I think everyone understands what signing Gary Sheffield was going to mean for Ryan Church. Obviously based on how much Sheffield has accomplished in his career, we all knew it would lead to some complications in terms of finding playing time for everyone.
That said, it was still tough to see one of our hottest hitters riding the bench last weekend and at some point I believe it’s going to come to a boiling point.
I believe the Mets are a better team when Ryan Church is in the lineup, but I’m not sure if the Mets feel the same way.
At the beginning of Spring Training, Manuel made the announcement that Murphy would play everyday in leftfield and that Tatis may platoon with Church in rightfield. Church was taken back by the suggestion and Manuel needed to speak to him and it still didn’t wipe the frustration from his face.
Church had a solid spring and any talk of him being platooned was now a distant memory until they boarded a plant to New York and found out that Gary Sheffield had been signed. Sheffield was not in any condition to play in the outfield yet, so Church went out and became the teams hottest hitter through their first nine games.
In an article by Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post this morning, he writes:
You wouldn’t think the Mets’ talented right fielder would need much defending, what with Church ranking among the NL leaders in batting average, on-base percentage, multi-hit games and doubles so far this season.
Oh, and that misplay at Citi Field last week against the Padres notwithstanding, the guy wields a pretty mean glove and throwing arm.
There seems to be a certain disconnect between Jerry Manuel and Ryan Church. It was the topic of conversation this afternoon by Eddie Coleman who was a guest of Mike Francesa this afternoon. Coleman is puzzled by the situation as well.
So why the hate coming from Jerry Manuel and the Mets’ front office?
Why sit him for Gary Sheffield in Sunday’s finale against the Brewers at Citi Field against right-hander Jeff Suppan, when all the lefty Church is doing this season is raking against righties (.387)?
It’s a great question and ironically in that same game, Church was later brought in to pinch hit a against a lefthander and struck out on three pitches.
Hubbuch ponders that the Mets have some resentment toward Church stemming from last years handling of his post concussion syndrome. But I disagree and believe there’s more to it than that. Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh and I think that could be the problem although I’m sure none would admit to it.
Church currently ranks among the NL leaders in batting average, on-base percentage, multi-hit games and doubles so far this season. He is hitting .333 against southpaws and looks much like the same player who the was the team’s MVP the first two months of the season last year before the concussion.
I just hope they can iron this thing out before things get out of hand. I really like Church and I wish they would just play him in rightfield everyday so we can get a good sense of what he can do over the course of a full season.