There has been a lot of talk lately about the logjam in the outfield that will occur when Bay returns from his fractured rib. Ideas ranging from sending Ike down to creating a four man rotation in the outfield have been tossed around. Some ideas include Kirk platooning with either Torres or Bay, which should be completely out of the question. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been one of the most consistent and productive players on this Mets and should not take a backseat to failed acquisitions at a desperate hope of them regaining some sort of production out of them.
Specifically this applies to both Jason Bay and Andres Torres. Both have come up as possible reasons why Kirk may lose playing time, and that is unacceptable. Nieuwenhuis has all five tools, can be batted anywhere in the lineup and quietly does this with success while Torres and Bay have failed to produce over their respective tenures with the Mets.
After starting off at a dreadful 3-19 skid in 2012, Jason Bay turned it on batting .290/.353/.613 in nine games before his unfortunate injury while diving for a ball in late April. Collins has already said that when he returns, Bay will have his job back as the everyday left fielder. If that is the case, which I can respect, it should not under any circumstances, cut into Kirk’s playing time.
Andres Torres can handle a glove better than anyone on the Amazin’s roster, there’s no debating that. When it comes to the bat however, Torres isn’t quite as adept. With a .187/.330/.267 clip in 2012, Torres is looking even worse than his unsightly 2011 campaign. Yet up until recently, he had been getting starts in center and the leadoff spot in the lineup in favor of the Mets 24-year old rookie phenom. Kirk has not only handled centerfield with success, but has also hit .302/.351/.415 in the leadoff role in 2012. There is no reason why a 34-year old stopgap should get ANY time in favor of Nieuwenhuis.
Coming off a devastating season-ending shoulder injury in Triple-A Buffalo in 2011 and an oblique strain in Spring Training, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been a revelation in 2012. Between clutch hits, diving into walls, and a stolen base now and again, Captain Kirk has proved to be a core reason why the Mets stand at 23-20 today. He has proved time and again this year that he can play anywhere or bat anywhere and be more than successful as an everyday major leaguer.
He has a winning mentality and unless the Mets acquire Matt Kemp or something to that effect, Kirk should be patrolling the outfield everyday for the New York Mets and not some two-bit has been or never was.