last week seemed to provide the last straw. Carig cited unnamed team officials as saying Alderson and COO Jeff Wilpon wanted to fire Collins numerous times, including the 2016 season, before the team went on a run in the second half and qualified for the “Wild Card” game, but were blocked by Jeff’s father, Fred Wilpon, who protected the manager.
During his “State of the Mets” presser following Sunday’s game, Alderson said Collins brought up the subject of stepping down. “Terry brought up the topic, [sic] we were on a road trip in Miami and brought up the possibility of stepping down,” Alderson said. Collins had previously indicated that he wanted to return but according to Alderson, “Here in Philadelphia, I think he came to a decision that was in his best interests,” said Alderson but added, “he (Collins) was thinking about the organization and that was in the best interests of the organization.”
Alderson did not dispute the notion that he was seeking a change and was very complimentary of Collins but he was furious that there was a leak (sound familiar?) which has to be unsettling for the entire front office. Where did this leak come from and what about the content. It’s one thing to say that the former manager did not always see eye-to-eye with Alderson but to intimate that Collins’ usage of Jeurys Familia, was the reason he suffered a blood clot, is totally out of line. Alderson said “Were I to know who that person was, that person would be terminated immediately” when referring to the information that allegedly came from the front office.
So the search begins for a new manager but not before Alderson said “there are some other issues that we have to address” including the coaching staff. Expect a big time, shake up there. Dan Warthen’s time as pitching coach has seemingly come to an end, despite the protestations from Noah Syndergaard.
Some names have already surfaced as candidates for the job including former bench coach and current Dodgers’ bench coach Bob Geren and former Minnesota Twins manager and former Met Ron Gardenhire. According to my nysportsday.com colleague Rich Mancuso, a source close to the situation said former Mets’ coach Chip Hale, who was fired by Arizona after one season on the job, is interested in the Mets’ opening.
Once the new manager and coaching staff is in place, there is the dilemma of putting a contending team on the field next season. Can Alderson convince the Wilpons to take out the checkbook because they will need to sign at least one or two free agents to solve some of their question marks around the diamond.
The Mets’ farm system is lacking talent but they have chips on the major league roster. The uncertain health of their pitchers handcuffs their ability to make deals but they still have some attractive pieces that may bring back some quality talent.
It’s quite the challenge for the soon to be 70-year old Alderson, who not only has to “clean up” the product on the field, he’s got some housecleaning to do within his own administration. You can bet they’ll be “walking on eggshells” at 126th and Roosevelt Avenue during this off season.