As Opening Day Beckons, Mets Still Have A Very Unsettled Batting Order
There must be times Mets manager Terry Collins sits in his office with the door shut, puts his head in his head and wonders how he is going to handle his team.
There are probably times he thinks retirement might not be such a bad thing.
In most camps, positions and batting orders are set a week from Opening Day. That isn’t the case with the Mets, where Collins is still juggling his options with one eye on the calendar.
Maybe he’s hoping that blizzard in Denver last night during the soccer game hits Citi Field on Monday.
In fairness, the order hasn’t been helped by the absences of David Wright and Daniel Murphy. Also, in fairness, he doesn’t have much to work with, as there will be no late arriving help for a roster, such that it is, that for the most part is set.
However, there’s nothing fair about baseball, and a manager must figure out what to do with the cards he’s dealt, good or bad. That’s his job; that’s what Collins signed up for.
There are times the batting order is a team’s GPS, as it tells you exactly where the team his headed. Today’s line-up is indicative of Collins’ dilemma:
- Collin Cowgill, CF: If they aren’t going to carry Matt den Dekker in center, then Cowgill is the best option defensively. He’s there today, but has moved around all spring both in the outfield and his position in the order. It was thought Ruben Tejada could lead off, but he’s not hitting.
- Justin Turner, 2B: With Wright out, Turner is supposed to play third. So why is he at second today? He’s hitting second, as has at least half a dozen Mets this spring. It’s clear the Mets aren’t settled at the No. 2 spot in the order.
- Marlon Byrd, RF: I recently suggested Byrd hit third because he’s a veteran and arguably one of their more versatile hitters. I didn’t say best. If Byrd has the inside track to hit third, he should stay there this week. Byrd appears to have won the right field job from Mike Baxter.
- Ike Davis, 1B: Hitting him third was never a good idea, but he has the most power. Clean-up figured to be his spot, so he never should have been hitting anywhere else this spring.
- John Buck, C: I was wondering when they were going to insert a right-handed hitter between strikeout-prone Davis and Lucas Duda. Righty or lefty, somebody needs to hit between them as you can’t afford a combined 300 potential strikeouts hitting back-to-back.
- Lucas Duda, LF: Duda is here for his power potential. But, with it comes his high strikeout potential and low on-base percentage. The Mets sent him down last year when he struggled, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing this summer. He’s still a work in progress, both at the plate and in the field.
- Zach Lutz, 3B: He’s hit clean-up this spring, which is pointless because that’s for Davis. He’s still getting reps at third base, which means they are thinking of him there. That would also mean they are also thinking of Turner at second and not Jordany Valdespin.
- Ruben Tejada, SS: Tejada is having the kind of spring offensively that would have sent most players to the minors. The Mets don’t have the depth to make that move. Until he starts hitting, he stays eighth.
- Rafael Montero, RHP: Getting the spot start today because there are already holes in the rotation.
Sad to say, the only consistent and sure thing about the Mets’ batting order is the pitcher hitting ninth.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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