It was the punchline of a joke that began on Opening Day, when Collins drew up a lineup dissimilar to most of the cards the Mets used last year. Over the next two days, speculation raged that Alderson and the front office explicitly told Collins how to construct his lineup.
On Wednesday, after Collins released yet another unorthodox lineup, with pitcher Jacob deGrom batting eighth, both he and Alderson squelched that speculation.
"The one thing the manager has in his power is this," Collins said, clutching the lineup card in his hand. "He's got one hammer, and that's who plays. And I'm certainly very, very lucky to have that hammer."
The idea for Monday's lineup, Collins said, actually came from bench coach Bob Geren. Alderson had input, but left the final say to Collins and his staff. And Collins, who is admittedly much more open to nontraditional ideas than he was early in his managerial career, chose to bat Curtis Granderson first and David Wright second.
"When we put the roster together, the front office makes that final decision with input from the manager and the coaches," Alderson said. "When it comes to the lineup, yeah, the front office has input from time to time, but that's up to the manager. It's no different than infield defensive positioning or anything else. Our job is to provide information, and the manager and the coaches decide."
Any perceived conflict between the manager and his GM has the potential to catch fire this summer, if only because Collins is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. A poor start to the season could whittle his job security away to nothing, so if the front office suggests something -- a lineup change, for example -- it would naturally behoove Collins to consider it.
But Alderson squashed any notion of the front office dictating his decisions on the field.
"It's an inaccurate perception," the GM said.