New York Mets: Terry Collins

Terry Collins Q&A from winter meetings

December, 9, 2014
SAN DIEGO -- Here is a transcript of Terry Collins' Q&A with reporters on Monday at the winter meetings:

Q. How different does this winter meetings feel going in in terms of relative lack of holes you guys need to fill?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, it's a lot different. We came in when the season was over, and we certainly targeted some areas we had to get better at. Obviously, with the signing of Michael Cuddyer, that filled a huge hole for us. And with Matt [Harvey] coming back, that gives us some very, very good pitching depth. You get a No. 1 pitcher, and they're hard to find. We've got a healthy David Wright. I just saw him. I just saw Bobby Parnell throw the other day. He's healthy. So our bullpen has been set, where in the past we've had to reshape our bullpen and try to find some help. Now, I think we've got a couple more things we want to do, but it's not like it has been in the past.

Q. David had said that in December was when he was going to start hitting. Do you know if he's actually started that yet?
TERRY COLLINS: He has not. He's strictly been doing the shoulder rehab and getting in the weight room and getting some strength back in his shoulder area. He looks great, looks terrific.

Q. Will it be soon for the hitting or you're not sure?
TERRY COLLINS: I know they're going out to see Kevin [Long] in December sometime. I don't have any dates for you.

Q. David's going to see Kevin in Phoenix?

Q. Sandy has indicated that they're looking for a shortstop whether by trade, free-agent market. But if it doesn't happen, Flores is the guy?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, as I sit here today, I'm not going to name Wilmer Flores just yet. My conversations with Ruben Tejada, who played very well the last couple weeks of the season, especially defensively, [were] outstanding. The guy hit five homers for us. But Ruben promised me he'd be at the fitness facility in January to get ready for spring training, which I think will be a huge benefit for him to do that, so I'm looking forward to it. Since I live there, I'll be the first guy out there that morning waiting for him to walk through those doors. If he walks through those doors, his name's going to be right there with Wilmer's and the job is up for grabs.

Q. If you had to go internally with what you have?
TERRY COLLINS: I'm very satisfied with it.

Q. I know Lucas Duda mentioned on a conference call that he's been to the Barwis fitness camp?
TERRY COLLINS: Bobby [Parnell]'s been there. Jon Niese has been there. [Juan] Lagares has been there. Wilmer's been there twice. Those would be the main guys at the major league level. There are a lot of minor league guys. I talked to the people down there last week, and they indicated to me when it opens up in January, they're expecting over 40 players.

Q. What makes you think Tejada can rebound to get into that mix?
TERRY COLLINS: He's 25. It would be one thing if he was 31 or 32 and maybe on the downside of his career. But he's right in prime time. What we saw at the end is the Ruben Tejada we know he can be -- tremendous defender, great arm. He hit for more power than we expected, but I think he's doing that by design. If you'll notice, a lot of times early in the count or early atbat, he might take a bigger swing than normal. But, as I told him at the end of the year, "How mad do you have to be at yourself before you have to go prove to everybody else that, hey, look, you're still the guy? By no means until I get to spring training, unless you decide you're not going to put the work in to be as good as you can be, you know, you're going to be in the mix."

Q. As far as Flores goes, you saw enough last year to think he could do it potentially?
TERRY COLLINS: A lot of people have talked to me about what you're looking for in a shortstop. In our game today with the lack of offense that's been a daily conversation. And you've got a guy who can be an offensive shortstop. ... Wilmer Flores made all the routine plays. He's got a good arm. He can turn a double play. Now we've said all along: Is he going to be that rangy guy that goes from hole to hole? No. But if we do our job and we pitch the way we're supposed to pitch and get him in the right position, he'll catch the baseball and throw people out.

Q. Sandy and Matt talked about an innings cap. How much have you discussed that?
TERRY COLLINS: Matt and I talked about it last year before the season was over. We haven't put a number on it yet. But there is going to be a time this summer when we have to either skip him, set him down for 10 days, maybe miss two [starts], so that we know that he's going to stay healthy throughout. ... We've got some other young pitchers the same way. Hopefully we don't have any injuries, but you've always got to contemplate the fact that there may be, and anticipate some injuries. I look at Noah Syndergaard as the same thing. This guy's pitched, what, 150 innings once maybe? So we're certainly going to have to make sure if he's in the mix or coming up that we have an idea of what his load should be. But all of that will be decided in spring training.

Q. If the roster you have today is pretty similar to the one you'll ultimately have two months from now, how confident are you that that is a playoff team?
TERRY COLLINS: When you looked at all the playoff games there were a few games that there was a lot of offense, but teams won because they pitched, and we've got some pitching. We've got starting depth. We've got a back end of our bullpen that has four guys that could be closers on any team. Certainly we're looking for another lefthanded reliever, which would help us a lot. But we've got some pitching. And you know what? We've got an AllStar at third base who had a bad year. I don't know that he's ever had a bad year, so we certainly think he'll bounce back. So you put a big bat in the middle of your lineup along with Michael Cuddyer, and Lucas Duda getting his opportunity, and we know what Murph's going to do. Obviously, we have a good idea of what Curtis is going to do. So we have a lot of pieces. The idea is to make sure your bench is strong enough to give those guys time off so you stay healthy and stay fresh. But there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to compete.

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Terry Collins doesn't mind hot seat in 2015

December, 8, 2014
SAN DIEGO -- Terry Collins offered his thoughts on the 2015 Mets at the winter meetings on Monday and suggested the team should be competitive, even absent further additions.

"I think we've got the pieces," the manager said. "It's time to step up."

Told that heaped pressure on him as a manager to get results, Collins added: "So what? You put yourself on the hot seat. At my age, there's a lot of numbness down there anyway."

Among the tidbits from Collins:

Juan Lagares is the likely leadoff hitter, with Curtis Granderson the fallback.

Collins acknowledged that Lagares leading off would allow him to alternate righties and lefties throughout the lineup, with Daniel Murphy batting second, David Wright third, Lucas Duda fourth, Michael Cuddyer fifth and Granderson sixth.

"We know he can steal bases. He showed us that last year," Collins said about Lagares.

The manager added that he just needs Lagares to improve his plate discipline.

• Wright is recovering well from his left shoulder injury, but is not yet swinging a bat. Wright should be doing so soon, since he's due to visit new hitting coach Kevin Long in Phoenix later this month.

• Although Sandy Alderson has all but named Wilmer Flores as the starting shortstop and Ruben Tejada as the backup barring an external addition -- and Alderson generally gets his way -- Collins is not prepared to name Flores the starter over Tejada just yet. Collins noted that Tejada has pledged to attend the Mike Barwis-led fitness and nutrition camp in January in Port St. Lucie, Florida. "He's 25," Collins said of Tejada, noting he should not be written off. "It would be one thing if he was 31 or 32."

• Duda, Bobby Parnell, Jonathon Niese and Flores already have been to the Barwis fitness camp this offseason. Collins said 40-plus players, including minor leaguers, are expected to attend in January.

Matt Harvey, who expressed a goal of facing hitters as soon as he arrives in Port St. Lucie in early February, will be on a considerably slower track than that. And as much as Harvey says he's on board with the Mets' plan to shave his innings in-season, Collins noted about the first time the club tries to skip one of his starts: "Oh, there'll be a fight."

• Cuddyer likely will play right field, with Granderson shifting to left field.

• Parnell won't be ready for mound work until late January as he returns from Tommy John surgery and won't be highly active until the middle of spring training. He is likely to open the season on the DL. Still, Collins maintained the closer's job essentially is Parnell's to lose, with Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black in a competition for the role in the interim.

• The Opening Day bullpen should be Mejia, Familia, Black, Josh Edgin, Carlos Torres, an external addition who is a left-hander and a fill-in until Parnell is ready. Collins indicated Rafael Montero is the best young candidate to fill in at the start of the season in a bullpen role. A year ago, Cory Mazzoni would have been included on that list, but he had an injury-plagued 2014, so the Mets probably won't ask him to relieve to open the upcoming season.

Collins: Harvey may have starts skipped

November, 13, 2014

Courtesy of New York MetsTerry Collins pitched in at a Richmond Hill food pantry on Thursday.
PHOENIX -- During an appearance at a food pantry in Richmond Hill on Thursday, Terry Collins acknowledged Matt Harvey may have some starts skipped in 2015 in order to preserve the ace's innings.

"Certainly we might skip him here and there once in a while, just to save him," Collins told reporters during the appearance, according to Newsday. "That will all be explained to him and there'll be arguments and he'll throw a tantrum in the office but it's all part of the job because he wants to pitch and he wants to win."

Collins also flatly denied a Daily News report that Jonathon Niese blurted an expletive to him in the dugout after being questioned about why he did not bunt.

"If that quote was accurate, there would have been a fight in the dugout," Collins reportedly told a TV network.

The manager then added, according to Newsday: "That is not true. I don't know what that came from. I will tell you, I'm a changed guy in a lot of ways, but if I ever had a player say that to me, especially on the bench ... uh, it didn't happen."

Alderson: Niese antics won't get him traded

November, 13, 2014
PHOENIX -- Sandy Alderson said Jonathon Niese's propensity to get excitable and blurt expletives in his manager’s direction will have no bearing on which starting pitcher gets traded this offseason.

With Matt Harvey returning, the Mets have an excess starter and are likely to deal someone from a group that includes Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and Niese.

“It would have no impact whatsoever,” Alderson said Thursday morning, as the GM meetings concluded.

On Thursday, Terry Collins reportedly denied that Niese told him “[expletive] you” late in the season. Niese's comment supposedly came in the third inning of Niese’s final 2014 start, after the manager questioned why the southpaw ignored a bunt sign.

Niese regularly gets upset with his manager when he is removed from games and shows that frustration in public.

“I don’t know to what extent that incident was different than maybe a handful of others that have happened from time to time,” Alderson said. “You know, Jon isn’t always happy when he comes off the mound. I don’t know if I’m aware of that particular incident. You know, Jonathon is a competitive guy. He’s an emotional guy. And those things happen.”

Explaining why Niese’s behavior would have no impact on his future with the team, Alderson said: “To me, it’s not so much a line between fired up and inappropriate. It’s more about how that moment affects the relationship going forward, whether there’s lingering anger by one party or the other. And I just don’t see that happening. That’s not Terry and that’s not Jonathon.”

Report: Jon Niese cursed out Collins

November, 13, 2014
PHOENIX -- Jonathon Niese ignored a bunt signal and told his manager "[expletive] you" when questioned about it during the southpaw's final start of the season, the Daily News reported.

"Take me out if you don’t like it," Niese reportedly added during the third inning of a game he ultimately pitched into the sixth inning.

Niese and Collins clashed on the mound multiple times during the year over the timing of his removals from games, although Collins has said those instances were about fighting to stay in the game and he liked that competitive spirit.

“I have zero problem with Jon Niese’s competitiveness,” Collins told the newspaper on Wednesday.

Despite being the lone southpaw until Steven Matz is ready for the majors, Niese may get traded this offseason, because the Mets have an extra starter with Matt Harvey returning. Team officials consistently have told that they will make Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and Niese available and see which commands the most relative to his internal value.

Niese went 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts and logged 187 2/3 innings this past season. Still, his average fastball velocity was 88.5 mph, down 1.7 mph from the previous season, which raises questions about the long-term durability of his shoulder.

Niese does have a relatively team-friendly contract, which he originally signed to bargain away his arbitration years. He is owed $7 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016, then has two team options, at $10 million and $11 million.

TC appears on manager of year ballot

November, 11, 2014
PHOENIX -- Terry Collins appeared on one ballot for NL Manager of the Year.

ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers placed Collins third on his ballot.

Thirty ballots were cast. Washington's Matt Williams won the award, topping runner-up Clint Hurdle of the Pirates and No. 3 Bruce Bochy of San Francisco.

Terry Collins salutes 7 Line crowd

September, 29, 2014

NEW YORK -- Throughout the season, The 7 Line has sponsored days in center field at Citi Field, filling the entire section with spirited fans wearing a uniform, themed T-shirt.

That again was the case on Sunday, for the season finale against the Houston Astros. And Terry Collins made sure to pay tribute after the final out of the season.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 8, Astros 3

September, 28, 2014
NEW YORK -- Second place! Well, at least a share of it anyway.

Lucas Duda launched his 30th homer and finished with four RBIs and the Mets completed their season with an 8-3 victory against the Houston Astros on an 84-degree Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets posted a 79-83 record -- their most wins in four seasons under Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins.

The Amazin’s finished tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East.

The Mets draft 15th next June.

With a final-day announced paid attendance of 34,897, the Mets had their first season uptick -- abeit barely -- since 2007 to ’08:

2014: 2,148,808
2013: 2,135,657
2012: 2,242,803
2011: 2,378,549
2010: 2,559,738
2009: 3,154,270 (Citi Field debut season)
2008: 4,042,047 (Shea Stadium final season)
2007: 3,853,949

Duda's two-run homer came in his final at-bat, in the eighth inning. He answered cheers with a curtain call. Ruben Tejada followed with a two-run homer as the Mets turned a 4-3 lead into a rout with a four-run frame.

Milestone: Bartolo Colon tossed six innings in the season finale, allowing him to cross the 200-inning threshold for the first time since 2005, when he won 21 games and the AL Cy Young with the Los Angeles Angels. Colon became the first major league pitcher to reach 200 innings at age 41 or older since Tom Glavine in 2007, also with the Mets.

Colon, who departed with a 4-3 lead, finished the season at 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA. He is under contract for next season, when he turns 42, at $11 million.

Outta here: Retiring Bobby Abreu went 1-for-2 with a walk in his final major league game. After Abreu singled in the fifth inning, the crowd gave him a standing ovation as Billy Joel’s “This Is The Time” blared over the PA system. Abreu waved his helmet to the crowd as Astros second baseman and fellow Venezuelan Jose Altuve patted him on the backside.

Abreu, 40, then was replaced by pinch runner Eric Young Jr.

Abreu finished his career with a .291 average, 288 homers, 1,363 RBIs and 400 steals in 8,480 at-bats spanning 18 major league seasons.

Finished strong: Matt den Dekker went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, steal and run scored. He hit .339 (19-for-56) in September and finished the season on a career-high eight-game hitting streak.

Local boy makes good: Long Islander Nick Tropeano, a West Islip High and Stony Brook University product, allowed four runs in five innings before a large cheering section of family and friends in section 122. The damage included a two-run double by Duda that staked the Mets to a 4-2 lead in the fifth.

Batting champ: Altuve, initially out of the starting lineup before public pressure led to his late insertion, went 2-for-4 with an RBI to wrap up the first batting title in Astros history.

Altuve had entered the day with a three-point lead over Detroit Tigers slugger Victor Martinez. Altuve finished with a .341 average. Martinez finished at .335.

What’s next: The offseason!

The Mets open the 2015 season on April 6 against the Washington Nationals in D.C.

It may even be Matt Harvey Day.

Mets clinch sub-.500 season

September, 25, 2014
WASHINGTON -- Terry Collins offered resignation after the Mets suffered their 82nd loss, clinching the team's sixth straight losing season.

The Mets are 12-9 in September and flirted with .500, but enter a season-ending series at Citi Field against the Houston Astros witha 77-82 record after a doubleheader split on Thursday in D.C.

Six straight losing seasons matches the Astros for the longest active streak in the majors.

"It was one of the things we were looking forward to, especially the way we played the last month," Collins said about a .500 record. "As I told a lot of people: The teams that are in the hunt, their last month, their records are good. We were making a comeback. Now we'll just worry about finishing strong."

The Mets did maintain a second-place tie with Atlanta entering the final weekend.

Morning Briefing: .500 or bust?

September, 24, 2014

FIRST PITCH: With five games remaining, the Mets still share second place with the freefalling Atlanta Braves. Both teams are 76-81.

So how long has it been since the second-place team in the NL East finished with a sub-.500 record?

Nineteen years ago.

In 1995, the Braves won the division at 90-64, then went on to win the World Series. The Mets and Philadelphia Phillies tied for second in the division in the strike-shortened season at 69-75.

Of course, the Mets are not resigned to their sixth straight losing season just yet. They can avoid such a fate by winning their final five games.

That pursuit begins Wednesday at Nationals Park, when Dillon Gee makes his final 2014 start. Gee (7-8, 3.88 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.74) at 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon on Tuesday formally announced an extension for general manager Sandy Alderson that guarantees his contract through 2017. Alderson then announced Terry Collins would return as manager for next season. The Mets hold an option on Collins for 2016, but are not picking it up at this point.

Alderson indicated the coaching staff would be addressed shortly after the season, but confirmed Tim Teufel will remain the third-base coach. Minimal turnover is expected. The exception is hitting coach, which could preclude Wally Backman from getting onto the staff. If the Mets stayed internal for a hitting coach, perhaps a list of candidates would include Las Vegas hitting coach George Greer, Savannah hitting coach Valentino Pascucci, current player Bobby Abreu and roving instructor Jack Voigt.

Read a transcript of Wilpon and Alderson’s remarks here.

Read more on the retention of Alderson and Collins in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at

Jacob deGrom's Rookie of the Year-caliber season is in the books. Finding no upside in deGrom making a final start Saturday against the Houston Astros, the Mets opted to shut down the right-hander. DeGrom logged 178 2/3 innings between the majors and minors, an increase of 31 innings over his 2013 workload. Ex-Met Collin McHugh, who was lined up to face deGrom on Saturday, also has been shut down. Rafael Montero instead starts against Houston.

ESPN’s Mark Simon statistically breaks down just how good deGrom’s season was here.

Read more in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at

Bartolo Colon failed to cover first base at a critical point, then surrendered a tiebreaking three-run homer to Adam LaRoche and the Nationals beat the Mets, 4-2, Tuesday. Washington is 14-3 against the Mets this season. LaRoche is batting .327 (16-for-49) with six homers and 18 RBIs against the Mets in 2014. He also has been walked 15 times.

Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger and at

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post examines the size of the gap between the Mets and Nats.

Jenrry Mejia will undergo surgery on Oct. 2 in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia. Dr. Bill Meyers, who operated on Scott Rice last September, will perform the procedure. Meanwhile, Juan Lagares (elbow) will not require surgery. Lagares, Dilson Herrera (quadriceps) and Vic Black (shoulder) are all done for the season.

• Sophia Rosenbaum and Jonathan Lehman in the Post have fun checking out responses to the Mets asking fans on Twitter to say why they’re a fan of the team, while using the hashtag #ImAMetsFanBecause …

From @MitchNYM: #ImAMetsFanBecause they were all out of Yankees gear

From @FrankDonato1: #imametsfanbecause it’s marginally less painful than smashing your hand with a hammer

From @BorrisQ: #ImAMetsFanBecause my parents didn’t love me as a child

From @AndrewGould4: #ImAMetsFanBecause I don’t feel like I deserve true happiness.

David Wright is bullish on the Mets in 2015. “We’ve gotten ourselves to the point where I think we’re going to be a very good team next year," Wright told reporters pregame, as reported in the Star-Ledger. "We finally have gone through some of these rough years where the expectations we have on ourselves should be pretty high."

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News constructs one team by combining the Mets and Yankees.

• Lloyd Carroll at NY Sports Day reviews retiring commissioner Bud Selig’s visit to Citi Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear offers a historical guide to the Mets and their second-place finishes.

BIRTHDAYS: Hubie Brooks turns 58. … Bernard Gilkey is 48.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Does second place matter?

Sandy Alderson extension transcript

September, 23, 2014
WASHINGTON -- Jeff Wilpon announced Tuesday that the Mets had exercised general manager Sandy Alderson's option for next season and added two additional years, though 2017.

Here's what Wilpon said about reaching the decision:

"On behalf of myself and ownership, we're very happy with the process that's in place, the development of our players and the overall direction we're taking to get to the next level. We want Sandy to continue to explore all the ways to improve the team. He does have payroll flexibility whether through free agency or trades. And we're looking forward to 2015 as well as Sandy's leadership and guidance in getting us to the postseason."

John Munson/USA TODAY SportsSandy Alderson and Terry Collins are returning in 2015.

Alderson handled the call from that point. Here are select comments ...

On the positives and negatives of his performance over the first four years:

"Obviously we're not at the point that we'd like to be in terms of our won-loss record and the overall success of the team. I think we've done some things well. I think through the efforts of people like Paul [DePodesta] and Dick Scott, our farm is system has improved dramatically. We have more talent coming into the system. The talent that we have, I think, is being well-developed. We've seen evidence of that at the minor league level and major league level. I think we've acquired some players from outside the organization through trades that again reflect well on our amateur and professional scouting staff.

"Free agency is a crapshoot. On the other hand, you expect to hit a certain number of times. That's an area where hopefully we will continue to be active, but also be more successful than perhaps we've been in the past. From that standpoint, I think the overall direction of the team is pretty good. But we need to translate the progress that we've seen in the organization and across the franchise into more wins. But I don't think we're that far away. I really don't believe that this is going to take a giant leap to get to a playoff-competitive level. And I hope I'm right about that."

On Terry Collins remaining manager in 2015:

"He's done an exceptional job for us, I believe. He's energetic. He's passionate. His work ethic is second to none. And I think this translates extraordinarily well into his leadership of the team. I think our team continues to play hard, has from the beginning of the season. I have no doubt it will continue through the next six games. It's been a pleasure to watch how the team has responded to Terry. I'm very pleased he's going to be back with us. We're fortunate to continue to have Terry into 2015. ...

On Collins not getting an extension:

"Look, we're focused on 2015. Terry does have an option for 2016. That has not been exercised at this point. But I don't believe that will have any impact on Terry -- how he's viewed by the front office, his relationship with the players. I was in a similar situation, I guess, at the beginning of this season. It doesn't have to be a factor. I'm very pleased Terry is coming back and I look forward to good things in 2015."

On whether he received any assurances a payroll spike is possible, or whether it will resemble the past couple of years:

"The short answer is I don't know if there will be a dramatic spike or not. But I will say this: I don't feel that we will necessarily be constrained by the payroll next year. Recently I said, look, that we have seen the emergence of a number of good young players. We have to decide whether they're good young and play0ff-caliber players. We have to measure that, and compare that to what's available in the free-agent market, what's available in the international market, what's available in the trade market. I feel as if we've got plenty of latitude in looking at all of those areas. But again, as I go back to what I said earlier, I think with the player-development side we've done pretty well. We've done decently in trades. Free agency is problematic, and not just for us -- for a lot of teams. We're going to explore all of the options and see where it takes us. It may take us a while during the course of the offseason to full explore what those options are."

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Morning Briefing: Second place!

September, 23, 2014

FIRST PITCH: The Mets are now tied for second place in the NL East with the freefalling Atlanta Braves at 76-80.

As for another goal: If the Mets want to reach .500, they will need to win at least five of their remaining six games.

And that means taking care of the Washington Nationals, who certainly have dominated the meetings of late. The Nats are 13-3 against the Mets this season as the teams enter a three-game series in D.C.

The most wins by a team against the Mets in a single season is 16. That was accomplished by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962, then the Dodgers again in ’63.

Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02 ERA) -- who will also start the season finale -- opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

The Mets are expected to declare before the game whether Jacob deGrom will be granted another start or will be shut down for the season with an innings cap. The Houston Astros, who conclude the season at Citi Field, are facing the same decision with ex-Met Collin McHugh.

Wilfredo Tovar is due to join the Mets after Dilson Herrera suffered a strained right quadriceps at Turner Field.

This is also the final series for Kevin Burkhardt as SNY’s field reporter, since he has weekend football duties for Fox.

Read the Mets-Nats series preview here.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• The Mets will announce the returns of Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins after the season, plus a multi-year extension of Alderson’s deal, through at least 2017. Collins’ staff largely is expected to return as well.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Journal and at

• Mike Puma in the Post and Kristie Ackert in the Daily News report Tim Teufel could move to hitting coach next season, which would pave the way for Wally Backman to potentially get on the staff as third base coach. However, a team insider told that Teufel is expected to remain at third base and there should be minimal turnover to the staff overall. The most logical turnover appears in the hitting-coach positions. While there has been dialogue about getting Backman on the major league staff, as first reported, it is not clear an appropriate position will be vacant.

• The instructional league is under way in Florida. Check out the full list of Mets farmhands participating here.

• Alderson has been selected to serve on a pace-of-game committee chaired by Braves president John Schuerholtz.

• After getting swept in a three-game series by the Mets, the Braves fired GM Frank Wren on Monday.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at NY Mets Report writes about what is left for the Mets to play for.

BIRTHDAYS: Gonzalez Germen turns 27. ... Commack-raised Pete Harnisch is 48.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you approve of Sandy Alderson getting an extension?

Morning Briefing: Play on

September, 20, 2014

FIRST PITCH: Wait until next year!

The Mets officially were eliminated from postseason contention on Friday night, despite producing a win.

Still, they play on.

At 74-80, the Amazin’s occupy fourth place in the NL East. Still, they are only a half-game behind the Miami Marlins (74-79) for third place and only 2 games behind the Atlanta Braves (76-77) for second place.

The Mets need to go 7-1 the rest of the way to reach .500. Otherwise, they will produce their sixth straight losing season, which would match the Houston Astros for the longest active streak of sub-.500 seasons in the majors.

On Saturday at Turner Field, Jonathon Niese (8-11, 3.55 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74) at 7:10 p.m.

Saturday’s news reports:

Lucas Duda opened the scoring with a two-run homer and the Mets tacked on three ninth-inning runs en route to a 5-0 win against Atlanta in Friday’s series opener. Albeit requiring 105 pitches, Zack Wheeler tossed six scoreless innings to improve to 11-10 with a 3.49 ERA with one start remaining.

“His stuff was very, very good,” Terry Collins said, while adding: “As we’ve seen lately, he uses a lot of pitches to get outs.”

Collins was pleased that Wheeler has maintained his velocity this deep into the season. He has now logged 180 1/3 innings. Last year, he logged 174 1/3 innings. Wheeler has continued to average more than 96 mph with his fastball in September.

“That’s what you work hard for during the offseason, so you can last this long and stay powerful throughout the season,” Wheeler said. “It’s a good sign.”

As for turning a 3-8 record entering July into an above-.500 mark, Wheeler added: “It was a rough first few months, but I got past that. I kept my nose down and kept going.”

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at

• Read more on Wheeler in the Record.

• Triple-A manager Wally Backman joined the major league staff Friday for the final nine games of the season. He offered candid assessments of Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Matt Bowman, Jacob deGrom and Wilmer Flores. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Juan Lagares is skipping the trip to Atlanta and D.C. because of his right elbow sprain. Lagares may appear during the season’s final series, against the Astros at Citi Field. Or he may already have played his final 2014 game.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was given Friday off after passing a kidney stone.

• Broadcaster Ron Darling tells Neil Best in Newsday this was an “enjoyable” year watching the Mets.

• If deGrom wins the Rookie of the Year Award, he would have logged the second-fewest innings ever among recipients, ahead of only Dave Righetti, writes Jared Diamond in the Journal. DeGrom is at 134 1/3 innings with two remaining starts. Righetti had only 105 1/3 with the Yankees while winning the AL award in 1981.

• A fan caught Duda’s homer in a popcorn bucket. Watch the video at

• The Mets hosted a wheelchair softball tournament in the parking lot at Citi Field, writes Lisa L. Colangelo in the Daily News.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear has mentally pushed its calendar ahead to 2015.

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Bay turns 36. ... Dave Gallagher was born on this date in 1960.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets make the postseason in 2015?

Mets won't quit despite elimination

September, 19, 2014
ATLANTA -- Terry Collins does not expect the Mets to let up now that they mathematically have been eliminated from postseason contention.

“We’ve just got to play the game right,” Collins said after the Mets’ 5-0 win against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, in Game No. 154. “As I said earlier today, I know we’ve only got a few games left, but you know what? We signed up to play 162 and play them hard. Just finish it off strong, play strong, go out and do the right things, execute like we’re supposed to, and the wins will take care of themselves. You know, I still believe people come to the ballpark to see the game played right.”

Collins said the fact that the Mets are playing a ton of young players with things to prove ensures a high level of energy.

“Well, we’ve got some young guys,” Collins said. “If they pack it in, you won’t see them again. That’s why it’s nice this time of year to bring those young guys up, because they add a lot of energy to the team. And our veteran guys, they’re great guys. There’s never been a question of how hard they’re going to play. We’ll finish it up. We’ll finish it up strong.”

Asked if there was any sting about being mathematically eliminated, Collins said: “Well, yeah, but the sting has been we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to. We certainly came out of spring training with high hopes of putting together a nice run. We just never seemed to get it going. That’s been the biggest disappointing thing, because if you can’t get it going, playoff runs are going to end. You’re not going to be in them.

“As I told the guys walking around the outfield during batting practice, ‘We’ve got eight games to go. We’re still in the hunt. That says a lot.’ That says that they hung in there when times were tough. Some of our guys are gone, they’re down right now, and they just keep playing.”

The Mets, despite a 74-80 record, actually can finish as high as second place in the NL East. The free-falling Braves occupy that slot now, with a 76-77 record.

“We aren’t done playing,” said Zack Wheeler, who tossed six scoreless innings Friday despite a high pitch count. “Obviously we can’t get first anymore, but we’re going for the second spot. It’s good to bear down right here and finish out the season strong going into next season.”

Reaction: Mets 5, Braves 0; still eliminated

September, 19, 2014
ATLANTA -- Over and out!

Lucas Duda broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer against Julio Teheran in the sixth, and the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 5-0 Friday at Turner Field.

Still, before completing their 154th game of the season, the Mets (74-80) were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. Russell Martin had a three-run homer in a four-run eighth to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. Pittsburgh notched its 83rd win -- more than the Mets can achieve even if they win out.

The Mets need to go 7-1 the rest of the way to reach .500 and snap their streak of consecutive losing seasons at five straight.

"We thought we had the pieces, but we had to have a lot of things go right because we had a lot of question marks,” Terry Collins said pregame, with the Mets on the brink elimination. “I don’t call them, ‘holes.’ I call them ‘question marks,’ because I think if you’re a major league player you’re talented. There were certain things guys had to do that we talked about in spring training that, ‘Hey if we get this out of this guy, this out of that guy, we’re going to be in the hunt.’ We didn’t do that.

"We’ve competed. We’ve competed very well. And now it’s a matter of next year trying to go in with a realization that, ‘Hey, look, we are going to be good enough.’”

Zack Wheeler contributed six scoreless innings despite requiring 105 pitches.

Wheeler’s final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.

Duda now has 28 homers and 85 RBIs, both team highs by sizable margins. The long ball total ranks third in the National League, trailing only idle Giancarlo Stanton (37) as well as the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo (31).

Duda’s homer plated Daniel Murphy, who finished 4-for-5. Murphy matched his career high with the four hits.

The Mets tacked on three ninth-inning runs.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (8-11, 3.55 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74) at 7:10 p.m. Saturday.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187