In complicated times, teams often return to a simple solution: Fire the manager. After Monday's settlement of a lawsuit by the trustee for victims of Bernie Madoff, the Mets' ownership group is faced with paying $162 million as a penalty for their longtime investments with the Ponzi schemer. New York lost $70 million a year ago, wound up fourth in the NL East and then watched its best player, shortstop Jose Reyes, sign with Miami. The 2012 version of the club projects as a last-place finisher, and it is still trying to get value from Johan Santana's and Jason Bay's huge contracts. But no matter how poor the product on the field this year, or how far attendance at Citi Field plummets, the Mets should stick with Terry Collins. The temperamental manager was hired to oversee a team in transition, and there's no reason to replace him with someone who will have to be fired before New York is good again. Collins is an average manager, and the Mets won't rise or fall on his efforts. But the straightforward Collins won't let them stop competing. There's no need to scapegoat him.