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.

Max Muncy and Matt Beaty step on Rhys Hoskins’ ankle on consecutive plays

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In the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NLCS last year, infielder Manny Machado — then with the Dodgers — stepped on the foot of Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Aguilar, understandably, wasn’t happy about that and both teams’ benches spilled onto the field. It was a continuation of a tumultuous series for Machado, who was also vilified for not hustling and sliding hard into Orlando Arcia twice. The Machado-Aguilar dust-up served as a referendum on Machado’s character until he finally signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres.

Recently, Machado criticized the analysts on MLB Network for holding double standards. Dan Plesac and Eric Byrnes argued with Greg Amsinger about the Jake Marisnick collision at home plate with catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Amsinger felt Marisnick was in the wrong; Plesac and Byrnes defended Marisnick. On Instagram, Machado said if he had been the one who bulldozed Lucroy, Plesac and Byrnes wouldn’t have defended him, in part because he is Latino. Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones said earlier this year that Machado would “one hundred percent” be treated differently if he were white.

With that context in mind, something interesting happened in the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon’s game between the Dodgers and Phillies. Leading off the top of the fourth inning against Aaron Nola, Max Muncy grounded out to shortstop Jean Segura. As Muncy crossed the first base bag, he stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle. On the next play, Matt Beaty beat out an infield single hit to third baseman Maikel Franco, shifted up the middle. As Beaty crossed the first base bag ahead of the throw, he tripped over Hoskins’ ankle. MLB.com hasn’t posted video of the incidents yet, but here’s a look at both plays from @jomboy_ on Twitter:

We rarely see runners tripping over the feet of first basemen, but here we have it happening on back-to-back plays. Hoskins’ footwork around the bag was textbook given the situations. The commentators on the exclusive YouTube broadcast gave the runners the benefit of the doubt. Other than that, there has surprisingly been little discussion of these plays. A July 18 game isn’t exactly Game 4 of the NLCS, but look at how much conversation the Marisnick-Lucroy play generated and that was less than two weeks ago. These plays deserve a “Was it dirty?” conversation.

One wonders what the conversation would have looked like if it had been black or Latino runners stepping on Hoskins’ ankle on back-to-back plays. Would they have gotten the immediate benefit of the doubt like Muncy and Beaty? Would malicious intent have been ascribed to them instead? That, really, is Machado’s point about the double-standard applied to non-white players. It doesn’t excuse any of his obviously terrible behavior, but if we’re going to criticize players for bad behavior, we should do so evenly and fairly. Muncy and Beaty deserve criticism for their poor, sloppy, dangerous base running. Frankly, Major League Baseball should consider fines and/or suspensions. Machado was fined for stepping on Aguilar.