Reese Kaplan -- When the Saddle Becomes the Hot Seat

It’s not often you see a manager make such a boneheaded move that you say to yourself, “Geez, even Terry Collins wouldn’t have done that”, but Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss provided just such a moment Monday evening when he inexplicably lifted dominating rookie pitcher Jon Gray after just 75 pitches while throwing a 1-hitter.  The Colorado bullpen did what mediocre bullpens do – throw gasoline on the fire – and a Daniel Murphy bleeder between Jose Reyes and Nolan Arenado propelled the Mets to a come-from-behind victory. 

Certainly the Mets skipper has provided plenty of his own interesting decisions over the course of his tenure.  Most recently, of course, was the proclamation from on high that you hit or you sit.  Juan Uribe has provided a few clutch moments since his arrival, but playing a guy who was brought in to strengthen the bench as a regular starter has resulted in a batting average of .209 over the last 15 games. He proceeded to find playing time for fellow bench player Kelly Johnson (.152 over his last 15 games) while sitting Wilmer Flores, he of recent folk-hero status (.286 over his last 30 games).  That’s certainly a head-scratcher, too.  What these two capable veterans can do is spot start, not get overexposed, and not embarrass you when called upon to play.  They are no longer starting caliber players.

Still, like a kid with a new toy, the manager is determined to spend quality time with them.  Take case in point Eric O’Flaherty who, straight off a cross-country journey to join the team as a LOOGY, wasn’t used in this role for which he was obtained and at which he’s excelled in his career.  No, the manager instead decided to use him to face both lefties and righties in his first jet-lagged game and the result was an ugly 2/3s of an inning in which he gave up four earned runs.   While it’s on the player to execute, it’s on the manager to set up his team to succeed.  Of course, it’s nothing new as he misused Alex Torres, Jack Leathersich and others with reverse platoon splits simply because they threw with their left arms.  Thus far he hasn’t let that creep into the decision making with Tyler Clippard who does the same reverse splits from the right side.

However, still many seem to be of the opinion that given the right horses, he is the right man to lead them to post-season glory.  With the bench acquisitions, the promotion of Michael Conforto, the bullpen reinforcements, the presence of Yoenis Cespedes, the return of Travis d’Arnaud and the imminent return of David Wright, all of the pieces would seem to be in place for a solid September. 

Let’s play the what-if game for a moment…what if they miss the playoffs entirely?  What does that mean for Terry Collins in the eyes of the front office?  What if they make the playoffs and go quickly out in the first round?  Same question.  What if they make it to the championship game and lose?  The World Series and lose?  (After all, the Yankees once fired Yogi Berra for that sin against the 1964 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.) 

So the question is…how far must the Mets go to warrant a return of Terry Collins?  


Anonymous said...

I don't think you make a single worthwhile point in this entire post. Regarding Uribe and Johnson, yes, they have not hit well in their small sample size with the Mets. They might suddenly suck. But more likely, we are seeing a period of transition. Clearly their presence has lifted the team and because of their established careers they have merited playing time. Right now, Uribe looks terrible -- but we know that he's not terrible. Sometimes guys need to play through it. Also, the GM of the team, TC's boss, just traded for those two players. They have to get into the lineup. Does it merit watching moving forward? Sure. But so far, TC has handled a difficult assignment quite well. He's juggling a lot of balls right now.

I mean, seriously, you are the guy who was crying that Danny Muno didn't get enough of a chance.

The Mets traded for O'Flaherty as a LOOGY, obviously. Jet-lagged? Oh, please. Everybody in baseball is jet-lagged. The score was 8-0 and TC wanted to see what he's got. Last night, TC put him out there in a 4-0 game and allowed him to pitch to a couple of RH batters. In those situations, it makes sense. You won't see it happen in a tight game. Meanwhile, the pitcher is getting a sense that he belongs, an opportunity to pitch, and we are seeing him get some outs against LH batters. You really need to complain about that? Again, his boss traded for the player.

You are grasping for straws. It's weird and out of tune. Meanwhile, if you'd turn away from this bizarre fixation, if you'd stop grinding that old axe, you might enjoy some really terrific baseball. It's been a pleasure.

James Preller

Cole said...

I hope they don't pay you for this excellent piece of journalism (no offense).

Reese Kaplan said...

Nobody addressed the question asked...where do the Mets need to finish to ensure a 6th season of Terry Collins?

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

In my opinion, the Mets would need to have a complete collapse and wind up in third place or worse.

And... I don't like TC as the manager.

This is SA's team and SA's manager is TC.

Tom Brennan said...

Pretty soon David Wright will return and a lot of guys will lose playing time. How that is managed should be interesting to watch.

There is a biblical saying, love covers a multitude of sine. In the Mets' case, the starting pitching covers a multitude of blemishes, including Collins'.

Matz's return will help cover even more blemishes.

Another guy who could help cover blemishes in the weeks ahead is Dario Alvarez. After May, he has gone 22 scoreless innings, 6 hits, 33 Ks. Friggin' nuts. And lefty hitters do not like to see him pitch. At all.

IBfromWhitePlains said...

Yeah. I don't know if you get a rise out of trying to stir the pot or you are simply incapable of enjoying the moment. Right now the Mets are a lot of fun to watch and whatever Collins is doing is working."Fixation" is the word.

Re. your question that nobody's answered. It's a pointless exercise and feeds into, what I think, is your sincerest hope TC falls on his face. Which means the Mets fail as well. We are Met fans here.

The Closer said...

For those that never learned the "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all" mantra, please feel free to reach out to Mack and let him know you're interested in posting on this blog yourself so others can ridicule and pick your posts apart.

Reese has been posting on this blog for years and has had some incredible, insightful posts that have added to this sites overall, organic feel, which is why most of you come here.

None of these guys get paid and they do their best to provide topics for everyone else on this blog to discuss, (good or bad) and apparently this is not a topic you'll think much of, but not saying anything also sends a message to the poster without personally attacking someone who is just trying to provide a means for discussion.

Just sayin'

The Closer

That Adam Smith said...

I agree that at times, Lefty vs Righty seems to be as deep as TC's analysis goes. Flores has done nothing but hit for a month. At this point, he should be playing 5-6 days per week. Bunch of lefties coming up and so he should get in the lineup this week, I'd imagine. Johnson is a nice utility piece, but no more than that. As to the question; if they make the playoffs, TC is back. If not, he's probably 50-50, depending on how they miss it, and whether the FO is prepared to either pay someone significantly more than they pay Collins, or are prepared to offer the gig to Pedro Lopez, who'd assumedly work cheap.

Reese Kaplan said...

@The Closer -- thanks for having my back, but I took no offense at the negative comments. As suggested, I'm trying to stir the pot a little and ask a legitimate question. I'm enjoying the ride as much as anyone but in my real life as an IT Project Manager, it's my job to look for the risks and plan ahead. As such, now that the resources are in place I wondered what would happen if they team did not go far into the post-season...how would people react? Where would they issue credit (pitching), where would they make excuses (injuries, suspensions), and where would they issue blame?

bgreg98180 said...

I agree.

Collins has already proven to Alderson that he should return as manager if the Mets for 2016.

I'm not sure even a collapse at this point would change that considering a collapse at this point could be the result of the young pitchers tiring out toward the end of the season.

James Preller said...

Closer, I hear your comments and respect what you are trying to say. I try to disagree without getting personal.

But I don't agree with you either.

To me, the worst response is silence. Healthy disagreement, honest dialogue, that's the bread and butter of a good blog, IMO.

Reese, you know I don't agree with your position on TC. I mean, I don't love him as a manger; he sometimes drives me crazy; but I think your focus on his is misplaced. It's not personal. I wish you well.

Peace & love & let's go Mets,

Mack Ade said...

Closer -

Thank you for your comments here and defense of Reese who would be the first one to tell you that's he's a big boy and can take it :)

For the record, I don't get paid either.

IBfromWhitePlains said...


I stand by my comment, at least in substance. I meant no personal offense. Tone plays a big part in writing. Perhaps mine came through a bit harsh. Apologies to anyone I might have pissed off.


Unknown said...

I have started to change my tune on Collins lately - he is still a bonehead on tactical in-game decisions.

But I don't think any of us gave him credit for keeping this team focused on playing through the injuries, lack of offense, etc.

A manager has a locker room to control and players to manage - TC has done that well -- look at Tejada -- that is a big win in TC's ledger, everyone else wrote the kid off - Collins stuck with him, and look at him today.

That all being said - if the Mets don't make the play-offs, Collins will not come back.

If they do and he botches big decisions in the post-season, he won't be back either.

In the latter case I think the front office will let him save face by him deciding to "retire"

Tom Brennan said...

Reese is great, so is Tejada, and Reese and I had Ruben Rong...err...wrong. I appreciate James' insights and...wait a sec, we're not getting paid? Lower tax bracket!

The Closer said...


Doesn't matter who it was, (Reese, Thomas, yourself) just not a fan of people sitting behind a keyboard, (cell phone in my case) and throwing pot shots at other people, but back to our normally scheduled program of taking game 3 against the Rockies tonight with deGrominator on the mound!

Is it too late to start a Lets.Go.Mets chant? Let's Go Mets! Win tonight and hope Kershaw does what Kershaw does and we have a 3.5 game lead in the NL east and the captain on the horizon. Good time to be a Mets fan! (can't remember the last time I said that!)

We're all on the same team, (at least I assume we are or else why would you be here) so let's enjoy this ride together!

Stubby said...

My personal belief has always been that Collins will step aside or be kicked upstairs after this season, regardless of how far the team gets (I mean, you know, if they were 30 games back in July, then he might have been fired).

It's not that I'm a Collins fan; I'm not. But, generally, with a very few exceptions, managers don't make that much of a difference over the course of a season. Casey Stengel (before the Mets), Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa--those are the elites. Maybe Leyland. I'd add Davey Johnson to that list--not for '86 so much as for when he had lesser talent. I don't think Joe Torre won any of those championships with the Yankees, nor Bobby Cox with the Braves, and I neither credit nor fault Don Mattingly for how the Dodgers play.

Mostly, managers are about tone. Even though I'm not a fan of Collins as an in game manager, he wasn't a horrible choice for a rebuilding team. And good for him that he gets to be here when the team starts to come together. But, when this team hits Florida in 2016, they are going to be in a different stage of their development and I think they're going to need a different kind of leader and tone. I think Sandy knows this. More importantly, I think Terry knows this. You can't really fire him if he makes the playoffs at all--even if they're out in the first round. So I think Terry will either retire or scout or get promoted to the front office somewhere. Think of it as the Seinfeld "leaving on a high note" play. Terry will have redeemed himself for his failures in Anaheim (remember the team petitioned the owner to have him fired); why stick around and chance blowing it up again? I'm not sure who his replacement would be, except that I'm reasonably certain it won't be Wally.

Reese Kaplan said...

On that note, the Magic Number is 48. :)

bgreg98180 said...