It was 3 a.m. on June 17, 2008. The New York Mets had just won the opening game of a series against the Los Angeles Angels at the start of a West Coast road trip. For several weeks there were rumors the Mets were going to fire Willie Randolph. The same Willie Randolph who guided them to the National League’s best record and a base hit from the World Series less than two years earlier in 2006.
But, because of the collapse of 2007, Mets fans had enough. And come this fateful day in June of ’08, Omar Minaya and Wilpon’s had enough too. Willie Randolph was fired, and he didn’t deserve it.
Fast forward some nine years later, here we go again.
Just listen to New York sports radio lately, you will hear the catcalls from Mets fans that Terry Collins belongs on the hot seat and should be canned. Understandably, when a team like the Mets has high expectations, someone is going to get blamed when the teams struggles.
And almost always it’s the manger. It’s the nature of the beast.
The question is, is Collins actually on the hot seat as we approach Memorial Day? To be fair, Collins and the Mets have been dealt a big blow with the amount of injuries on this team. From Yoenis Cespedes to Noah Syndergaard to Jeryus Familia, Lucas Duda, Steven Matz, and even David Wright, nobody really knows how good this team could be were all their pieces actually in place.
To be fair to Collins, nobody (and I mean nobody) expected the kind of poor performances we have seen this year by a number of Mets stars. Matt Harvey was once the ace of this team, and now he’s a very average pitcher with an attitude problem. Robert Gsellman was supposed to be a pitcher with a bright future in the Mets rotation, but after posting a 6.75 ERA in 10 games, it is likely the end of Gsellman’s time in the Mets rotation.
Consider the injuries to the pitching staff, and the Mets best starter might be Zack Wheeler, who hadn’t pitched in two years before this season. That says everything you need to know about the cards Collins has been dealt.
Offensively, Neil Walker, Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson all look old. Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis D'Arnaud never stay on the field long enough before suffering another setback due to injury.
The Mets consistency is their inconsistency. While Collins is certainly to blame a number of his managerial decision, his bullpen calls are almost always wrong, and he deserves a lot of blame for the way he babied both Syndergaard and Harvey, he is not the sole reason the Mets are 18-24.
If Met fans want to pin blame on Collins, they should also pin equal blame on General Manager Sandy Alderson, who put together a team with too many aging players, a strategy that runs polar opposite to his mantra of building from within with young players.
While Collins isn’t on the hot seat right now, should the Mets’ struggles continue, the seat would only warm. Like I said, it’s the nature of the beast. Collins doesn’t have a contract beyond this year, and the Wilpon’s might consider him expendable at some point. But, firing Collins now sends the message the Mets are giving up on the season.
Let’s hope the Wilpon’s learned something from the Willie Randolph debacle, because firing Collins now is not the answer. As the longest tenured manager in Mets history, who has been through the highs and lows, Terry Collins deserves to finish the season as Mets manager at the very least.