Entering his fifth season as the Mets manager, Terry Collins isn’t a stranger to fan pressure and media scrutiny. With the 2015 season opener less than two weeks away, the start of a new campaign ushers in renewed hope and optimism to fans of the Amazin’s.
So while expectations are sky high for Collins’ club, the 65-year-old baseball-lifer is already reportedly butting heads with general manager Sandy Alderson. There appears to be a discord between Alderson’s agenda and Collins’ philosophy to build a win-now ball club.
Collins would love to have top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Steven Matz make an impact with the big league club, but all three of these promising young stars will start the year at the minor league level. Alderson prefers to wait until a later juncture in the season to call-up one of New York’s young guns, while Collins understands that if his team gets off to a slow start his days roaming the dugout could be numbered.
The other determining factor in the equation is the free agent status of the organization’s top prospects. If Syndergaard were to start the year in the Mets rotation and not return to the minor leagues, he would become eligible for free agency after the 2020 season instead of delaying free agency until after 2021. If the Mets wait until later in the summer to start Syndergaard they could save millions by delaying arbitration eligibility by a year.
The odds that Collins will be the team’s manager five years down the line are slim to none, but Alderson wants to conserve the team’s assets and prolong the length of time the organization can control them.
So when you have a manager on the hot seat and a GM preferring to fully develop and refine prospects instead of throwing them into the fire at the major level; friction is inevitably going to develop.
Alderson is notoriously secretive about his plans for the organization, often keeping Collins in the dark about his intent to call-up or send down certain players. Additionally when season-ending elbow injuries were sustained by starter Zack Wheeler and reliever Josh Edgin, Collins seemed to know very few details on the medical condition or status of either pitcher.
With signs of dysfunction bubbling to the surface, Collins and Alderson reportedly had a private meeting before spring training to air their grievances, but they can’t ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Collins is on a short leash and if the Mets get off to a slow start, he’s as good as gone. New York starts the year with series against the Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Marlins, Yankees and Orioles, so suffice it to say that we’ll find out relatively quickly the fate of Collins’ coaching future in the Big Apple.