Terry Collins: Mets should be ‘playing in October’ in 2015

Terry Collins has his fingers crossed that both David Wright (l.) and Matt Harvey (r.) come back healthy in 2015.Elsa/Getty Images
Terry Collins has his fingers crossed that both David Wright (l.) and Matt Harvey (r.) come back healthy in 2015.

Meaningful games in September and 90 wins are nice goals for the Mets, but Terry Collins is raising the bar even higher for 2015 — the playoffs.

“We should be playing in October,” the Mets manager said Thursday about his 2015 Mets. “Our young guys are starting to grow, with the addition of some offense … We’re not done, I don’t think (GM) Sandy (Alderson) by any means (is done)… we’re going to make some more moves before spring training startS,” Collins said. “I think 2015 is going to be a good year for us.”

Collins, who worked sorting food at the River Fund, a Queens Food Bank that helps up to 750 families in need Thursday morning, has yet to have a winning season in his first four years with the Mets, but says the team is “ready to win.”

“I go out every night I want to win,” Collins said of expectations going into 2015. “Right now our team is starting to come together. Our young players are no longer rookies, they are starting to have some experience under them. We’ve got some good young players coming and good veterans.”

The signing of outfielder Michael Cuddyer certainly is a reason for Collins to think big, and while many observers believe the team also needs to get a shorstop, Collins says he is fine if Wilmer Flores is the starter at the beginning of the season.

“I have absolutely no issues if Wilmer Flores is the shortstop,” Collins said. “We saw one thing; he makes the everyday play, the routine play that you have to have made.

“Is he going to be that rangy shortstop? Probably not, but he’s got arm strength, he’s got good hands and the fact his bat is gonna play is going to be a big difference.”

That offense is already improved on two fronts, said Collins. Adding Cuddyer, the 35-year old veteran the Mets signed to a two-year deal, gives the Mets a much-needed seasoned hitter. Collins also thinks adding Kevin Long, the former Yankee hitting coach, will make a difference to the lineup as a whole.

“Kevin holds the players accountable, there is a theory and obviously an approach we believe in and he makes them accountable for it,” Collins said. “I think it’s great. They talked about some of the things he did (with the Yankees) how it impacted them — and they’ve got a lot of stars — but like he told me, when they buy into it, when they understand what it is all about, they want to be accountable for it.

“So I am anxious to see how it is going to apply to some of our guys,” he continued. “I think we’ve gotten better.”

Much of those 2015 expectations hinge on Matt Harvey coming back strong after missing 2014 because of Tommy John surgery and David Wright returning to full strength.

Collins laughed when asked about easing Harvey, the uber competitive ace of the staff who is anxious to pitch, back into the rotation.

“Yeah there will be some discussion, without question, because that is Matt,” said Collins with a smile. “This (past) year — and he wasn’t even on the list (to pitch) — there were discussions, but I knew one thing all along. He is going to want to pitch and he is going to want to win.

“That attitude alone is going to make a big difference with our pitching staff.”

Some run support would also help that staff. Wright’s health is a huge factor in the offense. Collins said he has seen Wright, who is rehabbing the shoulder injury that limited him all season, at the new training facilities at the spring training complex in Port St. Lucie.

He said the Mets captain is progressing in his rehab.

“We have (physical therapist) John Zajac down there, so David sees him every day and he’s starting to work on strength now,” Collins said.

“We have to stay healthy,” Collins said about 2015

To that end, Collins said he has to do a better job of insisting players take more time to rest. While he likes to give his players a say, Collins said he has to “pretty much take that out of their hands,” next season.

In 2015, Collins wants Wright, Harvey and Cuddyer healthy and ready to play into October. He knows it is on him to get them there.

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