Mets to name Collins next manager
Former Astros, Angels skipper edges out three other candidates
NEW YORK -- In searching for a manager, new Mets general manager Sandy Alderson valued two qualities, experience and temperament, more than any others. They proved rare. Interviewing nearly a dozen candidates, Alderson found only one man to possess both experience and fire in ample supply.
And so he hired Terry Collins.
The Mets have chosen Collins to be their next manager. A news conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday at Citi Field.
Collins, 61, is coming off his first season as the Mets' Minor League field coordinator, following jobs managing the Orix Buffaloes of Japan's Pacific League, as well as the Chinese national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Posting a 444-434 record in six years managing the Astros (1994-96) and Angels (1997-99), Collins guided his two big league teams to second-place finishes in five of those six years.
Known for an intense and fiery personality on the field, Collins beat out a group of 10 managerial candidates, including fellow finalists Bob Melvin, Chip Hale and Wally Backman.
"That's what we get into the game for," Collins said last week of managing a big league team. "I grew up wanting to be a coach and a manager, and I got my chance. And here it is again."
Hale will be named third-base coach, and Dan Warthen will return as pitching coach. Backman and Melvin, both of whom worked within the Mets' organization last season, are likely to receive job offers in similar capacities next season.
"Chip Hale played for me -- I think the world of Chip," Collins said last week. "Bob Melvin has been very, very successful. And I think Wally Backman proved this year that he's if not this year, going to be a very, very, very good Major League manager. So you're in a great group. All you can do is say, 'Look, hey, I think I can help.'"
Due to his role as Minor League field coordinator, Collins has a working familiarity with the Mets' organization, a fact that assuredly helped him in the interview process. He also boasts a strong relationship with new Mets vice president of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta. During his own introductory conference call earlier this month, DePodesta called Collins "a star in player development."
"He's been a Major League manager a couple of different times," DePodesta said. "You learn an awful lot from that. He's been in the Far East. He's had a lot of success in player development. So I think there are a lot of things about his experiences that are worthwhile. Everyone likes different personalities. I really like Terry's intensity. I think he's a tremendous organizational guy."
Collins also indicated last week that his familiarity with the Mets would ease his transition into a managerial role.
"I think it helps," Collins said. "I know the kids a lot. We've got a good bunch of guys. I've got a great staff in the Minor Leagues. This organization has done itself very, very proud. They've drafted some good kids. They've signed some good, young players. And I enjoyed it a lot."
Alderson discussed the decision one final time on Sunday with his team of executives -- including DePodesta, fellow assistants John Ricco and J.P. Ricciardi and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon -- after taking time off to attend his father's memorial service earlier in the weekend.
Known for a fiery personality on the field, Collins was widely criticized for the way his tenure ended in Anaheim, where several of his players reportedly petitioned to have him dismissed.
Collins opted not to discuss that issue following his callback interview last week.
"I know that's a big issue," he said. "All you end up doing is digging a bigger hole than needs to be dug. There's more to it, obviously, than anybody is ever going to know."
Collins also preferred not to discuss the DUI he received in 2002.
"It's over," Collins said. "It's in the past. It's something we all wish didn't happen, but it did. I'm moving on."
The Mets interviewed 10 men in total for their managerial vacancy, calling Collins, Melvin, Hale and Backman back last week for second-round interviews. The team opted not to exercise former manager Jerry Manuel's 2011 contract option shortly after the season, also relieving GM Omar Minaya of his duties and hiring Alderson in his place.