Dan's Dugout: Who Will Manage Mets Next? • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Who Will Manage Mets Next?


FLUSHING – There were more rumors than spectators at CitiField Monday.

The New York Mets, finishing the National League schedule as Least in the East, hosted the rookie-laden Atlanta Braves in a twinbill neither athletes nor fans wanted to play.

And they had serious competition from the Yankees, home for a makeup game against the Kansas City Royals after clinching a spot in the American League playoffs.

Forlorn Terry Collins is playing out the string

Forlorn Terry Collins is playing out the string

More than anyone at CitiField, Terry Collins couldn’t have liked what he saw.

Mets pitching parlayed a 1-0 deficit into a 9-2 romp in the opener as media members speculated whether he would even complete the season. The defeat was the 90th for the Mets, who had not lost that many games in season since 2009.

After entering this year with a pitching staff powered by young studs with promise, all but Jacob deGrom fell victim to illness or injury. In fact, No. 1 starter Noah Syndergaard pitched exactly one inning after April 30.

As a result, the Mets went into play Monday with a composite earned run average of 5.05 – worse than anyone except the hapless Cincinnati Reds.

Mets pitchers have surrendered more hits than any other staff and more runs than anyone this side of Cincinnati. Only three teams gave up more home runs.

After the opener of the Monday doubleheader, the Mets stood 24 games under .500 and sunk to 10 games below the break-even mark at CitiField.

It ain’t pretty, McGee.

Since it’s impractical to fire 25 players, the manager is the most obvious fall guy.

Collins loses his temper

Collins loses his temper

Collins, who led the Mets into the World Series just two years ago, might have retired anyway. He’s approaching his 70th birthday and his hair seems to be getting whiter by the minute. This is the seventh time in nine seasons the Mets have lost more than they won.

Managers of disappointing teams always get nervous as the season careens to its bitter end. Detroit has already said Brad Ausmus is toast and Atlanta is not giving any votes of confidence to Brian Snitker, completing his first full season at the helm.

Managing in New York is a high-profile job, with high expectations. The Mets have lots of options as they look toward 2018.

Here are some possible scenarios:

Could Don Mattingly come back to New York?

Could Don Mattingly come back to New York?

Since new Marlins owner Derek Jeter has already fired Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, plus former manager Jack McKeon, how safe does Don Mattingly feel? The long-time Yankees star already has a New York pedigree that would put fannies in the seats and compete with the Yanks for tabloid headlines.

Another possible rescue from the floundering Fish would be Fredi Gonzalez, a Havana native who spent this season as third-base coach in Miami. He’s young, articulate, and bilingual, all plusses in a game with many Spanish-speaking players. Plus he’s had success as a major-league manager in Florida and Atlanta.

Then there’s ex-Met Ron Gardenhire, a long-time successful pilot with the Minnesota Twins. He’s cool, calm, collected, and able to cope with the demanding New York media.

Ron Gardenhire might be a good fit with the Mets

Ron Gardenhire might be a good fit with the Mets

And how about Robin Ventura, still beloved in Flushing for his grand-slam single in the 1999 NL playoffs against the Braves? Most recently the manager of the Chicago White Sox, he has the background, the experience, and the temperament for the challenging position of Mets manager.

Another former Mets infielder, Wally Backman, has been knocking on the big-league door for years but may be considered too volatile for what is expected to be a young team in 2018.

That would almost certainly eliminate Ozzie Guillen, seen most recently as a commentator on MLB Network. Like Gonzalez, he speaks fluent Spanish. Plus he won a World Series with the 2005 Chicago White Sox before his political pronouncements made him persona non grata.

If the Mets want to consider an anti-hero, Terry Pendleton and Eddie Perez are Atlanta coaches who tormented the New Yorkers as players but are widely regarded as future managers.

Joe Girardi needs to take his club deep into the playoffs

Joe Girardi needs to take his club deep into the playoffs

Don’t put odds on this outcome but what if Joe Girardi fails to take the Yankees past the American League Wild Card Game? Would the Steinbrenners part company with their rigid field general and free him to look elsewhere for employment?

Unless Joe Maddon retires and leaves an opening in Chicago, Girardi would love nothing better than sticking it to the team that showed him the door – especially after he had it performing far beyond expectations.

Elsewhere in baseball:

For the second straight season, the Braves lead the National League in come-from-behind wins . . .

Braves catchers Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers, who homered in the Monday opener at New York, have combined for 30 home runs . . .

The Mets lead the majors in stolen bases (25) since August 25, a span covering 29 games . . .

This is the second year in a row the Mets have topped 200 home runs.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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