- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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The New York Mets picked up Terry Collins' 2013 option, ensuring the manager will not be a lame duck next season, general manager Sandy Alderson announced Tuesday.
"I'm proud of the way the players have played," Collins said after the Mets lost to Cincinnati 5-4 in 13 innings. "We're not happy with the wins and losses. But we hung in there."
Collins has guided the Mets to a fourth-place finish in the National League East in his inaugural season at the team's helm -- his first managerial gig since 1999 with the Angels. Collins has navigated several challenges, including the move to right field and subsequent trade of Carlos Beltran as well as top players such as Johan Santana, Ike Davis and David Wright missing substantial time due to injury.
"We're very pleased with the job that Terry has done -- a tremendous work ethic, extremely knowledgeable, a great baseball man, but also knowledgeable about players in our system," Alderson said. "He communicates well. He has just done a terrific job in leading our team under sometimes difficult circumstances, and in all of those circumstances has not used injuries or trades or anything else as an excuse for the performance of the team.
"... One of the things I think I've mentioned from time to time is we've made every effort to change the perception of the New York Mets baseball. Terry has gone a long way toward doing that. I think he's been a great communicator with his players. I think he's been a great communicator to the fans, sort of an authentic personality that hasn't changed over the course of the last 10 months or so."
Alderson said it was important to pick up the option now in part because of media attention that otherwise might have portrayed Collins as a lame duck in 2012.
"It was an issue we felt we were going to need to address," Alderson said. "(It's) not unusual in a situation where a manager has a year and an option left for the questions to be asked. Certainly we had anticipated that situation and very definitely did not want to interrupt the momentum that he's created by creating any sort of issue about his status or his tenure. At the same time, this is something I think he's earned. He's deserving."
Collins signed a two-year deal after a wholesale revamping of the Mets' front office following the 2010 season. The Mets choose him over fellow Mets employees Bob Melvin, Chip Hale and Wally Backman.
Collins had not managed in the majors in the previous 11 years. But he had been the Mets' minor league field coordinator in 2010 and the team management liked his familiarity with the young players.
The Mets are finishing up their third straight losing season, but Collins' enthusiastic managerial style has won over veterans and rookies alike. Told that Collins had been hired through 2013, rookie pitcher Dillon Gee welcomed the news.
"He's a real good communicator," said Gee, a bright spot at 13-6 this season. "He tells you exactly where you stand, you don't have to read about it before he tells you."
"He's fiery. He knows when to yell and not to, he doesn't pull any punches," he said.
Said star shortstop Jose Reyes: "He's been doing an unbelievable job for all season to keep us together."
Added pitcher Chris Capuano: "He creates a great, positive atmosphere."
This is Alderson's first year as the Mets GM. He said he'd talk with Collins on Thursday, a day after the season ends, on the status of the coaching staff.
The Mets are 76-85 this season after going 79-83 last year before firing Jerry Manuel.
The Mets' most pressing issue this offseason will be the status of Reyes. The shortstop, who led the NL in batting going into the final two days, is eligible for free agency and will command a rich contract. His ability and value, however, have been hampered by recurring hamstring weakness.
Asked to describe Reyes' season, Alderson said: "Extraordinary first half. Good, but checkered second half" because of injuries.
"Definitely someone we're going to try to retain," Alderson said.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.