Jason Bay has begun working out in Port St. Lucie. He’s still several weeks away, but what is to become of the Mets’ outfield when he comes back?
Terry Collins said Bay will play, but not how much.
I don’t like the idea of Kirk Nieuwenhuis returning to the minor leagues or having his playing time substantially reduced. And, for the money the Mets are paying Bay, he will play. That’s always a factor, regardless on what the manager or GM say.
Part of what goes into Collins’ decision would be the Mets’ record at the time. If they are consistently winning and with Nieuwenhuis producing it would be deflating to sit him.
The Mets could bring Bay back slowly in a platoon role until he regains his stroke. And, I’m talking about the one he left in Boston, not his brief spurt before the injury.
Another scenario, and one more difficult to implement because of all the moving parts would be to rotate Nieuwenhuis in the outfield, playing a day in right, one in center and one in left, which would give Andres Torres and Lucas Duda a rest. It could also bury Scott Hairston on the bench. I believe this will be how Collins handles things.
I like Nieuwenhuis and he’s done nothing to warrant to be benched. Conversely, Bay’s track record is such that he doesn’t deserve the automatic fulltime insertion into the lineup.
The one thing we have learned since Bay’s injury is Nieuwenhuis represents the Mets’ future, while Bay does not.