Angels Extend Collins’ Contract
SEATTLE (AP) _ The Anaheim Angels’ response to the team’s free fall in the AL West was to give manager Terry Collins a contract extension Tuesday.
``He was the right guy to turn this thing around a few years ago, and he’s still the right guy,″ general manager Bill Bavasi said. ``Our problems right now are that we’re not hitting. We started working on this in the spring. We’re happy to have this taken care of, and I’m sure Terry’s happy to have it taken care of.″
The length of the extension was not revealed, but negotiations reportedly were for two more years through 2001 with a team option for 2002. Collins received a similar deal when he came to Anaheim in 1997 after Houston fired him.
``I’m happy about it because we’ve got some unfinished business to do here and we think we can still get it done,″ Collins said.
Anaheim lost five of six on an East Coast trip and began Tuesday last in the AL West at 30-38, 8 1/2 games behind division-leading Texas.
Talk of player dissatisfaction with Collins’ style surfaced in late May, then quieted. The team had a 45-minute meeting last week in Toronto after a 13-2 loss.
``The contract issue is a dead issue,″ Bavasi said. ``The issue of player complaints was a dead issue a long time ago.″
Bavasi said the complaints, which he declined to divulge, didn’t take long to deal with.
``As employers, we have a responsibility to listen and evaluate. This time, in about 15 minutes, we decided their complaints weren’t worth worrying about,″ he said.
Collins said his contract extension was a relief ``in some ways.″ As for the complaints, he said the team has ``a job to do on the field and that’s where the focus should be.″
The players seemed to take sides, at least for a brief period, after several unidentified Angels went to Bavasi with complaints about Collins’ managing style.
``All said and done,″ Bavasi said, ``it was kind of refreshing to have a much larger group of guys on our club more hard-edged and with a desire to win, who far outnumber the soft-guys.″
Collins, 198-191 with the Angels’ going into Tuesday night’s game, has heard criticism that is is too intense for his players.
``If I’m more emotional than Lou Piniella or Tom Lasorda, they’re pretty good managers,″ he said. ``We all care, and that’s all that matters.″
Anaheim thought it would contend after signing Mo Vaughn to an $80 million, six-year contract in November, but Vaughn was hurt on opening day, just one of many injuries on the Angels.
Shortstop Gary DiSarcina, activated Tuesday following a nine-game rehabilitation assignment in the minors, hasn’t played this year after breaking his left forearm in the spring. Sluggers Tim Salmon and Jim Edmonds are sidelined for extended periods.
``People talk about curses, things like that,″ Vaughn said. ``Things just happen. Sometimes things get hard. The main thing is, no one out there is going to let up because the Angels have injuries. I don’t like to talk about injuries too much. The other teams don’t care.″
DiSarcina broke his arm when hit by a fungo bat in February. Cleanup hitter Salmon is expected back soon after spraining his left wrist diving for a fly ball May 3. Gold Glove center fielder Edmonds won’t play until at least August after shoulder surgery last month.
``All four years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen a team decimated like this one is,″ second baseman Randy Velarde said. ``We lost guys for months, or a year, at a time.″