Jun 06

Jason Bay Back For Mets …. Kind Of

Jason Bay was activated from the disabled list this afternoon, but isn’t in the lineup for tonight’s game at Washington. Just as well, as there’s no great desire on my part to see him play. Not yet, anyway.

BAY: Welcome back?

I am leaning toward the camp of a player not losing his job because of injury, but that can’t be absolute. With the Mets, when David Wright goes down he should play again when he’s able. Wright’s track record of production warrants that right, or respect, if you will.

However, in the two plus years Bay has been with the Mets, what exactly has he done to earn that privilege? Has he had a run of production similar to the small window opened by Kirk Nieuwenhuis? I’d say no. With Nieuwenhuis playing, there’s a reasonable expectation of something good happening. You can’t criticize Bay’s defense or hustle. It the combination of both which landed him on the disabled list to begin with. However, the Mets aren’t paying him all that money just for defense. Mix in a RBI once in awhile.

The Mets won’t eat Bay’s contract and release him. His contract makes him impossible to trade. He will play, but does it have to be right away with the team playing so well.

With the Mets facing six games on the road in AL parks in New York and Tampa, there’s an opportunity to gradually ease him back in the DH role. That’s one of the perks – if you can call it that – of interleague play.

I’d go that route first, then work him back into the outfield spotting Nieuwenhuis in left, Andres Torres in center and Lucas Duda in right.  And, with Ike Davis having problems at the plate, I’d even see if Bay can play a little first base.

Afterall, any bit of information is useful, right?

During spring training, Terry Collins said he would be reluctant to move Duda from right to first and Daniel Murphy from second to third, or first, because he wanted them to just concentrate on learning their new positions. Duda has been taking grounders at first, which Collins explained away as keeping him sharp in anticipation of double switches.

Should Bay return and start raking, he should play, but I’d be hesitant to jump right in with him on an everyday basis. I’d make him earn it. You see, there’s a good feeling with the Mets again. They are relevant, with an emphasis on team. That’s why I was disappointed in Davis expressing reluctance in going down to the minors to work on his hitting. That’s why I don’t want to see playing time going to someone simply because of his contractual status.

That would be a step back.

 

May 22

Mets Lose A Tough One To The Pirates 5-4

The Mets jumped to an early 4-0 lead with their ace Johan Santana on the mound and pitching pretty good. It was supposed to be a recipe for success, but it ended up being a recipe for disaster instead.

The Mets committed three errors in the game including two by David Wright, but it was the botched fly ball in the eighth inning that led to this latest Mets defeat.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter had both entered the game as pinch-hitters in the top of the eighth and then both remained in the game with Baxter taking over in left field and Kirk in center. They nearly collided in center field chasing after a Neil Walker fly ball which bounced off Nieuwenhuis’ glove for a three-base error and allowed the Pirates to score a 5-4 victory.

Santana allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings. He didn’t figure into the decision.

The Mets did all their scoring in the second inning with the big hit coming off the bat of Justin Turner who ripped a two-run single with the bases loaded.

David Wright and Ronny Cedeno each had two hits in the game. Vinny Rottino started at first base and picked up a hit before being replaced by Ike Davis who struck out in both his at-bats.

The series continues Tuesday, with R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.75 ERA) facing off against James McDonald (3-2, 2.68) at 7:05 PM.

The Mets will have to shake this bad loss off and move on.

May 15

Mets Notebook: Josh Thole, Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Terry Collins said this afternoon Josh Thole has been headache-free for several days and is expected to go on a rehab assignment before he’s activated from the disabled list. The Mets haven’t had a drop off defensively and the pitchers like throwing to Mike Nickeas. However, Nickeas isn’t much of an offensive threat.

Lefty reliever Tim Byrdak is on pace to make over 90 appearances which could force the Mets’ hands and have them seeking another lefty reliever.

Terry Collins said Kirk Nieuwenhuis is feeling more comfortable. He feels as if he belongs. As I wrote earlier today, I believe the Mets’ first option is to rotate Nieuwenhuis when Jason Bay is ready to come off the disabled list.

In what is the least guarded secrets, MLB will announce the Mets to get the 2013 All-Star Game.

In scanning the box scores, I wonder how much the Mets now regret not signing pitcher Derek Lowe, who is winning big for Cleveland. You’ll recall the Mets eschewed the chance to sign Lowe and instead gave Oliver Perez $36 million over three years.

The tarp is off the field, and here’s the Mets’ lineup for tonight:

Andres Torres, cf

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf

David Wright, 3b

Lucas Duda, rf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

Ike Davis, 1b

Ronny Cedeno, ss

Mike Nickeas, c

Dillon Gee, rhp

 

May 15

Jason Bay’s Return Presents Dilemma To Mets

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.

BAY: A frequent site. (Getty Images)

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.