The search included ten candidates who all completed a first round interview, then four finalists, Chip Hale, Wally Backman, Bob Melvin, and Terry Collins were asked back for a second interview. Each candidate had some things going for them, but no candidate was a favorite during the process.
Backman both played for the Mets in the 80’s as well as managed Single A in Brooklyn this summer. He has a fiery personality and was the fan favorite to get the job.
Bob Melvin was considered by many to be in favor with Mets ownership. He also brought with him experience and a championship ring.
However; it was 61 year old Terry Collins though who was inked to a two year deal. Collins has been a manager in the past, most recently in 1999 for the then California Angels. The end in California was messy, as veteran player Mo Vaughn went to the front office and lobbied that Collins contract was not reknewed. Collins then resigned. Depending on who you hear it from, the Angels quit on Collins or Collins quit on them.
In his 11 year absence from managing in the Majors he has served as the minor league director for the Dodgers under then G.M. Paul Depodesta, and managed overseas, most recently he managed China in the 2009 WBC. Last year he was the Minor League Field Coordinator of the Mets, and it is that which gave him the edge over the other candidates. General Manager Sandy Alderson believed that with his 6 seasons as a Major League Manager and his knowledge of the Mets organization, in terms of prospects, Collins was the best fit for the job.
Collins claimed in his introductory press conference Tuesday at Citi Field that he was not the “evil devil [he] is made out to be.” Yet he admits he expects things to be done the right way, and that he brings alot of intensity and passion for the game, and he demands the same from all his players. Collins believes it is the team who is most consistant over the 162 game season who comes out on top, and that he will be the guy who keeps the Mets to the fundamentals while letting the players play. Collins also spoke how the Mets have some great players who he is very excited to work with, aswell as some tremendous prospects looming in the shadows.
Collins was given just a two year contract, with a club option for 2013. It seems just from that, he is not the long term guy. Maybe they give him two years because they want to see how he will be, but if thats their reasoning, they are not too confident in him or his managing skills. I believe however, Collins is just a stop gap. He will serve as the bridge to the future. Alderson and Collins both believe the Mets will be competitive this season, as you cant rebuild in New York, yet, they are restructuring.
After the 2011 season, the Mets will have about $60 million coming off the payroll. With Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, all becoming free agents. This will set a mark in the organization, as those four guys were all added to the team under Minaya’s tenure and given very generous, somewhat “boneheaded” contracts. It will be that year, in which the Mets decide what kind of team they will become.
I think that Sandy Alderson and his wingmen of Riccardi and DePodesta, will lead the Mets to success, yet I dont expect Collins to be the manager of the future. I believe this two year stop gap is to give Chip Hale and Wally Backman, two years to gain more experience. Then, when they take over in 2013 or 2014, the clutter will be gone, and the Mets will have their identity, one constructed by the “SANDMAN”, Sandy Alderson.