The Benchwarmers 2: Starring Nick Evans

First I would like to thank Sach for bringing this to my attention.

Back in 2008 the Mets were desperate to shake up the lineup and get guys to play harder. They decided to bring up the young first baseman Nick Evans. He was dominating in AA and got the call to play left field for the Mets to replace the injured Marlon Anderson. In Evans’ first career at bat, he doubled off Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis. He finished the game with three doubles, the first Met to hit three extra-base hits in his major league debut since Kazuo Matsui in 2004. Yet more people were more excited when Josh Thole hit a single for his first career at bat.

Evans was optioned back down to Binghamton on June 6 after batting .174 in nine games when the Mets decided to call upon Abraham Núñez for infield depth. Evans was again recalled on July 8 after Ryan Church went on the disabled list.

Evans finally received his first Major-League start at first base, his natural position, on August 7, 2008 after only previously playing one inning there with the Mets. I was ready to see what the first baseman could provide defensively. In his first game at first base he made a stellar diving stop when Castillo made a throwing error. Evans not only stopped the ball but also got the runner out at first. Yet that was all forgotten by the next inning.

On August 31, 2008 Evans hit his first career Major League home run against the Florida Marlins off pitcher Scott Olsen. He later hit two more during the 2009 season. Our future home run leader showed us what he’s got, or so we thought..

In 2009 when Nick Evans strode to the plate for the first time in 11 days after being kept in some sort of storage, the scent of mothballs and Sucrets was palpable. It was too much for Tim Byrdak to take, as it reminded him of his grandmother’s room. He threw a meatball down the middle and Evans launched it for a triple. But what people don’t know is that the only reason Evans even reached the plate to pinch hit is that Jerry Manuel was distracted by the most recent webisode of The Office.

For those who forgot, Nick Evans was called up four months before Daniel Murphy was shown the light of day in the majors. Murphy also started out in left field but was moved to first last season and the rest was history.

Now I bring you to present day.

The Mets are taking a long look at prospects Ike Davis, Josh Thole, and Jerry Mejia. Daniel Murphy is fighting for — and will probably win — the opening day first baseman job. But where is the Mets former top prospect Nick Evans?” Well he is in fact in Port St.Lucie for Spring Training. However, looking to see how he’s done, I was surprised when I saw that he has had only ONE at-bat which is last for all of the Mets position player so far in spring training. (Did you see too? It was in Sunday’s game against the Nats. If you blinked you missed it.)

You have players who undoubtedly will not play a regular season game next season, getting multiple at-bats while Evans is sitting on the bench. If you look close enough you will see him next to the bat boy. Yeah, the bat boy is getting more of a work out than Nick Evans is this spring training.

This all of course is not Nick Evans’ fault. Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya are playing head games with Mr. Evans and giving the young first baseman/left fielder little hope of playing with the Mets next season.

Why on Earth is Nick Evans not getting his well deserved at bats during Spring Training?

I understand it’s only a few games in but only ONE at-bat? I think he deserves them more than most of the prospects the Mets have. I know Evans will not beat out Murphy, and maybe not even Jacobs for the first base job, but he could definitely rival Ike Davis for the job. Yet you have some of my fellow writers and fans wanting Davis to be “brought up north” after seeing him hit one — impressive — home run during Spring Training off a no name pitcher. Davis has had countless errors already, while Evans has only one error in his 80 career games.

This post is in no way intended to downgrade your opinions on Ike Davis or Daniel Murphy. However, I don’t think that Evans should get thrown into the wood chipper or put on the shelf simply because the Mets now have new faces to look at. Evans should get the respect he deserves. Mets either should get him more and more at bats to prove himself or to just trade the guy to a team who will actually use him.