Mets hire Terry Collins as manager

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The search is over.  The pick is in.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets are set to introduce Terry Collins as the franchise’s 20th manager.

Collins, 61, played professional baseball for 10 years and compiled a .255 career batting average over 671 major league games before turning to the coaching and front office side of the industry.  He began his managing career in 1981 with a Single-A affiliate tied to the Dodgers and was promoted a few years later to Triple-A Albuquerque.  Success at that post led him to the Astros’ managerial gig in 1993.  He lasted only three years, but never had a losing record and led the team to three straight second-place finishes before being fired in 1996.

The Angels quickly scooped Collins up in 1997 and enjoyed a short run of success, but Collins resigned with 29 games left in the 1999 season and tried his hand in Japan during the middle part of the 2000s.

Collins has been everywhere and done everything in the game of baseball.  He’s known best for player development and that’s exactly what the Mets need as they look to revamp their major league roster and farm system.

Four candidates were interviewed for the opening down at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida last week: Collins, Bob Melvin, Wally Backman and Chip Hale.

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that Melvin did not get the gig and the other two were basically thought of as secondary options from the start.

UPDATE: SI.com’s Jon Heyman says Collins will get a two-year contract.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.