Terry Collins will be around for a long while
Is Terry Collins the greatest Mets manager of all-time? No. But he might soon be the longest tenured.
It is hard to stay Mets manager. The average Mets skipper lasts just 430 games, fired around August in his third year. To put that in perspective, the Yankees, who became known for firing their managers like other teams changed pitchers, average 568 games per manager. The Cardinals average 482 games per manager, and that includes three guys with ten or fewer games.
So why am I so confident Collins will stick around longer than anyone else has? Expectations.
2015 is just the 6th time the Mets have finished in 1st place. They’ve done so under Gil Hodges, Yogi Berra, Davey Johnson (twice), Willie Randolph, and Terry Collins.
2015 is also just the 10th time the Mets have won 90 or more games. The other managers to accomplish this feat were Hodges, Johnson (five times), Bobby Valentine (twice), and Randolph.
Collins already has the third-most wins in franchise history, with 394. Johnson is No. 1 with 595, Valentine second with 536. Johnson managed 1012 games and Valentine managed 1003. Collins has 810. So if he keeps his job, he’ll pass Johnson for the most tenured in June 2017. But if Johnson and Valentine could be canned, why not Collins?
Davey Johnson was fired despite six consecutive winning seasons because the Mets won only 87 games in 1989, leaving Johnson’s job hanging in the balance. After they started 1990 20-22, Johnson got canned. Only 87 wins, huh? To anyone who has followed the Mets for a significant amount of time, the words "only 87 wins" seems ridiculous. Under today’s playoff format, the Mets would have made the postseason every year Johnson was the manager, including 1989. But because Johnson set his own bar so high, the team fell short of expectations and Johnson was axed.
Bobby Valentine took over a team that was terrible in 1996 and brought them to the playoffs two consecutive years, including a World Series. That alone should have given him a few years of padding – and it did. But after the World Series loss in 2000 to the Yankees, Valentine’s Mets floundered for one season and sucked for another, and Valentine was gone.
Meanwhile, Terry Collins took over a team that was consistently in fourth place in a strong division. Collins’ Mets finished 25 games out of first place, then 24, 22, 17 … and, finally, seven ahead. He’s still in Queens because, however slowly, his Mets improved.
Just making the playoffs this year bought Terry Collins at least another season, no matter how 2016 goes. And if the Mets defeat the Cubs to earn their fifth World Series berth, that will buy Collins a few more. Especially if, in those seasons, the Mets keep playing well.
And considering how young, talented, and under contract most of the team is, that’s something that you can count on.