Terry Collins hints he might return to manage Mets after 2017

Terry Collins may be facing some serious roster questions soon after closer Jeurys Familia was arrested Monday for an alleged domestic violence incident in New Jersey and with Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes expected to opt out of his contract Saturday, but the Mets skipper did provide some clarity on his own managing future Thursday.

Turns out Collins might not be ready to call it quits when his contract ends after the 2017 season.

“Once again, when you speak your mind in New York City, it comes back to bite you in the behind,” Collins said at the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter’s 22nd annual Lou Gehrig’s Sports Award gala at the Times Square Marriott Marquis. Collins had said in an ESPN report last month that 2017 would be his last managing if he feels exhausted like he did at the end of 2016.

“All I said is this could be my last year. As I look out here, all you guys, it could be your last year, doing what you’re doing,” Collins, 67, joked with reporters Thursday. “I just said I’ll wait until the end of the season, make a decision then, what’s gonna happen. If we win, and things are going good, and I feel as good as I do today, I’ll manage as long as I can. This is a great place to manage. You manage in this city, your energy better stay up. You pour into it what we pour into it, at the end of year I was tired. Especially coming off the year before (2015). You look down the road, you look at the big picture, the optimism and kind of players that we’re going to run out there next year, the energy, I’ll be fine come February.”

Terry Collins should be praised for job he’s done this season

Collins would not comment on the Familia case — “It’s an ongoing investigation. Once it’s all settled then maybe we’ll have something to say,” Collins said — and he added that he had not spoken with his closer.

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Yoenis Cespedes could get a contract in the $100 million range if he opts out.

(Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Collins said he has also not spoken with Cespedes, who could get a contract in the $100 million range if he opts out. If he does so, the slugger may draw interest from the Giants, Angels and possibly the Nationals.

“That’s not my territory,” Collins said when asked about Cespedes. “My territory is manage the guys that are in the clubhouse. He’s a great player, one of the best in the game. Any team would be fortunate to have him. I hope we can get him back.”

Matt Harvey, who was also at the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter event Thursday but did not speak to the media, is a player Collins is expecting back in 2017 after surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.

Terry Collins’ Mets prove they have plenty of heart

“He looks great. He’s in tremendous shape,” Collins said of Harvey. “That’s what you’d expect from him. I know when he shows up in January, he’s gonna be raring to go. We’ve got to keep those (pitchers) healthy. After watching the World Series, you’re picturing your guys out on that mound, they’re pretty good. I think they’re going to get a little farther than 4 2/3 (innings).”

No more than 7 images from any single MLB game, workout, activity or event may be used (including online and on apps) while that game, activity or event is in progress.

“I think the world of Joe Maddon,” Terry Collins said of the Cubs skipper and now World Series champion.

(Pool/Getty Images)

Collins had Cubs manager Joe Maddon on his staff when he managed the Angels, and said he was thrilled his “great friend” won a World Series title and broke a 108-year drought in the Windy City’s north side.

“I think the world of (Maddon). I think the world of Terry Francona. Great Series. Now we can move on. The curse is over. We can now proceed forward. Pretty exciting Series,” said Collins, who noted that all of the pitching changes made during this Fall Classic might be the wave of future postseasons.

“I don’t think you can do a lot during the season, because the season’s so long. You’ve got to protect your guys. But I think you’ll see the World Series and the playoffs played in a different manner from now on,” said Collins. “Those guys know their teams better than I do. You’re pitching good, you’re staying in the game. The Indians’ bullpen was outstanding throughout the entire playoffs. My guys are pretty good. I thought about last year, even Game 5 (of the 2015 World Series when Harvey talked his way into staying in the game). Joe’s a good manager. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a good feel for things. You make decisions that you think are the best for your team and live with them.”

Mets manager Collins says he’ll return in 2017, and then…?

“If you’ve got some of the bullpens that some of these other teams have, you might want to get some of those guys in there early,” Collins continued. “I just think with what’s happened, all the publicity, you’ll see more and more relievers earlier in games.”

Terry Collins is optimistic about Robert Gsellman's 2017 season.

Terry Collins is optimistic about Robert Gsellman’s 2017 season.

(Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

As far as his own bullpen, Collins said he’s “not in charge of the budgets,” but feels strongly about some of the younger arms becoming bullpen cogs after they had to fill in for the injured starters this past season. If Collins has his rotation back healthy next year, the younger arms could work well in relief.

“We think we’ve got good enough arms. We look at the way our bullpen’s shaped up, we’ve got some young guys coming up. If we get our rotation back, these young guys, (Robert) Gsellman, (Seth) Lugo — they got to pitch somewhere. If you have to move those guys into a relief role, you’ll be pretty good,” said Collins.

Collins was also pleased to hear that the club had picked up the options on Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce. With David Wright’s health in limbo following neck surgery, Reyes could return to third, or possibly platoon at second depending on whether Neil Walker returns.

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“We just got better. Jose brought a lot to the table. And Jay Bruce, what happened the first month he was here is not indicative of the kind of player we all know. Everybody has a down time. Unfortunately he had it with us for a month,” said Collins. “He showed at the end of the season what he can do, what he brings to the table. I’m glad he’s back. I’d like to see a lot of people back. Those are questions that Sandy can answer. Neil Walker’s a good player. But if he’s not back, if he gets a better offer someplace else, we’ve got (Wilmer) Flores, we’ve got (T.J.) Rivera. If David’s back, maybe Jose goes (to second).”

Health, Collins stressed, is the key to how far the Mets can go next season, but the manager said that a healthy Mets rotation and lineup can put the team right back in the thick of the playoff hunt a year from now.

“We’ve got to do a better job of resting our regular players, keep them in the lineup. We’ve got a good team. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t repeat and get back right where we belong,” said Collins, whose team lost the NL Wild Card game against the Giants last month. “If you get those pitchers on that mound, they’re the ones that are gonna carry that load.”

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