Mets hire Collins as new manager

BY Ken Rosenthal • November 21, 2010

The New York Mets have hired Terry Collins as their manager.

Collins, who hasn't managed since 1999, was chosen from a group of finalists believed to have included Bob Melvin, Wally Backman and Chip Hale.

The 61-year-old has a 444-434 record as a big league manager with the Anaheim Angels (1997-99) and Houston Astros (1994-96).

He also was a coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1992-93).

Since being fired by the Angels, Collins has managed the Chinese national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the Orix Buffaloes in Japan (2006-08).

Collins replaces Jerry Manuel.

He takes over a Mets franchise that had a $133 million opening-day payroll last season yet finished 79-83, 18 games behind the rival Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East. New York hasn't been to the playoffs since reaching the 2006 NL championship series.

The organization is expected to undergo a complete overhaul the next couple of years, as new general manager Sandy Alderson and his lieutenants begin to strengthen the farm system and find ways to escape from under the weight of burdensome contracts doled out to underperforming players like Oliver Perez ($36 million) and Luis Castillo ($25 million).

Injuries left the team in disarray last season, and at least some of those problems will linger when the Mets convene for spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Star pitcher Johan Santana is expected to miss the start of the season following shoulder surgery, while Jason Bay, signed to a $66 million contract last offseason, will be coming back from a season-ending concussion sustained in late July. Outfielder Carlos Beltran, slowed by a bad knee, is owed $18.5 million in the final season of his seven-year deal.

In the bullpen, closer Francisco Rodriguez is coming off thumb surgery for an injury sustained in an August fight with his girlfriend's father outside the family lounge at Citi Field.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.