Mancuso: The Mets Issue Is Sandy Alderson, Not Terry Collins

Terry Collins is the professional and the manager is going about his business in these last three games of his tenure with the Mets as if nothing is wrong. And in all due respect to the second winningest manager in franchise history, he is not the culprit in this season of disaster.

So the manager as they say, is being thrown under the bus. Like him or not, and what manager is there to please the world, this Mets organization of chaos needs to come clean. Monday when the house cleaning is done, GM Sandy Alderson will do the dirty work.

Though the cleaning of the house needs to start at the top, and again, as stated here months ago, ownership will not let Sandy Alderson walk away. Sandy is the yes man and he answers to what this ownership wants.

Yet the house cleaning should not fall on Collins or a coaching staff. Perhaps the medical personnel is the blame for this shame, and upper management that handles baseball operations regarding the medical ward at Citi Field have to be held accountable for the record number of players on the disabled that is unprecedented.

So a season gone bad and the chaos about a manager that has not clicked with his bosses, the  reports are about Terry Collins clashing with his players. So reminiscent how the end came for the Bobby Valentine Boston Red Sox and before that with Terry Francona.

Believe who you want to believe from the various reports about sources. Their accounts this week about Terry Collins are putting him under the bus as this Mets team will finish with their most losses since 2003 and far from what was expected when they headed up north in April.

Collins does not deal with conditioning of his players. That is left to the medical personnel and getting daily reports. He only controls his clubhouse and puts the best lineup available on the field and these last few months there were no signs of disention in the ranks.

However, there are two sides to every story as Collins continued to manage the final month with a roster that was fit for a spring training game. Those two consecutive years Collins guided his team to the postseason are in the books as part of his legacy in New York.

And one can argue that ownership and the GM acquired Yoenis Cespedes at a hefty price, an acquisition that was instrumental to that 2015 World Series team, an investment now that looks bad.  There was Daniel Murphy with a record home run pace, but Collins no longer had him due to free agency and those young prospects on the mound became a hard luck core.

And quickly, success became failure for the manager because this is the business of baseball economics and reality that the game has changed when it comes to conditioning,

So, of course the manager has to take the fall and become a subject of  the primary culprit as to what went wrong.

This week Jose Reyes said, “Terry Collins is like a second father to me.” You heard that from more than one player, hence the question as to why is Terry Collins the culprit, and again the Mets not a happy family with a manager from reports who lost the clubhouse?

How can a team go from top of the world to such a low point in two years? Well, don’t blame the manager in this business known as the game of baseball.

Blame the GM and not Terry, and of course the speculation of who will assume this mess will continue and Sandy Alderson will still be in control. This GM answers to the owners and that is no secret. What the Wilpon ownership wants is what Sandy delivers.

Those in the Mets clubhouse often, this columnist in particular, do develop a bond with some players. They are aware this season of disaster is by no means a failure of the manager.  

But really, does it matter who is talking trash about Terry Collins?

It was no secret, and reported here this week that the 68-year old Collins made it known he was not retiring. One source reiterated again this week that his intention coming into this season of expectations was calling it a career when it was over.

And through this entire season of disaster, Terry Collins continued to manage and spoke for his players as that mentor and leader, and honestly when did Collins bash his players in those pre and post game meetings with the media? Which makes this more evident that trash talk is coming from elsewhere and not the players in a clubhouse who have reiterated they did not perform.

Is it Amed Rosario talking?  Highly doubt the rookie is bashing his manager behind the scenes. Maybe Asdrubal Cabrera, who survived that purge of house cleaning of veterans prior to the non-waiver trade deadline and ironic the complainer that was a malcontent is still around this mess and recall it was news to Collins.

Matt Harvey? Collins always had his back and was not commenting when Harvey was lost in action earlier this season. The manager shook his head and protected the righthander.

Or is this Jerry Blevins talking trash with the reports claiming that Collins overused the bullpen?

Blevins is the pitch and innings leader out of the Mets bullpen, a barrage of arms that has compiled the highest ERA in baseball.

Carlos Torres the  former Mets righthander who worked a record number of innings out of the pen, said that Terry Collins always asked, “Carlos can you get out there and give us an inning?” Torres would comply because he was a workhorse, that valuable one pitch, one inning, and occasional spot starter.

“There was never a question about Terry,” he said. “A player’s manager who had your back all the time.”

Torres, part of that backend Milwaukee Brewers bullpen  was quickly disposed and not on that 2015 post season roster that saw a Mets team unexpectedly fall to the Royals in the World Series. Collins vouched for the righthander who had that bad September stretch.

Alderson, reportedly was the one bashing Torres. Collins, as always went with the plan and according to sources it was more than one player that Sandy Alderson had in his doghouse and they were released and out of his hair.

But the disaster will see this manager take the fall, and  it could have been handled differently, then again when have the Mets done anything correct over the years with personnel? Willie Randolph got fired in Anaheim and a  former GM, Omar Minaya gets minimal credit for reorganizing a minor league system that at one time was in disarray.

The manager only handles the  personnel in that clubhouse and it is obvious that Sandy Alderson has not been effective with player personnel.

Friday night Collins was asked about reports that closer Jeurys Familia was used too much which may have been  a contributing factor that put him on the shelf for months that required surgery and rehab after removal of a clot on the right shoulder.

Collins gave the proper response. He sits in the manager’s chair and blamed the World Baseball Classic participation as the culprit that shut down Familia. He didn’t fault the medical staff or the GM. That prior to the season season WBC tournament that  also put back Seth Lugo, another of the young arms that helped pitch the Mets to that NL Wild Card last year also hurt the Mets in this season of misfortune.

One aspect of this mess that needs to be known, and we are aware how this baseball game of business can be, winning brings smiles and losing brings out the worst. In other words the Mets want to get away from seven years of Terry Collins and go in another direction.

All that success of Collins has become old news.

But this bashing of Terry Collins is not deserved. The manager only has what is available with  personnel in that clubhouse, and it is obvious that Sandy Alderson has not been effective with player personnel and decisions with the roster.

So the next manager has a major task ahead. Will it be Chip Hale, Alex Cora, Robin Ventura, Bob Geren, or any of the other names that we keep hearing? First and foremost it comes from the front office and the owners are content with Sandy.

But to those who own the ship, a sinking one for sure, Terry Collins was not with the plan. Oh, he was up until a year ago when things ended up good.  And that my friends and to what is going on is bad for business.

Bad, because Collins is not the culprit and for the good he has accomplished that contract will not be renewed. All the good is out the door, and what went bad in 2017 was the fall of Terry Collins and his tenure with the New York Mets.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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