Today we were given mixed reports regarding Chris Young’s future with the Mets. Adam Rubin, a team beat reporter for ESPN, said that Young may be cut from the team as early as Thursday. If we were judging this news off of numbers alone, this wouldn’t be a story at all, he deserves to be cut. But, when you pay a player $7.25 million just this past off-season, this becomes headline worthy.
The 30-year-old outfielder has failed to return to his all-star form with the Mets this season. Sandy Alderson brought him in quickly this winter to be the teams left fielder/fourth outfielder. Truth is, no one really knows what exactly Alderson promised him. Whatever it was, he is now walking on thin ice when it comes to keeping his job.
Despite Rubin’s report, Mets officials vehemently deny that there is any truth to this. However, we all know that doesn’t exactly mean much. It’s not like Alderson would come out and tell us “Yes, that report is correct and we plan on cutting Young if he doesn’t perform over the course of these next two days”. That wasn’t going to happen. Alderson gave us the statement that he HAD to come out and make. It’s impossible to let those reports float around over a player’s head, even if that is indeed your plan.
Personally, I hope the Mets do cut ties with Young. He has proven to be a complete bust of a signing, something we all saw coming months ago. His defense has been sub par and he looks over matched at the plate. I know we all want to jump on Alderson for making this move in the first place, and rightly so, but I will give him some credit if he ends this debacle of a signing sooner rather than later. It takes a lot to admit that one of you biggest off-season moves was the wrong one, but you must do whats right for the team, not your ego.
The Mets will be better off playing their younger outfielders on a daily basis than putting a struggling veteran out there whose career looks to be nearly done. With Juan Lagares due to return from the DL soon, their void in center field will once again be taken care of. Curtis Granderson has turned his season around and will remain to be a stable in right field. I would like to see Terry Collins continue to throw a combination of Eric Young Jr., Andrew Brown, Eric Campbell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis out there in left field. All of these players are better option than Chris Young at this point.
Bite the bullet Sandy and make the move. We may not be happy you made the signing, but we will respect you for admitting your mistakes.
Now that we have finally moved on from the Davis/Duda debate, we can focus our attention to the outfield dilemma. For the first time this season, at some point this week Terry Collins will finally have all four of his outfielders healthy. Unlike the first baseman battle, I think this will be a nice problem to have.
With injuries to Chris Young to start off the year and Juan Lagares in the recent weeks, the Mets outfield has yet to be in full force. Curtis Granderson, has been the one preseason starter who has stayed in the lineup, besides his brief hiccup after crashing into the wall in Arizona. Eric Young Jr., who was thought to be the odd man out, has held his own as an everyday player so far this season. The Mets lack a true leadoff hitter on this roster, but Young Jr. has filled that void quite well. Although he is only batting .216 with a .320 OBP, he is second in the league in stolen based, with 12, and fifth in runs scored, with 20. Somehow, someway, Young Jr. finds a way to be involved in the Mets offense.
Chris Yong, has gotten off to a slow start himself since his return from the disabled list. Despite only batting .196 on the year, he displayed his power over the weekend as to why he was brought in. Granderson, is the player struggling the most out of the bunch, batting a lowly .129 on the year. However, he did come through in the clutch twice during this past home stand with two different walk off RBI. You have to think the former All-Star is due to break out in a big way soon.
Lagares, was the biggest surprise out of the gate for the Mets. Not only was his playing his usual gold glove caliber defense, but he was the hottest hitter on the team. Lagares is hitting .314 with a .346 OBP and looks more comfortable than I have ever seen him at the plate. Over the weekend, he began playing in rehab games with Triple-A Las Vegas and should be ready any day now. Once Lagares is promoted, there is no doubt he will return as the team’s starting center fielder.
This is when things will begin to get interesting once again for Terry Collins. There will soon be four players fighting for three spots in the outfield. All of whom have different attributes and cases to keep themselves in the lineup. Granderson, despite his sluggish start, will be given extended time to turn things around, given his track record. Lagares, showed us last year he is as good as there is in the outfield, and now he came out in 2014 showing us improvement with the bat as well. If he returns and continues to produce, Collins will have him penciled into the lineup every day. I think we can all agree with the fact that Lagares need to be playing every day and Granderson should be given the benefit of the doubt, for a little while longer at least, that he will find his groove.
This leaves the combination of Chris and Eric Young fighting for playing time. One provides power, the other brings speed. Both play quality defense, so that won’t separate the two much. Whatever Collins works out, lefty/righty match ups, or goes with the hot hitter, the Mets will be adding a nice player to their bench. Chris Young would provide the home run threat, while Eric Young, can be used in late innings as a pinch runner when a stolen base is needed. This is the only position I would be okay with a platoon situation occurring. I’m not much of a platoon fan, but I could at least live with it between these two.
It hasn’t happened often in recent history with the Mets, but they finally have a good problem on their hands. Fingers crossed Collins doesn’t turn this into a complete four man rotation, shifting the outfield around every other game, because that would drive me nuts.
Well I had the pleasure, I guess, of going to yet another Mets Opening Day yesterday. What did I take away from the day? Some things never change. Continue reading
Lucas Duda has recently been seeing more time at first base, his natural position, rather than left field. This decision has reportedly been made solely by Triple-A manager Wally Backman, not from the front office. It’s no secret that Duda never felt comfortable in the outfield, as he could turn even the most routine of fly balls into an adventure. His bat is what got him in the majors in the first place, but he hasn’t fulfilled that power potential, and without that, he have to be a more than capable defensive fielder.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Duda spoke candidly about his defense:
“You know what you’re going to get with me out there,” Duda remarked “I’m a better first baseman. It’s clear to see. Anybody can see it.”
Duda went on to discuss his feelings about playing outfield.
“I did feel a little bit of added pressure because of my lack of defensive capability,” he said.
He later went on to say this about the position he would most like to play going forward: “I like DHing. That’s a position, too.”
Only one problem Lucas, THERE IS NO DH IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE. This is a very telling sign that Duda is not going to have a spot with this team in the years to come. We have seen flashes of his power, but has not hit on enough of a consistent basis to make up for his lack of defense ability. The move to first base makes sense, with Duda looking more comfortable there. But, Ike Davis has been playing better as of late and Josh Satin has earned his spot on this roster, causing a logjam at first base ahead of him.
Terry Collins recently told reporters he credited the defense as the reason the Mets have played much better in the last several weeks. That was reference to the solid play outfield play he has been getting out of Eric Young Jr., Juan Lagres and Marlon Byrd. There play has given the Mets the best defensive outfield they have had play together in quite some time. To me, that was a very telling sign that will be no room for players like Duda as long as Terry Collins is the manager. The Mets are building this team around their starting pitching, which will make defensive players all the more valuable on this roster.
I expect Sandy Alderson to look into trading Duda during the off-season. Now, Duda won’t have any real value by himself, but maybe if he is included in the right package he can help address one of the Mets other needs. If you the Mets can find an American League team, as Duda is right, he is best suited to be a DH, they may take a chance on him to see if a change of scenery will help get the most out of his bat.
In less than two months Eric Young Jr. has made himself a favorite among Mets fans. He plays with a dynamic of speed and hustle that this team has sorely missed and it has been fun to watch. Coming into the season, the outfield was the biggest question mark defensively and no one knew who was going to bat lead off, Young has become the answer to both of those problems.
The Mets traded pitcher Collin McHugh for the 28-year-old outfielder in the middle of June after the Rockies had designated Young for assignment. Young had become the odd man out in the Rockies outfield rotation and came into a great situation where the Mets had no set outfield whatsoever upon his arrival. He has taken the opportunity that he was given and ran with it. Since joining the Mets Young is hitting .271 with 15 stolen bases and 46 hits in just 40 games.
You can’t help but enjoy the play you are getting from Young, Juan Lagares and Marlon Byrd in the outfield as of late. The defense we have been seeing out of these three makes me never want to suffer through watching Lucas Duda track down a fly ball again. There’s three have solidified the Mets have outfield and finally given Terry Collins a group he can pencil into the line up everyday.
Last night Young made a tremendous diving catch in the sixth inning with two outs to save a few runs in a crucial part of the game. Later he went on to score what would be the winning run on a hustle play as he scored from second base on a Lagares infield single. His speed has added a dimension the Mets have not had since Jose Reyes left town. He might not be in the same class of Reyes, in his healthy years, when it comes to stealing bases, but he is certainly capable of stealing his fair share.
Young may have earned the respect of fans across the country with the way he handled himself after the horrific Tim Hudson accident. In what was one of the more gruesome looking injuries you will ever see, Young was there to consult Hudson and have his deepest apologies felt by his family. He was a class act every step of the way from an incident that was nothing more than a case of the wrong place at the wrong time for Tim Hudson.
The final stretch of the season will be an important one for Young. He will certainly be the everyday outfielder as he is receiving a tryout of sorts to see if he could be a piece of this teams future. It’s players that possess Young’s character and hustle that I want this team to load up on. Plus he also has the best at bat music on the team, “Forever Young” gets me every time he steps to the plate. I hope he can continue to play at this level and sticks with the Mets going forward.