New York Mets: For Terry Collins, "Change" is Hard To Come by

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIJune 2, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29: Manager Terry Collins of the New York Mets looks on from the dugout during the game against  the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on May 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Terry Collins is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore!

Quite frankly, it's about time.

There were plenty of reasons and opportunities for Collins to tear into his team the way he did last night after yet another debacle.

The Pittsburgh Pirates collected five infield hits in the seventh inning and came from behind for the second-straight night to down the Mets, 9-3.

In their last two games, the Mets have allowed 14 runs after the sixth inning and despite strong starts by both R.A. Dickey on Tuesday and Chris Capuano last night, they have nothing to show for it.

The Mets are now have their worst record (25-30) in eight years. Worse even than any stretch under Jerry Manuel or Willie Randolph.

Is that Collins' fault?

No way.

He knows that.

There's only so much a manager can do before he simply has to start calling out players.

He didn't name names last night or put any blame on the millions of dollars worth of personnel the Mets have on the DL right now, but Collins certainly made sure his players knew change is coming.

“I don’t have the answers,” Collins said after the game last night. “I’m searching. I’m sick of wringing the rag dry, coming in here and having [the media] look at me like I’m a stinking fool. I’m not pointing at the players only...I’ll take all the sucking blame anyone wants to hand out. Maybe I’ve got to make some adjustments and, by God, they’ll be made. I don’t know if it comes with finding different players, but they’ll be made. Something’s going to be changing.”

Collins can't explain why Jason Bay can't hit home runs or why Willie Harris doesn't know what a force out is.

It's not hard to understand why Collins has reached his boiling point.

At one point this week, the Mets had totaled 32 hits in two games. Now they're just hoping to split the series with the Pirates.

Confused? So is Terry Collins.

The problem is, what can he change? What players can he call up or trade for that would actually make an improvement?

The Mets are in no position to be buyers at the trade deadline. It's widely assumed that the Mets will be the biggest sellers in baseball soon, with Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Mike Pelfrey and David Wright all rumored to be available. 

Reyes and Beltran are all but gone, in fact. 

As far as the current team is comprised, much of the little production the Mets get comes from players who have already been called up.

Justin Turner snapped the Mets' 10-game homerless streak last night with an eighth-inning solo shot and is now batting .320 with two home runs and 22 RBI.

Jason Pridie has also endeared himself to the fan base, quickly smashing three home runs after being called up from Buffalo on April 22, but he's since cooled off.

Even Ruben Tejada, Reyes' heir apparent, who showed little offense in limited time last season, is batting .311 in 13 games so far.

If the Mets think there's better production to be found elsewhere, they're kidding themselves.

There are players certainly worthy of getting the axe, like Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, but unless the Mets want to further dip into their already weak farm system for relief, there's not much to be done.

Harris and Hairston were supposed to provide the Mets with late-inning defense and a way to give Beltran a day off here and there during the season. But both players continue to flirt with the Mendoza line and fans have already turned on them.

Harris went 1-for-4 last night, but was booed mercilessly after every out.

If the Mets want to simply clean house, they do have some options, but none are particularly attractive.

They already have Nick Evans here, and with Angel Pagan back from the DL, Pridie is relegated to the bench.

In the minor leagues, Zach Lutz is an option to man third base with Wright on the DL if the Mets wanted to release Harris, leaving Pridie and Evans as back up outfielders.

Justin Turner has also made starts at third base.

Lutz has played just 13 games at Buffalo this season and throwing him into the NL East would probably be a mistake. But after watching Turner and Pridie produce here, the Mets have to at least wonder.

The same goes for Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Nieuwenhuis is currently batting .302 with six home runs and and 14 RBI in 47 games in Buffalo and is the Mets' fifth ranked prospect according to Baseball America.

Imagine a team with Nieuwenhuis and Lutz here, in addition to Pridie, Turner and Tejada.

The Mets might as well start dumping tickets out of an airplane to get fans to come to Citi Field.

But this is the world Collins lives in.

If it's change he wants, he's going to have to work for it.

This team has had its chances. The fact that they were able to escape May with a winning record (14-13) is a minor miracle.

As the season drags on and the dog days of summer approach, they should not expect that kind of performance.

There are going to be other injuries; more blown leads; tougher opponents.

As Daily News columnist Filip Bondy points out, Collins might want to pace himself.

To further compound matters, all of the Mets' top four prospects are either injured or far from major league ready.

There's not going to be any relief for this team. The change must come from within.

If Collins wants things to change, he's going to have to find a way to make lemonade out the the lemons he's got, which is easier said than done.


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