The national media has pimped Joe Maddon and Dave Roberts for the NL Manager of the Year award.
At Sportsology, we believe Terry Collins should be the NL Manager of the Year.
Collins deserves it for two reasons. For one thing, he lost three of his five starters for the season due to injuries. Secondly, the Mets bounced back from a 60-62 record by going 27-13 the final few weeks of the season.
Go ahead and bash Collins as a tactician. He does make odd moves that defy logic. He gives role players a chance even though they have not earned playing time because they are awful. He has no feel on how to use his pitchers at times by going by the book or playing the stupid matchups to use a reliever.
No one can deny this, though. Collins gets his team to play for him. He knows how to work with his players.
Your average fan and sabermetricians overlook that aspect of managing. Players play hard for a manager if they trust him and believe in him. Once a manager loses his players, he has no shot.
Collins was able to avoid being fired because his players kept grinding it out despite the team struggling. It could have been easy for players to stop playing once their manager was vulnerable. That happens to be the case more often than not.
The players wanted no part of playing for a new manager, so they kept at it. They were able to get wins, and Collins earned a reprieve from his bosses.
Is this a be all end all of a manager? No. The manager needs to have a good feel for the game and know when to take his players out. But Collins handling adversity like a pro is leadership, and the players respond to that. They don’t like a manager who is overwhelmed at the moment.
Managing or coaching in New York is not an easy job. It’s taxing to deal with the media and demanding fans. It can wear on a manager or a head coach.
There’s no question Collins would love to go off on the media and the fans, but he can’t. Then he would give in to them and lose his focus as a manager.
Collins just kept working and hoping for the best. It paid off for him.
To lose Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom for the season would have hurt a team. Let’s not deny it. It’s hard to replace these guys who are quality starters. No team can survive losing most of their starters.
No one knew what Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo were going to do. The Mets were clearly hoping for the best. If they thought those two would step up, they are lying.
To Gsellman’s and Lugo’s credit, they got it done. They kept the Mets afloat.
That’s where Collins’ leadership plays a role. He gave his guys a chance. He believed in them. Even when they had their rough moments early on, he stood by them.
His loyalty to players can be a detriment, but it can also be his strongest suit. It’s something the Mets can live with since it provides positive results.
To say a team wins in spite of his players is ignorant. A manager must be doing something right to get the wins. The Mets have improved each year under Collins.
This year is his best job yet. The Mets have no business being a playoff team, but they made it this year considering what they went through. That’s a credit to the manager for getting his guys to believe.
Collins’ strength is knowing how to lead in bad times. When a team is slumping, he does not panic. He just gets his guys ready to play and he uses every part of his roster. It has a positive effect on the players, and it shows by the way the Mets played.
This is his best job in his five years of managing the Mets. To have his team play in the playoffs while losing 3/5ths of his rotation is impressive.
Collins deserves his due whether he is liked or not.
Yes, Roberts had to deal with injuries, too. His team found a way to win, but losing starters for the year and still be in the playoffs should be a reason for Collins to win it.
Maddon did a great job this year in getting 103 wins out of the Cubs, but the Cubs never went through adversity at any point this year. Maddon’s candidacy would be taken seriously had the Cubs went through what the Mets through.
Collins’s body of work is more impressive than Maddon and Roberts.
There shouldn’t be a debate about the NL Manager of the Year. It should be a no-brainer.