By: Brian Mangan
On this page, I am going to chronicle the many flip-flops of Mets’ manager Terry Collins. As of this writing, there are no less than four separate issues which Terry has taken public stands on, only to reverse position within a few days — or in some cases, even just a single day (this is without every considering the prior debacle over Lucas Duda v. Ike Davis at first base, which is now a distant memory).
Want to be entertained/depressed for fifteen minutes? Go on Twitter and search #FreeJuan or #FreeLagares and take a look at what Mets fans think of the most recent flip-flop, the benching of centerfielder Juan Lagares for three of the last four games. If you have a strong stomach, you can even look up #FireTerry. It’s not nice out there.
Terry Collins might be a good manager, or he might be a bad manager. He might be right to bench Lagares in favor of Eric Young Jr., or he might be wrong. We all have our own opinions on the matter (don’t worry guys, I agree with you that it’s insane to bench Lagares for EY). I will endeavor here merely to chronicle these flip-flops.
I’ll let you be the judge of what you believe the impact of these flip-flops might be on team morale, or fan morale. I’m leaving my opinion out of it… for now.
The Outfield, Eric Young, Juan Lagares Saga
Terry can’t make up his mind about what to do with his four outfielders.
May 1 – Equal Four Man Rotation
“Earlier this week, Terry Collins said he intends to rotate Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Eric Young Jr. in and out of the three outfield positions, with no player ever sitting in back-to-back games.” Metsblog.
May 3 – Juan Lagares, Everyday CF
Juan Lagares is now the Mets’ “everyday” center fielder. That is how Terry Collins described the 25-year-old when talking about how hard it would be to keep him out of the lineup . . . “He is going to be out there the majority of the time, he’s got to be,” Terry Collins said. “That’s No.1 he’s the future, he’s showing he’s getting better. If he starts looking at .195 we’ll have to take look at, but right now he’s getting on base and doing all the things we want him to. Daily News
May 16 – Lagares Benched Three of Last Four Games
When Collins was asked why Lagares hasn’t been playing, he said: “We’re going to get him (in) tomorrow. He’s not been swinging good. If you have a crystal ball, call me. He’s expanding the zone. We need his defense, but we have to score runs.” According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Collins said that he’s “more concerned” with offense over defense at the moment. Metsblog
May 18 – Terry Collins Reacts to Criticism
Collins has the nerve to be annoyed that fans questioned his decision to sit Lagares for four out of five games. In order to make his argument sound stronger, he misstates how long Lagares was benchedm, saying “it’s not like I sat him for seven days. I sat him for two days, for cripes sake. We’re getting a little carried away here.”
He then blamed the media for making it an issue, saying “in my opinion, this is what the market is here. If I give Grandy a day off, he’s `benched.’ If I give C.Y. a day off, he’s `benched.’ If I give Juan a day off, he’s `benched.’ That’s not really the case. I know you’ve got to sell newspapers, so do what you’ve got to say.”
May 18 – Collins Continues to Pout About Being Wrong
Hell, this is the same guy that talked about moving Murphy to first base and starting Eric Young every day at second base while we still had both Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. Metsblog.
The fellas over at 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball had a great post about this topic on April 13th — predicting the logjam and concluding, “The anxiety associated with the impending arrival of Chris Young underscores that the average Mets fan no longer has faith in management’s ability to manage.” So right.
The Revolving Door at Closer
Terry names a new closer or future closer seemingly every day.
April 8 – Valverde the Closer
Until then, Collins said he will go forward with the bullpen he has right now, using Jose Valverde as the closer. Daily News
April 13 – Valverde Still the Closer
Regardless, Valverde is not relinquishing the closer’s role. “He is still the closer, if that’s the question,” Terry Collins said[.] ESPN
April 20 – Farnsworth Replaces Valverde
April 24 – Matsuzaka Closed, But Farnsworth the Closer
Collins … said Farnsworth remains the Mets’ primary closer. Chicago Tribune
April 24 – Torres the Primary 8th Inning Guy
Collins said he turned to Torres instead of keeping Matsuzaka on the mound beyond the seventh because he now considers Torres as the team’s primary eighth-inning option. Post
May 11 – Familia On the Verge of Closing
Collins said Familia was on the verge of earning the ninth-inning gig. “The confidence is really mounting on him,” Collins said. “He’s real close.” Daily News
May 13 – Closer by Committee
Kyle Farnsworth is no longer the Mets’ closer. He’s simply one of many. Manager Terry Collins said on Tuesday that his ninth-inning situation is “kind of game by game,” naming Jose Valverde, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jeurys Familia as additional candidates to close out games. MLB.com
May 13 – Mejia Eventual Closer, Must Relieve First
May 15 – Mejia to Close Tonight
Mets manager Terry Collins said Jenrry Mejia would serve as the team’s closer in the Subway Series finale. Daily News
May 15 – But Mejia Is Not Ready to Pitch Back to Back Games Yet
“If we felt he was ready to go back-to-back days, possibly three days in a row, he would be the guy. But he is not at that stage yet,” Collins said. NBCSports.com
May 16 – Mejia Not to Close Tonight, Though
Should a save situation unfold tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jose Valverde are the leading candidates to close it out. MLB.com via twitter
May 16 – Mejia Probably Not Available Back to Back Days… “We have to be careful”
Terry Collins said he may use Mejia on Saturday and Sunday, although the manager is not positive because the latter is a day game after a night game… “He hasn’t been back-to-back in four years, so we’ve got to be careful,” Collins said. “… For sure, if it’s not this weekend, next week he’s got to go back-to-back sometime.” ESPN.com
May 17 – Mejia Agrees, Tentative About Pitching Back to Back
“I don’t know yet,” Mejia hesitantly said about working back-to-back days. “Let’s see how I feel tomorrow, because I just have three days in the bullpen, and I have like three years that I didn’t pitch like that. Three years ago I was injured, hurt a lot. I don’t know right now.” … “Three days in the bullpen, I think we’ve got to take a little bit longer.” ESPN.com
May 17 – Forget Careful, Mejia is Available
Mets.com reported on Sunday afternoon that “Mejia was available to pitch the ninth inning Sunday if needed, a day after earning his first career save.” Mets.com
In this case, Terry committed multiple sins. By going to Valverde, and then to Farnsworth, Terry chose relievers with track records of hundreds of innings in the majors, and who every reasonable fan knew would fail. But that’s not the point of the article.
The relevant sin is what he’s done over the last month with Matsuzaka, Farnsworth, Familia, and Mejia. He does almost a complete 180 every single day, most recently with jerking Mejia back and forth about whether or not he will be pitching back to back days or not.
Shortstop: Flores & Tejada
The Mets tell Tejada he’s lost his job, only to give it back to him permanently when Flores is sick for two days.
May 10 – Flores Will Play and Prove Himself
“We’re going to put him out there. That’s why we brought him here. We’ll determine what the maneuvers will be as we go along. We need some offense at the bottom of the lineup. Hopefully, he provides it.” NJ.com
May 13 – Tejada Earns His Job Back
Four days ago, Ruben Tejada lost his job when the Mets called up Wilmer Flores and Collins said: “He’s going to play [shortstop].” But then Flores got sick, and Tejada went back in the lineup and played well. ESPN
May 14 – Flores to Start Wednesday
… Mets SS Ruben Tejada was told last week that he had lost his starting shortstop job to Wilmer Flores, who had been promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas … Despite Tejada’s recent success, Terry Collins said Flores is 100 percent and will start Wednesday at Citi Field. Metsblog
May 15 – Nevermind, Flores Not Starting Wednesday
In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, Mets manager Terry Collins said he planned to start Wilmer Flores at shortstop Wednesday. That idea lasted all of half a day. By Wednesday afternoon, after meeting with his coaching staff, Collins decided that Ruben Tejada is simply “too hot to take out” of the lineup. “You’ve got to ride that wave,” Collins said. “This guy is really swinging the bat good. This kid has really put his mind to producing.” Mets.com
May 17 – After Only a Handful of At Bats, Terry Declares Tejada to be “Back”
“I think sometimes when you face adversity we’ll find out what you’re made of,” Collins said this week. “He’s showing us that he’s the same player he was a couple years ago.”
Flores started two games against the Phillies, but came down with an illness that forced him out of the lineup Sunday. Tejada stepped in and delivered the game-winning hit in the 5-4 win over the Phillies, a much-needed moment for a struggling player. Collins said those moments can help rebuild confidence when a player is enduring a rough stretch. NorthJersey.com
May 21 – Both Flores and Tejada Are Starters… Somehow?
“I can tell you right now, I’ve got it already penciled in who’s playing shortstop the rest of this week,” he said. “There’s no reason why you can’t get through the year with two guys getting opportunities to play.” Metsblog.com
Awful, just awful. It’s even funnier that Flores was benched last week given the rationale of Terry (in the prior section) that he is valuing offense over defense as his reason for starting Abreu and Eric Young over Juan Lagares in the outfield. Which one is it? Offense, or the best players?
Duda in the Cleanup Spot… Or Not
Mets trade Ike Davis to give Duda the job, then protect him from the pressure by not batting him cleanup, only to change their minds a day later.
April 22 – Duda Will Not Bat Cleanup
Terry Collins did not say a specific date. But the manager suggested he might give this lineup a month — with Curtis Granderson No. 2, Daniel Murphy No. 4 and Lucas Duda No. 6 — before eventually placing Duda in the cleanup spot.
“We’ve put a lot on Lucas’ plate in the past week,” Collins said about the reluctance to use Duda as a cleanup hitter now. “I don’t want to pile on.” ESPN
May 1 – Duda to Bat Cleanup
Collins in April had resisted putting Duda in the cleanup spot, even after the Ike Davis trade, because the manager did not want to put too much responsibility on Duda. “I think he’s pretty comfortable. He knows he’s the guy,” Collins said about the motivation for now placing Duda in cleanup slot. ESPN
Despite all this talk and all this back and forth, Duda has batted cleanup in only 4 of his 27 starts.
Bonus: General Nonsense Talk
Terry Collins does that in his own way: by getting beat up by his wife and alluding to man vs. bear wrestling:
“I talk about patience,” the manager said. “Right now, I’m out of it . So I’ve got to regain it. I’ve got to go back tonight and have my wife beat me up so I can find my patience again.
“I had a buddy that used to have a bear — a pet bear. He used to, when he got mad, the bear would go kick him around the cage. And he finally said, ‘OK, I’m back down to earth now.’ ”
Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments or on twitter at @brianpmangan.
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Brian Mangan is… perplexed to say the least.
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