While speaking with reporters following the Mets loss against the Braves this afternoon, Terry Collins said that prospect Matt Den Dekker is a “legitimate consideration” for making the opening day roster.
Den Dekker is just 3-for-19 (.158) so far in spring, although two of his hits (double, triple) have gone for extra bases. He does have three walks already, however, he also has six strikeouts which is a major concern of his.
The fact that Terry is saying there is a legitimate chance Den Dekker makes the club confirms my suspicions that the Mets are almost exclusively looking for defense out of their center fielder because of the problems they will have defensively at the corner positions. That is also why I do not think Kirk Nieuwenhuis would even be a legitimate option if he was not hurt at the moment, even though he makes much more sense than Den Dekker of a couple different levels. I felt that Torres’s defense was a major motivation for the Angel Pagan trade and Den Dekker is the next best defensive option we have so I do understand why Terry would make the comment from that perspective, but…
Let’s be honest, there is no real reason for Den Dekker to be in this conversation. I like him as a prospect, but with a subpar half-season at Double-A and poor spring under his belt, it is pretty clear he is not ready to handle major league pitching. He does not make enough contact right now and needs some more seasoning in the minors to work out those kinks.
It also makes no sense since he is not currently on the 40-man roster. It is not that I would object to releasing a say D.J. Carrasco to make room for him, but it just doesn’t seem like a move the Mets would make.
The only thing he has on his side is his defense. He is head and shoulders above the other players competing in spring (Mike Baxter, Adam Loewen, Jordany Valdespin) and considerably better than Jason Bay and Scott Hairston. There is no doubt he would be able to help out Lucas Duda defensively, but I’m not sure that could make up for how much he could wind up crippling them offensively.