In the days leading up to his first postseason as a manager, Terry Collins surveyed the Mets' roster, one loaded with some of the best young arms in baseball. Then he pondered his future, a topic rife with uncertainty all season long.
"I'd like another chance to do this because I see a real bright future here," Collins told Newsday at the time. "But I'm not going to do it for a long time."
Now, Collins has been given the opportunity to chase another championship, and to do so on his own terms. Sources told Newsday on Tuesday that Collins, 66, agreed to a new two-year contract that will keep him in the Mets' dugout through the 2017 season.
The deal officially will be announced Wednesday at Citi Field. According to CBSSports.com, it is worth about $3 million total, which would be a modest raise for Collins, who last season made a little more than $1 million. It represents a reward for Collins, who spent the first four years of his Mets tenure helping to oversee a rebuilding project that led to lean times on the field.
"Stability means that you are doing well. It means that you are heading in the right direction," Mets captain David Wright said at Citi Field on Tuesday. "I think that anytime you can come back with kind of that same core, same coaches, same manager, proves that you are not only going in the right direction but you've had some success to build on."
The oldest manager in baseball, Collins led the Mets to their first pennant since 2000. His reward is the type of security that had escaped him since taking the job in November 2010.
Before the new contract, the Mets held only an option for Collins for 2016, essentially making him a lame duck in 2015. But despite his shaky job status hanging like a cloud over his head, Collins was instrumental in holding the team together during a turbulent first half.
Once the Yoenis Cespedes trade revived the offense, the Mets stormed past the Nationals for their first division crown since 2006. They finished 90-72, their first winning season since 2008.
Collins demonstrated an ability to work with the front office, particularly with general manager Sandy Alderson, who has credited Collins for his handling of the clubhouse. He also has proved capable of working within the constraints of the innings limits imposed on the young starting pitchers.
Collins' tactical moves have long been scrutinized. For example, in Game 5 of the World Series, he admitted he allowed Matt Harvey to talk him into leaving him in the game in the ninth. The decision backfired, with the Royals tying the score by scoring twice and winning the clincher in 12 innings.
Player management remains Collins' strength. Since arriving with the Mets, he has won the respect of veterans such as Wright, who was supportive of the extension.
"I mean, we just went to the World Series," Wright said. "I would imagine that turnover usually happens when you don't have the type of success that we had this year. He definitely deserves it, along with the rest of our coaching staff. When you go out there and prove that you can win, I'm sure there is going to be a lot less turnover."
Collins is 394-416 in five seasons as Mets manager. This was his first winning season and first playoff appearance. He's 838-850 in 11 big-league seasons, with prior stints with the Astros and Angels.
The new contract likely will be the last Collins signs in a professional baseball career that began 45 years ago. Earlier this year, he indicated that after an extension, his next step likely would be retirement. He has grown attached to his four grandchildren.
Said Collins: "I'm going to go have some fun, get up when I want to get up, go play golf, mow the yard, stuff that makes me relaxed."
With Mike Gavin