Should Terry Collins win manager of the year this season? While Collins doesn’t have the rings to show for it, he has managed to take his team from the bottom of the barrel to the playoffs for two straight years. In 2015, the Mets had the worst offensive stats of any NL team before the deadline, and after, they ended up with a World Series appearance. Yoenis Cespedes came in and produced, but the attitude of the team changed to a winning one, rather than a mediocre one.
Collins’ accomplishments in 2016 are even more impressive. As the team started to produce in April, injuries to David Wright and Lucas Duda threatened to derail the team. Harvey wasn’t the same as last year, deGrom struggled and both Matz and Syndergaard had bone spurs. James Loney and Jose Reyes were forced into the starting lineup. In July, Reyes, Cespedes and Azdrubal Cabrera were all injured, and deadline acquisition Jay Bruce failed to produce the way he was expected to. From the week before the All-Star break until the middle of August, the team didn’t win any consecutive games. The season changed on August 19th in San Francisco, when Cespedes and Cabrera came back from injury. The team split the series in San Francisco, then took two out of three in St. Louis. Though the September schedule eased up, the injuries did not. DeGrom, Walker and Matz all had season ending surgeries, but the Mets kept winning with pitchers and position players who were essentially minor leaguers. Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and TJ Rivera all stepped in and played like seasoned veterans. This, along with the play of the regular starters, led to the wild card berth. Collins’ ability to have his team ready to play every day coming down the stretch is admirable.
Along with Collins, the other two managers I expect to be up for manager of the Year are Dusty Baker for the Nationals and Dave Roberts for the Dodgers, both in their first years at their respective organizations. I would expect Roberts to garner a lot of votes due to the Dodgers’ ability to play better when the team got banged up. Dusty Baker will also obtain votes for his ability to lead the team back to the postseason after collapsing last year. All three teams had adversity to overcome. However, the Mets generally had the most. They had high expectations an succumbed to many injuries, so it’s surprising that they were in position to make the playoffs. After going on a run most teams have all their arms worn out or their bats go soft the next year, as seen with the Royals and Cardinals. That exact thing happened to the Mets, but for Collins, it was as easy as finding the next man up.
It’s hard to think past this postseason, but Terry’s contract is up at the end of 2017. With the number of Mets returning from injury, it’s hard to believe that the Mets will be worse next year, although that almost entirely depends on Cespedes’ opt out situation. If he continues to prepare his team for 162 games next year and notch winning record it’d hard to imagine him ending his tenure in Queens with anything less than on his own terms.