October 4, 2013

Reds Fire Baker, Mets Keep Collins

Following the Reds loss in the Wild Card game Tuesday night, the Cincinatti Reds have decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker, relieving him of his duties. This came after team GM Walt Jocketty had intimated that Baker would be retained, citing the remaining year on his contract. For contrast, Met manager Terry Collins received a two year extension after eking out a third place finish in the weak NL East and finishing with 74 wins

For the sake of continuing the comparison, Dusty Baker, in his last three years with the Reds, won 266 games, compared to Collns' 224, with the Mets not registering one season over .500 in his tenure.

I'm not making the argument here that extending Collins was the wrong thing to do. I don't think he's a bad manager, and having someone as intimately familiar with the team's farm system is important to a club like the Mets that will be looking to integrate so many young players in the next couple of years. The real issue brought up here is the complete difference in expectations between other teams and the Mets.

Had Terry Collins led New York to a loss in the Wild Card game this year, we would have thrown the man a parade. But he didn't, couldn't really, because the Mets fielded a Triple A ball team with the occasional pro thrown in. Dusty Baker ran a lineup out that led off with Shin Soo-Choo and had Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and thirty home run right fielder Jay Bruce. Collins had David Wright, except for when he didn't, Daniel Murphy, a lot of fourth outfielders, and whomever Las Vegas didn't need for the minor league playoffs.

As Rob noted the other day, the Mets are going to temper the expectations of the fan base. This is reasonable when they expect so little out of the team themselves. But it can't go on forever, and at some point 74 wins is going to have to be not enough. Mets fans would love to be in a position where we could call for our manager's head because he didn't take the team far enough into the playoffs; as of now, we are resigned to acknowledge that Collins got more out of the team than their talent would have indicated.

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