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.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: