New York Mets Manager Terry Collins' Three Smartest Moves of the 2013 Season
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Despite the fact that the New York Mets are languishing in third place in the NL East with a 54-63 record this season, manager Terry Collins has done a fine job of keeping his club focused and playing hard during the dog days of August.
He's not perfect by any means though. No manager ever is, however, Collins has made some solid decisions during the season.
Let's take a look at the 64-year-old skipper's three smartest moves of the 2013 Mets campaign.
No. 3: Not Demoting Dillon Gee to the Bullpen
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Things looked bad for Dillon Gee in late May.
The 27-year-old right-hander was really struggling in New York's starting rotation with a dismal 2-6 record and a 6.34 ERA. Rumors were that he could be headed to the Mets bullpen as a long reliever or spot starter to work out his various issues.
Manager Terry Collins stuck with the four-year veteran and Gee has rewarded his skipper handsomely by being one of New York's top hurlers since his brilliant 12-strikeout performance against the Yankees on May 30.
Gee has posted a 6-2 ledger from that point and has lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.82—his best ERA this season since his first game. In his last 13 starts, Gee has compiled an impressive 2.42 ERA.
Collins' patience paid off and Gee is showing no signs of slowing down.
"Just because he doesn’t do it as flashy as some of the other guys do, he still gets it done,” Collins told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News.
That's for sure.
No. 2 : Inserting Eric Young ,Jr. into the Leadoff Spot
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It's no secret that the Mets have been playing much better since the native of New Brunswick, N.J., was inserted into the leadoff spot in Terry Collins' lineup.
In fact, New York is 26-22 since the fleet-footed outfielder made his Mets' debut on June 19 in Atlanta after being traded from the Colorado Rockies for Collin McHugh. Young has provided his new club with much-needed speed at the top of the order and despite a recent slump, is hitting .251 with one home run, 13 RBI and 15 stolen bases since joining his new club.
Not only that, Young has also made several dazzling catches in left field. He is an excellent athlete and is still in his prime at 28 years old.
He's exactly what the Mets needed at the time, as they were desperate for a leadoff hitter.
Terry Collins told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News that he has been pleased with Young's production so far:
That’s what he’s brought to us, that energy, that speed. I can’t emphasize enough the job that he’s done since he’s been here. He’s gotten on base when we needed him to, he scores runs like that. He’s played great in the outfield.
No. 1: Demoting Ike Davis to Las Vegas
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This move was made in unison with general manager Sandy Alderson and was one of the most important decisions of the season because Ike Davis has turned his season around since his demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas on June 10.
The 26-year-old first baseman was really floundering at the time of his demotion. Davis was hitting a feeble .161 with 66 strikeouts in 186 at-bats. Davis was swinging at pitches far out of the strike zone and looked completely lost at the plate. Simply put, he was an easy out.
Terry Collins could have kept Davis on the parent club, though, based on his powerful second-half performance in 2012 when Davis slugged 20 home runs after the All-Star break. He resisted temptation and joined Alderson in deciding to send Davis to the minors to straighten himself out.
It has worked. Davis hit .293 in 21 games with the Las Vegas 51s, belting seven home runs to go with 13 RBI. The Mets recalled Davis on July 5 and he has been a different player since.
Heading into the Mets' game against the Dodgers on Tuesday night, Davis was hitting .306 since his recall with his on-base percentage since the All-Star break an outstanding .530. In fact, Davis leads the National League with 23 walks since the break.
The one negative is that Davis has hit just one home run and knocked in nine runs since his return. If he continues showing improved plate discipline, the power aspect of his game should return.
He's not all the way back, but it looks like he's finally getting there.
"My last eight games, I've been doing pretty well," Davis told Marc Carig of Newsday . "So if I can continue to just do what I'm doing and have good at-bats, I'm going to play better."