Last Saturday, Terry Collins told reporters that he would start giving center fielder Juan Lagares some starts against righthanded pitching. Three games and three righthanded starting pitchers later, Lagares still sits idly on the bench.
Instead, Collins keeps going with Rick Ankiel, who has now seen his batting average fall to .194 and is 1-for-his-last-31. The 34-year old has found the perfect manager in Collins, who is intent on sticking with veterans – even bad ones like Ankiel – over a promising younger player with upside.
When asked at what point it would become counterproductive for Lagares to remain in the majors while playing so sparingly, Collins responded:
“We’ve already reached it and passed that point. In a perfect world, Juan Lagares would be in the lineup somewhere. If not here, then certainly in Triple-A.”
Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Lagares is a world-beater. But how can you call up the 24-year old and then have him languishing on the bench? How does that benefit the kid or the team?
If this was how it was going to be then I would have rather just kept Collin Cowgill up here and let him be the one wasting away on the bench.
Lagares was having a great season and had a team high .347 batting average for Triple-A Las Vegas before the Mets front office interrupted.
If this is an example of the much-ballyhooed renewed focus on player development I think we’re in trouble.
(Photo by Gordon Donovan)