Terry Collins

Some thoughts on the Mets’ hiring of Terry Collins

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I’m not sure what to make of the Terry Collins choice just yet.  Obviously I didn’t think Wally Backman was the right choice, but I didn’t have a preference for any specific candidate per se. While Mets fans don’t want to hear it, my thinking is that the team is likely to be in the competitive wilderness for a while, and that the best way to use the next couple of years would be to cleanse all of the dysfunction from the organization. The guy I’d pick would be whoever I thought could bring stable professionalism to the table while the Sandy Alderson regime is putting its stamp on things.  Of the finalists I’m guessing that Bob Melvin was the guy who fit that profile the best but, no, I’m not under any illusions that Bob Melvin was a guy anyone was crying out for. The other candidates were like spicy Thai food: some people loved ’em, some people didn’t. Melvin was pot roast. No one really hated him, but he didn’t inspire any excitement at all.

Can Terry Collins be the guy who steadies the ship while its being overhauled?  Possibly.  We’re a day or two away from someone going out and getting an injunction against people using the word “intense” to describe Collins — and things ended poorly for him in Anaheim partially, it’s said, because of that intensity — but you have to acknowledge that there is more to his resume than mere intensity. You couldn’t come up through the ranks of the Dodgers organization of the early-to-mid 80s if you were merely an intimidator, because that organization was still known for skads of young talent and professionalism back then.  Likewise with the late 80s Pirates, who were producing lots of talent at the time. Mets fans who worry about the Alderson-led Athletics’-brand of boring managers should take note that, at one time, Collins was thought of as the anti-Art Howe, leading to his hiring by the Astros.  He managed in Japan and in China, which suggests that he possesses a discipline admired in Asian baseball but also the ability to function in a hierarchy.

So there’s the drill sergeant rep, sure, but like any good drill sergeant he’s aware that there is brass above him to which he is subordinate.  In this he may very well be the perfect compromise between the Backman backers and the folks who are more interested in having Sandy Alderson’s vision for the organization carried out. He’ll be able to bark when he needs to. He’ll be able to carry out orders from above.  At least that’s the theory.

And if it doesn’t work? The guy only has a two-year contract and, I assume, Wally Backman will get two more years to build his resume in the Mets’ system, so we may be back here again fairly soon.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.