Terry Collins wants his little secret to stay secret

TAMPA, Fla. — Terry Collins knows what the Mets’ rotation will look like to start the season. He’s just not saying. And that’s fine.“(Making it) public? I can wait ‘til the day before,” Collins said Tuesday before the Mets took on the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game. “It doesn’t bother me a bit.” MORE: Mets OF Conforto among our fantasy sleepersSome fans might be a bit bothered by Collins keeping the order of Mets pitchers a secret. Media members definitely are irked by it, because the knowledge that there is information out there to be reported, without being able to report it, is frustrating to reporters, no matter how inconsequential that information might be. The order of pitchers is, in the grand scheme of thing, inconsequential. Odds are that Collins will not go strictly from No. 1 to No. 5 through the rotation, not only because such a construct is generally meaningless anyway, but because it makes less sense to have hard-throwing right-handers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom all pitch in order than it does to mix in left-hander Steven Matz and control artist Bartolo Colon to keep opponents on their toes.It probably would not hurt Collins to name his rotation in advance, but his reasoning for playing it close to the vest is sound. Once he goes public, he’s locked in, and anything necessitating deviation from the plan would become a big deal.“They know when they’re going to pitch, they’re all aware when they’re going to pitch, and we’re not going to say anything, because if we have to make a switch here or there, it becomes a headline,” Collins said. “We’re trying to stay out of the headlines right now.”SPECTOR: Mets have arms to make Series runCollins can’t keep the Mets out of the headlines, of course, and he knows that. His point is, in a year where the defending National League champions are expected to once again do big things, there is no benefit in providing an opening for negativity over what, for most teams, would be perfectly normal baseball business, tweaking lineups, adjusting strategy and whatnot.“I live in New York City,” Collins said. “Every little move we do makes a headline here, so that’s just part of the deal here. Right now, it’s spring training, and we’re just trying to get ready, so we’re trying to create the least amount of drama we can as we try to keep the focus on the health of the club, getting ready for the season, not to have any distractions. So we’re trying to keep a lot of that stuff in the background. That’s why we aren’t going to put a travel list up, because if somebody doesn’t make the list, it becomes ‘Why? Why didn’t he make the list?’ We just want to worry about playing, getting ready, staying healthy, doing the little things we’ve got to do for Game 1 in April.”Things like a spring training travel list can change for thoroughly innocuous reasons, like sleeping funny and waking up with a stiff neck, or a change of plans based on wanting someone to get more at-bats on a back field. The key is that Mets players know what’s happening, much as the starters know the secret plan for when they’re going to pitch.MORE: Memorable Mets moments“That

’s the biggest thing, communication,” Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson told Sporting News. “If you have communication from the top down, that makes things a lot easier. (Collins) does a really good job, whether it’s pulling you to the side, or addressing the whole team, collectively. Him, (general manager) Sandy (Alderson), all the way up to (team CEO) Fred Wilpon, they do a really good job, and why would you not? You have a team full of adults, a team full of grown men. If you can’t communicate with them, then we’ve got a problem.”Communication to the rest of the world is much less of a priority, and while it might be an inconvenience not to be able to pencil in starting pitchers and project out which days which pitchers will pitch which games, Collins knows just how long it’s possible to wait.“Now they want to know who’s starting when – who cares?” Collins said. “We like our rotation. They’re all going to pitch. We’re talking about one start, the first start of the season, and I know it can be a story – it’s not. They’re going to pitch 32 times. . . . When I was in Japan, you didn’t know who was pitching until the guy walked out on the mound. They called it the ‘dead horse.’ You wrote your lineup, and you put pitchers in your lineup until their pitcher walked out, then you took your pitchers out and put the position players in. It was a real blast.”Collins added that there will be times this year, even before Zack Wheeler returns from Tommy John surgery, that the Mets will use a six-man rotation in order to keep their young starters fresh for the end of the season. He knows that a big deal will be made of it when it happens, but better to be out in front of it now, because as much as anything else, minimizing panic around his team is Collins’ job.“He’s got to get his team ready to go,” Granderson said. “Whether you’re in New York or anywhere else, the pressure is to win.”Communicating well with his team helps Collins to live up to that pressure. How much he communicates with the rest of the world is up to him to figure out how it best fits with his goals.