Terry Collins spoke with Joel Sherman of the NY Post about the possibility of batting the pitcher in the eighth slot this season. This move was made famous by Tony La Russa, who used to bat Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols third and his pitcher eighth. The idea was to assure his best hitter of batting in the first inning and increase RBI opportunities as the game went on. But this never really caught on around the league and is still looked at as an oddity when a manager does attempt this. But Terry Collins believes he has a player in David Wright that may incline him to try the same thing with this Mets lineup.
“I think both [Wright and Granderson are RBI guys,” Collins told Sherman. “My thought is: How do we get them more RBI chances and also give David, in particular, chances to drive in runs. It is a possibility I might try. I don’t know that I will, but I might.”
La Russa said regarding this possibility: “When you have a guy like David Wright, it is worth considering. I liked it. You want to protect your best hitter as best as possible, and this is a way.”
The Mets offense has been anemic for the last few seasons and that’s putting it kindly. David Wright has been one of the few bright spots and is clearly the best all-around hitter on this team. Wright isn’t your traditional cleanup hitter, as he isn’t going to put up 40 homeruns for you. The 3 slot is where his offensive game is best suited, a typical David Wright season should have him hovering around .300 with 25 homeruns and 100 RBI. However, those numbers haven’t been easy to obtain with the talent that has been surrounding him. There has been little, to no, protection hitting behind him and no one getting on base in front of him.
With the signing of Curtis Granderson, that should give Wright some formidable protection that he hasn’t had since the departure of Carlos Beltran. Daniel Murphy, who has consistently put up solid offensive numbers, has been shifted around the lineup his entire career. It appears now he will finally have a full-time home batting second. Giving Wright at least one valuable piece batting in front of him and should help increase Murphy’s production as well.
It does sound somewhat logical, but the negative is that this does shorten your lineup significantly. Now the back-end of your lineup has become much weaker because of this and could adversely end rallies earlier started by the middle of the order. Who knows if Collins will ever end up even trying this out, I guess it wouldn’t bother me to see it attempted, but I don’t really like the idea of seeing Bartolo Colon batting eighth either. Interesting thought, but I do prefer to see a more traditional lineup put out there. Crazy thought, we could just sign or trade for more quality players? But I guess that would be asking too much.