Jason Bay has begun working out in Port St. Lucie. He’s still several weeks away, but what is to become of the Mets’ outfield when he comes back?
Terry Collins said Bay will play, but not how much.
I don’t like the idea of Kirk Nieuwenhuis returning to the minor leagues or having his playing time substantially reduced. And, for the money the Mets are paying Bay, he will play. That’s always a factor, regardless of what the manager or GM says.
Part of what goes into Collins’ decision would be the Mets’ record at the time. If they are consistently winning and with Nieuwenhuis producing it would be deflating to sit him.
The Mets could bring Bay back slowly in a platoon role until he regains his stroke. And, I’m talking about the one he left in Boston, not his brief spurt before the injury.
Another scenario, and one more difficult to implement because of all the moving parts would be to rotate Nieuwenhuis in the outfield, playing a day in right, one in center and one in left, which would give Andres Torres and Lucas Duda a rest. It could also bury Scott Hairston on the bench. I believe this will be how Collins handles things.
I like Nieuwenhuis and he’s done nothing to warrant to be benched. Conversely, Bay’s track record is such that he doesn’t deserve the automatic fulltime insertion into the lineup.
The one thing we have learned since Bay’s injury is Nieuwenhuis represents the Mets’ future, while Bay does not.
Thoughts from Joe D. – During Minaya’s last months as GM, I seem to recall comments from the fan base railing against him for not cutting Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo when they still had two years left on their deals.
When Alderson took over and ultimately released both of them with a year left on their contracts, plenty of praise came his way for doing what many thought Minaya should have done a year earlier.
I wrote at the time that it was much easier for Alderson to cut ties with both Castillo and Perez because they had only one year left rather than two.
If Minaya were still GM at the time, the outcomes would have been similar.
I think Bay is where Castillo and Perez were when fans were calling for their heads.
So will Alderson play this the same exact way Minaya did?
Will he even go as far as Minaya did and even ask Bay to accept an assignment to the minors with the hope he can regain his power stroke which the team desperately needs?
Look, it won’t bother me if we keep Bay in some sort of a reduced role. But it will bother me if Bay cuts into the playing time of Nieuwenhuis or Torres.
If winning and putting the best lineup on the field is truly the top priority with these Mets, than Bay’s return form the DL shouldn’t change what has been a winning combo.
But if Alderson or Collins cave in, than we’ll know for sure where their priorities are and that not much has changed where fielding the best team possible is concerned.