Baseball Reflections

Mets Front Office Went Through an Amazing Transformation in November

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Photo taken from Google Images

Mark it down – it is going to be a “wild” summer in Queens.

While it is true teams don’t win pennants in November, the Mets had an impressive month.

They hired Sandy Alderson as their general manager. And now they have hired Terry Collins as their manager.

Even though Wally Backman was my first choice, Collins will do. He managed for six years with the Astros and Angels, and finished second five times. And second is exactly where I envision Collins taking the Mets this season.

The 61-year-old Collins is exactly what the Mets need. He will bring much-needed discipline, passion and intensity to Citi Field. He is a huge upgrade over Jerry Manuel, a nice guy but not a very good manager.

Collins did have a bad finish in Anaheim, when he quit amid a 51-82 record and a team revolt. But that was 1999, 11 years ago. Collins is a smart man, and he learned from that experience. Plus, it’s hard to get worked up over a players’ revolt when Mo Vaughn is involved.

Yes, it’s true – neither Alderson nor Collins will be hitting, pitching or fielding this season, and the Mets didn’t do those things very well in 2010.  But strong leadership is the first step toward a dramatic turnaround – which I believe the Mets are capable of.

They do have some talent.

Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are the keys. All three will be motivated – Bay wants to atone for his lousy first year at Citi and Beltran and Reyes are in the final years of their contracts. Yes, baseball players are selfish, and in the modern world they think about money and their careers first. But this should play in the Mets’ favor with Beltran and Reyes, who have underperformed over the last couple of years. They want to play well so they can get rich new contracts. And Collins will be able to light a fire under all of them.

Pitching is a bigger concern with Johan Santana out. Mike Pelfrey, Jonathan Niese and R.A. Dickey need to continue to develop, and Alderson needs to find a diamond in the rough somewhere.

Despite the mound issues and other question marks, a wild-card playoff berth is not out of the question. A lot went wrong for the Mets last season, and they still won 79 games. Their offense is the key – if Bay, Beltran and Reyes play at close to an All-Star level, the Mets could win a lot of games.

Regardless, the Mets are off to a good start – even if they haven’t played a game yet.

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