WASHINGTON -- Lame-duck New York Mets manager Terry Collins is not facing unemployment.
While team officials do not intend to commit to re-signing Collins until after the season, there is internal respect for how he has navigated this season's challenges and a "strong expectation" he will continue to manage the club in 2014, a source familiar with the Mets' plans told ESPNNewYork.com.
One reason not to commit now is that it protects the organization in case there is a serious swoon or other unforeseeable major event during the season's final month.
The Mets enter Sunday night's ESPN-televised game against the Washington Nationals with a 62-72 record. They are headed for their fifth straight losing season. But Collins has kept the clubhouse upbeat and motivated through a series of hindrances, including losing captain David Wright, ace Matt Harvey and closer Bobby Parnell to the disabled list as well as the trade of Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Collins was hired by former general manager Omar Minaya to oversee the Mets' farm system. He was named the franchise's 20th manager by Minaya's successor, Sandy Alderson, on Nov. 23, 2010, after beating out finalists Bob Melvin, Chip Hale and Wally Backman.
Collins originally signed a two-year deal with a team option. He is currently managing in the option year of that deal, without a commitment for 2014.
The Mets have a 213-245 record in nearly three full seasons under the 64-year-old Collins. Still, an organization-wide consensus exists that the Mets have turned a corner with their young pitching talent, although Harvey potentially facing Tommy John surgery is a jolt.
Collins had blow-ups with players while managing the Houston Astros and Anaheim Angels in the 1990s, but has nearly uniformly maintained positive relationships in the Mets clubhouse.
Alderson repeatedly has said Collins will be judged by more than the Mets' position in the standings.
"My role is to balance the short term with the long term," Alderson said last week, after Harvey was lost for the season and Buck and Byrd were dealt to Pittsburgh. "I have said before and would reiterate that how Terry is evaluated is beyond simply wins and losses. We've talked about that before. To the extent that it's perceived that this will make it more difficult to win, and I don't necessarily hold to that belief, obviously all the circumstances will be taken into account."
Collins consistently has brushed aside inquiries about his uncertain status.
"I will reiterate the same things I've been saying all the summer: This is not about me. This is not about me. This will never be about me," he said Tuesday. "This is only about our team and that clubhouse and those 25 guys that have got to go out and play every night. And so my job right now is to make sure they understand what is expected of each and every one of those guys, and that they go out and attain that and reach those expectations. That's all this is about."