Mets reward manager Collins with 2-year contract extension
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins has a new contract to keep managing the New York Mets. He can only hope for a second chance in the World Series.
Three days after their rousing season ended with a stinging loss to Kansas City, the Mets rewarded Collins on Wednesday for piloting them to the National League pennant.
The Mets held a club option on Collins for 2016, but instead gave him a two-year deal through 2017. The oldest manager in the majors at 66, he has a 394-416 regular-season record in five years with New York.
"Terry did an extraordinary job this year under differing circumstances as time went on," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said during a news conference. "The first part of the season, we had high expectations. We had a high injury rate. Terry kept the team together, kept it competitive, kept our heads up water
The agreement came quickly in the wake of New York's 12-inning loss to the Royals at home Sunday night in the World Series clincher.
"We said last year it was time to win, and now we've set the bar pretty high," Collins said.
Collins was criticized for the way he handled his bullpen in Game 4 and second-guessed for letting Matt Harvey take the mound in the ninth inning of Game 5 with a 2-0 lead. Kansas City soon chased Harvey, tied the score against closer Jeurys Familia and won the crown three innings later.
After the game, Collins admitted he planned to pull Harvey before the ninth but was talked out of it by his headstrong starter.
"I let my heart get in the way of my gut," Collins lamented. "It didn't work. It was my fault."
"Sometimes you let your heart dictate your mind," he added. "I've got one of the best closers in the game. I got him in the game, but it was a little late. And that's inexcusable for me."
Before all that, the popular Collins was on a roll. Following his first winning season with the Mets and his first postseason berth as a bi- league skipper, he was selected National League Manager of the Year by Sporting News in voting by a panel of NL managers.
The Mets went 90-72 and won the NL East by seven games over favored Washington, then went on to reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.
"T.C. brings energy every day, there's no doubt about that. I think if you talk to him for 30 seconds, you know how much passion he has for baseball," Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy said before the World Series. "You've got to credit the skipper a great deal (for) keeping the fabric of this ballclub together when I think it so easily could have started falling apart."
New York ended a streak of six straight losing seasons with a big year, led by its young and talented rotation. The trade for slugger Yoenis Cespedes in late July and the return of injured captain David Wright helped boost the Mets toward their first playoff appearance since 2006.
The Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series and swept the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series.
"Our expectations going into next season should be higher than our expectations were going into this season," Alderson said.
Collins was praised for a string of successful -- and sometimes unconventional -- moves during the playoffs and toasted by fans at a favorite restaurant when he took his wife to dinner a few days before the World Series.
An infielder, Collins spent 10 years in the minors and made it to Triple-A without playing in the majors. He later managed the Astros and Angels in the 1990s.
Collins is almost three weeks older than new Nationals skipper Dusty Baker.
With the Mets, Collins has talked often about the influence of his managerial mentor. Longtime big league bench boss Jim Leyland hired Collins as bullpen coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992 and enjoyed watching New York's unexpected run to the Fall Classic this year.
"He's ridden the wave, the crest of the wave and the bottom of the wave and all that. He's done it all and he's just stayed steady and I think it's been very important to his players," Leyland said before Game 4. "Like a lot of people say, well, do you think he's changed? And I said, `No, I think he's adjusted.'
"He's really handled it like a true professional. Very proud of him."